Looking for ideas to keep kids engaged and active once school lets out? There are many opportunities for winter fun in the Hamptons, some on a schedule and others that your family can do on your own time.
See a live puppet show
With a new Muppets movie in the works, kids will love to see puppets live! Goat on a Boat Puppet Theatre at 4 East Union Street in Sag Harbor has some great performances coming up. On December 21, enjoy a classic holiday story with a puppetry twist with A Couple of Puppets’ The Night Before Christmas. Prices for events and activities at Goat on a Boat Puppet Theatre vary. For more information on this treasured little theater, go to goatonaboat.org.
“Sea” for yourself
A fun and educational place for kids, the Long Island Aquarium & Exhibition Center at 431 East Main Street in Riverhead offers families an ocean of fun with special events throughout the holiday season. On Saturday, December 21, attend Breakfast with Santa and meet the aquarium’s mascots while enjoying a buffet breakfast in the Sea Star Ballroom. And don’t forget to take a family photo with Santa. There will also be an educational talk and the chance to make a take-home holiday keepsake. Breakfast with Santa runs three times: 10 a.m., noon and 2 p.m. And inquire about the “Santa Sleepover” at the adjacent Hyatt Place East End & Resort Marina. Finally, attend the Fishes & Butterfly Wishes Family New Year’s Event on December 31 from 6:30–11 p.m. There are two events to choose from: the Splash Bash, or the Butterfly Ball Drop. Kids are welcome to both events, and there is champagne for the grownups. For pricing and more information on Long Island Aquarium & Exhibition Center, call 631-208-9200 or go to longislandaquarium.com.
Take your kids sledding when the snow falls! There are some popular hills that are safe and fun for children, including Latham Hill at Pierson in Sag Harbor and at the SYS Rec Center on Majors Path in Southampton.
What child doesn’t love to draw, paint and create? The Parrish Art Museum at 279 Montauk Highway in Water Mill offers Holiday Vacation Workshops from Thursday, December 26 through Friday, January 3. Kids ages 4–6 will enjoy the morning session from 10 a.m.–noon, while ages 7 and up will spend the afternoon from 1–3 p.m. creating little masterpieces. Each day has a different topic: Landscapes, Portraits, Sculpture and Collage. The workshops cost $40 per session or $30 for Parrish members. For more information, go to parrishart.org.
Skate on ice
A great activity for parents to do with their little ones, ice skating can be a memorable and fun experience for all. Check out Old Town Pond in Southampton, Town Pond in East Hampton or, for a smoother glide, Buckskill Winter Club in Wainscott (buckskillwinterclub.com), the ice rink in Greenport’s Mitchell Park (greenportvillage.com) and, new this year, the rink at Southampton Golf Club on County Road 39. More of a bundle-up-and-sip-hot-chocolate kind of family? Head to a frozen Mecox Bay in Water Mill to take in ice-boating races once things freeze over.
Indulge in hot chocolate
Adults love coffee, and when kids want to be like their parents and drink “grown-up” beverages, a sweet hot chocolate is sure to delight them. There are plenty of places to get great hot chocolate on the East End, like Hamptons Coffee Company in Southampton, Water Mill and Westhampton Beach, Starbucks in Bridgehampton, Sagtown Coffee in Sag Harbor, The Golden Pear Café in Southampton, East Hampton, Sag Harbor and Bridgehampton and more. For other sweet treats, head to the Fudge Company in Southampton for great chocolates and candies.
Make a gingerbread man or house with your child, head to Gingerbread University in Riverhead and have your child make an edible masterpiece. Reservations for Gingerbread University are strongly advised! gingerbreaduniversity.com
Check out a museum
Bridgehampton’s Children’s Museum of the East End at 376 Bridgehampton/Sag Harbor Turnpike is a great place to bring your kids all through the year, and their holiday offerings are guaranteed to entertain your little ones. The CMEE Holiday Club will meet on December 23, 26, 27, 30 and January 2 and 3, 9:30 a.m.–noon. CMEE offers a membership program, which provides discounts for all events. For more information on admission prices and other programs and activities, go to cmee.org.