NYC Activity with Kids: Luck of the Draw

he's mocking me, isn't he? he can be so cheeky.
Last summer we let luck determine the events of the day. Each kid picked a subway line and a number out of a hat. Whatever they picked would decide what train we would take and for how many stops. Read how it was a wild success.

Last Saturday we did a modified version of the activity. . .

Owen picked the subway color out of a hat, Oscar picked a number of stops out of another, and Ella picked the type of food we would eat out of the last hat. I went into with little hope it would work. After everyone picked their choices, I tried to convince my family to use Yelp to find a different restaurant. However, my kids were oddly possessive over their picks. There was noway to convince them otherwise: We were taking the orange line 5 stops uptown to eat hamburgers . . .
Along the way, we spotted the yellow daffodils that inspired this post, and eventually made it to the closest hamburger restaurant. It was none other than Jimbo's Hamburger *PALACE*. Only the best for my kids. Here's their thoughts on the food:
Owen on his french toast and bacon: "So good so fresh that it was a 10. A"
Oscar on his pancakes and sausage: "They taste like candy but they are not candy." 
Ella on her cheeseburger and fries: "Well, it was good. It's wasn't the best burger ever."
We would have never eaten at the place had it not been for luck, but I'm glad we did. If we happen to be in the neighborhood again, I'd eat here for sure. The no frill food was cheap, the service was fast, and it was located in a lively part of Harlem. We'll probably be back this summer on our way to swim at Riverbank State Park
I'm trying to think how to modify this activity so it could work in the suburbs. Any ideas? It's so fun once I stop worrying if it's all going to work out. So far, it always has.


  1. I remember your post about this from last summer, it seems like a fun way to explore ones city.
    I am a 20-something, with no kids as of yet, but could seriously see doing this with my friends. While I technically live in a city, Charlotte, the train system is basically non-existant. So one way that it could be adapted to suburban/barely city folks like myself is to have one hat with names of neighborhoods, as a posed to train lines/number of stops. Then one with types of food, or even types of activities.
    Great way to explore every corner of your city/town.

  2. Freeways and number of exits?

  3. Direction (North, South, ect) and an amount of time?

  4. Number of stoplights/certain turns (left, right, left left)

  5. I think this a fun idea even for adults exploring the city!

  6. I remember this from last summer too. I'll have to do this this summer with my kids. My oldest will be five and probably will understand the concept and enjoy it. The baby will just get to pick a paper out, ha!

  7. You are such a clever fun mom! Love this activity and all the other things you do. I will be visiting NYC with my almost 5 yr old daughter (cutest girl ever) and would love some inexpensive ideas to do with her.

    1. thanks!! i love going to the Museum of Natural History and the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Both are pay as you wish! The workers don't blink an eye if you pay $1. :) Also--the MOMA is free every friday after 4pm.

  8. This was one of my favourite ideas ever from your blog. I'm excited that you repeated it!

  9. This is the cutest idea I have ever heard of. I love that you are giving your kids a sense of agency at such a young age. Kudos to you, Sharon!

  10. Absolutely brilliant! Wondering how I could modify it for a city with no public transit - N, S, E or W?? minutes we bike ride for? Need your help!! :) Great post! Love the kids food reviews - my son did a similar one last night with the burrito he was eating - 'just like a crepe, only rolled up and not as sugary' - why are kids not professional food reviewers?!



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