1) Visit the BROOKLYN CHILDREN'S MUSEUM. Sometimes it can be hard to find museums appropriate for toddlers, but the Brooklyn Children's Museum does not disappoint in this category. It has something for kids of all ages. Toddlers can enjoy hands on water fun, light shows, and an extensive indoor jungle gym.
2) Visit the Smithsonian's NATIONAL MUSEUM OF THE AMERICAN INDIAN. The American Indian museum is truly amazing, and best of all free! It gets extra points for having plenty for both kids and adults to enjoy. Baby Z had a blast playing in a life sized teepee, while I enjoyed learning so much rich American history. They also have a wonderful gift shop filled with excellent books, music, and lovely handcrafted toys and artifacts.
3) Visit GRANDMA'S PLACE toy store in Harlem. Do you like buying unique and engaging toys for kids? If so, grandma's place is for you. They have a large array of not so easily found toys that will knock your socks off. Plan accordingly, because you could spend a good chunk of time here looking at all their goodies.
4) Ride the subway. It may not seem intuitive, but riding the subway can be a lot of fun for a toddler. To my surprise it was Baby Z's favorite thing. And that's because she loved watching the street performers! Seeing talented dancers and musicians, made my little one's day. She got to laugh and boogey with strangers for close to free.