Even though Thanksgiving comes late this year, we still can’t believe that it’s less than a week away. Have no fear! We found a ton of fun things for you and the kids to do that will get you in the mood to baste the bird and puree the potatoes. Here are RedRover’s 16 fun ways to get ready for Thanksgiving.
Even before the weekend hits, your kids can make some super cute Thanksgiving decorations at a number of Queens libraries, such as a cornucopia door sign to welcome your guests (Nov. 21) or a totem pole craft to honor Native Americans for their contribution to Thanksgiving (Nov. 21). After you decorate your home, head over to the Strand Bookstore to see Curious George before he makes his appearance at the Macy’s Day Parade (Nov. 22 & 23). The mischievous monkey will share some Thanksgiving stories with the kiddos. If your children love mysteries and searching for clues, stop by the Museum at Eldridge Street for its Great Turkey Scavenger Hunt (Nov. 23). Kids will follow a trail of old clues and discover Eldridge’s own special Thanksgiving tale and turkey. The DiMenna Children’s History Museum is going all-out this weekend to gear up for the big day. At the Kids’ Table with Sarah Lohman (Nov. 22), kids can learn about colonial times’ Thanksgiving food and then make their own mini-apple pie. For younger kids, visit the museum for a cozy Thanksgiving storytime (Nov. 23). Kids will hear Balloons Over Broadway, a true story about a parade puppeteer. If you have a family museum membership at DiMenna, your kids are in for a treat! Family members will receive priority access to view the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade balloon inflation (Nov. 26) and can warm up with hot chocolate, treats, and activities at the museum.
Throughout the weekend, the Children’s Museum of Atlanta will be revving up for Thanksgiving during its Meet the Holidays festivities (Nov. 22 & 23). Kids will learn about Thanksgivings of yesteryear, listen to a Thanksgiving story, and make their own “I Am Thankful” tags. Before you write up your Thanksgiving menu, stop by Peachtree Road Farmer’s Market for a chef demo by Brian Jones of Restaurant Eugene and get some scrumptious dish ideas (Nov. 22). A few days before Turkey Day, kids can feast on a bunch of Thanksgiving stories at the Perry Homes Branch Library’s storytime, part of Atlanta-Fulton Public Library system (Nov. 25).
Curl up with your kids at a Thanksgiving PJ Storytime at Catching Joy (Nov. 21). Staff will read stories about gratitude to kids, who are encouraged to wear their pajamas, and then make a “thankful” turkey craft. Don’t forget to bring non-perishable food items, which Catching Joy will donate to the Dedham Food Pantry. If your kids are curious about those birds we’ll all be gobbling up, check out Turkey Trot at Mass Audubon (Nov. 23) Kids will search for turkey habitats and then make a special turkey project to brighten your holiday table. To learn more about turkeys and how they eat, stop by Fetch! Eat Like a Bird at Discovery Museums (Nov. 25) where kids will test different bird beaks to discover what it really means to “eat like a bird.”
While kids’ help in the kitchen is limited as you prepare the big meal, kids can create a festive centerpiece (Nov. 22) for the table at Westhampton Free Library’s arts and crafts session, part of the Suffolk Library system. Ever wonder what’s the difference between a turkey and a chicken? Kids can learn all about our feathered friends at the Long Island Science Center’s Thanksgiving (Nov. 22) and amaze your guests with facts and trivia.
What are you most thankful for? For some kids, it’s trains, and that’s where the Walt Disney Family Museum comes in. Inspired by Walt Disney’s fascination with trains and miniatures, the museum’s Open Studio hosts Miniature Diorama Train: What I’m Thankful For (Nov. 22 & 23) where kids will create a display of what they’re most thankful for within a small diorama. Thanksgiving is not only about giving thanks; it’s also about giving back. Marin Country Mart Farmers Market is asking families to Make a Pie for Charity (Nov. 22). Participants will make a pie onsite with a chef’s help for the St. Vincent De Paul Society of Marin County, which will bake the pie on Thanksgiving Day and serve it in their free dining room.
As the days get shorter and colder, indoor fun becomes all the more important — especially during the upcoming holiday breaks. Thankfully, a ton of museums are hosting fun and hip exhibits that both parent and kids will love. From the Keith Haring show in San Francisco to the Maurice Sendak exhibit in Atlanta and the “Sesame Street” celebration in New York City, here are RedRover’s top museum exhibit picks for kids this holiday season.
The Museum of Modern Art wraps up the year with a major bang with Henri Matisse: The Cut-Outs. With only scissors and colored paper, Matisse abolished the boundary that separates line and color. Although he’s an old master, young kids love and relate to his colorful paper cut-outs and collages. At Lincoln Center, check out some other old masters – of the puppet persuasion – at Somebody Come and Play: 45 Years of Sesame Street. Kids can get up close to Elmo, Oscar, and Grover, watch show highlights, and even curl up for story time at this exhibit celebrating everyone’s favorite children program. In this age of keyboards and Swype, Drawn to Language at Children’s Museum of the Arts is a welcomed reminder that hand-printed letters and words are an artform. The exhibit brings together paintings, drawings, and collages that all use handwritten words as jumping-off point for art.
One of kids’ (and grown-ups’ too) favorite books Where the Wild Things Are comes alive at Maurice Sendak in His Own Words and Pictures at The Breman Museum. While parents will be fascinated by the story’s preliminary sketches, kids will dig the interactive stations, such as a dress-up area, a mini-slide, and a model of Rosie’s Stoop.
Halloween may be over, but monsters – the cute and lovable ones – still live on at the Monster Party exhibit at Boston Children’s Museum. The show highlights paintings and sculpture with a playful monster bent as well as plenty of interactive games. When it comes to anything that has wheels and moves, little kids aren’t the only ones who are fascinated. Sometimes serious museum curators are just as curious. Planes, Trains, and Automobiles at the Museum of Fine Arts celebrates all things vehicular – but in miniature form.
The East Hampton Historical Society likes to keep things small too in terms of exhibit items. At It’s a Child’s World: Exhibition of Antique Dolls and Toys, you and the kids can experience how Christmas was celebrated in the 19th and early-20th centuries. The fun part is that all the displays are in dollhouse proportions. At Alan Shields: In Motion at the Parrish Art Museum, the artwork is definitely bigger and more interactive. In fact, kids can walk through it. The show’s centerpiece is a massive pole and fabric maze through which kids can wander.
The Contemporary Jewish Museum shines the light on the work of children’s book illustrator J. Otto Seibold and Mr. Lunch. Based on the artist’s three books on the exploits of a professional bird-chasing dog, the show also includes several interactive play areas. Keith Haring also excelled at drawing cartoonish characters, but his creations all had an undercurrent of political urgency. At the De Young Museum of Fine Arts, Keith Haring: The Political Line focuses both on Haring’s medium and message. While the show may be a bit serious in content, the stick figure art is still fun. (Note: the exhibition contains certain artworks that are adult in nature.)
November is packed with a ton of fun live shows targeted toward families. Before the holiday insanity rears its head, make a date with your kids for some jamming fun. From kiddie fave Laurie Berkner in Boston to the Young People’s Concert at Lincoln Center in New York, here’s RedRover’s roundup of the best kids’ concerts in November.
Most kids (and adults) nod off at the mere mention of the word “opera,” but The New Victory Theater’s reimagining of Mozart’s The Magic Flute (Nov. 7-9) will make them sit up and take notice. Transplanted to Capetown, the opera is sung in English and backed with kid-friendly instruments like drums and marimbas. At the hallowed Carnegie Hall, kids can get folky at the Elizabeth Mitchell and You Are My Flower show (Nov. 8). With these sweet sounds, peace and love will reign over you and the kids, and, as part of the Carnegie Kids program, the concert is free! If you want to expose your kids to serious music but in a super fun way, check out the Little Orchestra Society’s Tubby the Tuba concert (Nov. 15-16). Your little maestros will hear and see a live orchestra that accompanies a cute flick about Tubby the Tuba’s travails. For older kids who want to learn more about an orchestra, stop by Lincoln Center for Super Sonic Music Box: Melody Transformed (Nov. 15) where the New York Philharmonic will break it down for them. What could be better than a show that includes a banjo-playing band with puppets? Yellow Sneaker will do all that and more at the Jewish Museum as part of its free New Families, New Traditions program.
If you’ve got ants-in-the-pants type of mobile kids, check out Little Raindrop Songs (Nov. 8). During this interactive concert, actors routinely ask the audience to stand up and even do yoga moves. The show combines lots of cool Japanese elements like Japanese techno music and an origami-influenced set design.
If Tori Amos sang songs about dinosaurs or cookies, it might sound a bit like Laurie Berkner. Bringing her Rock Till You Drop Tour to Citi Center Performing Arts Center, Berkner will rock out for the under 10 set (Nov. 8). Although you may be still finishing up your kids’ Halloween candy, it’s never too early in the season for Peter and the Wolf, which will be performed by Boston Youth Symphony (Nov. 8). For kids who like a sillier type of concert, check out “Gustafer Yellowgold’s Wisdom Tooth of Wisdom.” Combining the best of a pop concert and an animated movie, the show has something for everyone.
Who knew that George Washington could play a wicked guitar lick? We the People is a historical and musical concert where the Founding Fathers are hip rockers who make dull textbook facts seem fun and exciting (Nov. 14).
While not technically a concert, James and the Giant Peach is a musical that uses Dahl’s classic children’s book as inspiration (Nov. 7-9). Before each show at the Marin Theatre, stop by for the puppet workshop and create a bug character puppet to join James on his amazing adventure.
Halloween doesn’t have to mean trudging across dark lawns or roaming apartment hallways. In fact, sometimes the best Halloween for the wee ones is attending a Halloween party at a museum or other cultural institution. These kid-centric monster bashes offer your little goblins nonstop fun and plenty of candy — all within a safe and warm environment. Here are RedRover’s best picks for Halloween parties at top kid spots in New York, the Hamptons, Atlanta, Boston, and San Francisco. (oh, and you’ll have a blast too!)
Go trick-or-treating with the dinosaurs at New York’s American Museum of Natural History’s 19th Annual Halloween Celebration. Kids can get decked out in their frighteningly finest and chomp on candy as they watch Dr. Finklestein’s Zombie Show. If your kids prefer live animals to taxidermied ones, head over to Boo at the Zoo at the Bronx Zoo. Besides its over-the-top jack-o’-lantern display, Boo at the Zoo boasts a hay maze, a costume parade, and plenty of animals of Halloween lore.
Halloween goes historical at NY Haunted Society…Enter at Your Risk held at DiMenna Children’s History Museum. Kids can get their fortunes told, create Victorian mourning jewelry, and watch out for zombie Founding Fathers. For a tasty history lesson, check out the Halloween: A New York Treat event at Museum of the City of New York. Kids will go on a trick-or-treat scavenger hunt to discover sweets that were invented in NYC.
For your littlest costumed cuties, join the midday Halloween Costume & Music Parade where kids can march and show off their eerie outfits at Children’s Museum of Manhattan. As well, many NYC libraries are offering daytime parties for the under 5 set.
Keep the party going on Nov. 1 at Children’s Museum of the Arts Halloween Parade. After designing monster masks, kids and families in costumes will trick or treat throughout the different studios of the museum. At New York Hall of Science, get rid of rotting pumpkins at its Dead or Alive event where you can watch jack-o’-lanterns catapult through the air.
Out on the Hamptons, little vampires and princesses can scamper down and trick or treat along Main Street in Riverhead as part of the Edgar Allan Poe Festival. Afterwards, they can hear spooky tales by master storytellers at Joe’s Garage & Grill, and then end the evening with — what else but — a parade.
In Atlanta, the Georgia Aquarium will be transformed into Georgia A-Scary-Um for some monstrous mayhem. Kids will fill their bags with treats alongside some spooky underwater friends like longfin batfish and Japanese spider crabs. After the blowout, guests and ghosts are invited to sleep over at the museum and dive deeper into the aquatic life.
Georgia’s Panola State Park is adding an extra fun twist to Halloween. Instead of trick-or-treating, kiddos can “trunk or treat” at its Halloween party. Boys and ghouls will collect candy going car to car rather than door to door. After the sugar rush kicks in, families can get their ya-yas out on the playground and participate in the best costume and best trunk decoration contests.
Add a little ethereal air to your kids’ Halloween, and stop by Callawolde Fine Arts Center’s historic mansion and grounds for Halloween Night on Callanwolde Mountain. Some of the spooky fun will include LEGO building tables with a large scale exhibit, door-to-door trick-or-treating throughout the estate, and a carved pumpkin contest (bring your pre-carved pumpkins for judging).
In Boston, masked munchins can get a head start on Halloween at the Boston Children’s Museum. At 10 a.m., the Halloween Fun event kicks off with monster makeovers and decorating trick-or-treat bags and ends with a monster scavenger hunt in the museum.
If you want to spend Halloween day in the great outdoors, head over to the Corn Maze at Marini Farms in Ipswich, Mass. Besides getting lost in the eight-acre corn maze, kids can go hopping mad on the bouncing pillow and burn off energy on the pedal cars. Up the spooky factor and stay late for Flashlight Night and explore the maze’s nook and crannies with flashlights.
San Franciscans know how to party and that includes the city’s youngest residents as well. At Habitot Children’s Museum, wee ones can play miniature golf in the garden graveyard, paint miniature pumpkins, and fly paper ghosts in the Wind Tunnel at the museum’s daylong Not-So-Spooky Halloween party. Kiddos can show off their spooky duds at Moscone’s Tiny Tot Halloween Parade hosted by San Francisco Recreation and Park Department. Costumed kids will receive trick or treat bags, march in the parade, and then trick or treat at local merchants.
Enjoy and be safe!
What’s the easiest way to make Halloween decorations? Enlist your kids and one of RedRover’s amazing partners to do the honors. This weekend – just seven days away from All Hallows’ Eve – museums and cultural institutions in New York, the Hamptons, Boston, and San Francisco are hosting arty workshops where your little goblins can craft creepy cool decorations to spice up your home.
Thanks to NYC Parks’ Seasonal Crafts workshop, little New Yorkers on Friday can create a spooky silhouette wall or window decoration for your own “haunted house” using colored chalk on black paper. Held at Greenbelt Nature Center on Staten Island, kids can get inspired by the twisting tree canopies and rustling leaves to depict a ghostly Halloween scene.
Out on the Hamptons at the Suffolk Library, kids can decorate and paint a pumpkin – no knives or carving here – at the Pumpkin Painting workshop on Friday. On Saturday, families can visit Long Island Children’s Museum for its Ghostly Gala, which also includes creepy crafts.
The Boston Children’s Museum has gone monster-crazy this month, celebrating lovable ogres and cuddly beasts with its “Monster Party” gallery exhibit. At its Art Studio this weekend, kids can get creative and design their own version of Frankenstein. If you want to get even more into the Halloween spirit, stop by Mass Audubon’s Mystery Festival Free-For-All. After the kids check out live creepy crawlers, they can whip up an orange-and-black decoration at the crafts station.
In San Francisco, kids can go batty on Friday at the Halloween Beaded Bat session at SF Chinatown Library. Kids age 8 and older can unleash their inner Batman or Batgirl and design their own personalized creature of the night. On Saturday, get revved up for Day of the Dead, and head over to Richmond Art Center to create a mask and decorate a sugar skull at Skeletonfest. Your kids will be the coolest ghouls in school!
Yes, we know: your kids are insanely cute in their adorable Halloween costumes. But we think that there’s a pretty close runner-up: your pet. From coast to coast this weekend, New York City, Atlanta, Boston, and San Francisco are all holding Halloween pet parades. So get a head start on Halloween and preen your pup, dress your dog, and join these super fun parades.
With hundreds of dogs in costumes and thousands of spectators, New York City’s Tompkins Square Halloween Dog Parade on Saturday is “barking mad” and top dog when it comes to fun and creativity. Over in Brooklyn, dog lovers will gather for the Great PUPkin Festival, one of the largest dog costume contests in the borough. The massive event also offers hayrides, face-painting, and free pumpkins. In Queens, the Annual Canine Costume Contest is only one aspect of Socrates Sculpture Park’s annual Halloween Harvest Festival. Dance troupe Streb Extreme Action Kid Company, mask-making, and lots of tasty treats are only a few parts of this day-long program.
In Atlanta on Sunday, animal lovers can come together not only to go coo-coo about canines but do so for a good cause. The Halloween Doggy Parade and Costume Contest will benefit Animal Rescue Project. There is a $20 fee to enter the contest and a recommended donation to participate in the parade.
Head down to Faneuil Hall in Boston on Saturday if you and your kids love all things four-legged and cute. At the Halloween Pet Parade, every mutt is a winner. After the pet parade, awards will be given to pups in a slew of categories.
And at San Francisco’s Harvest Festival on Saturday, the Costume Pup Parade is just one facet of this fun-filled Saturday. Besides parading pooches, families can enjoy face painting, pony rides, and kids’ music.
Photo: Fort Greene Pups via Flickr
Your kids’ first scribbles are the baby steps toward handwriting and communicating. And while some schools have dropped penmanship from the curriculum in favor of the keyboard, a number of children’s exhibits have taken up the cause and elevate handwriting to an art form. These fun shows and workshops in New York City, the Hamptons, Boston, and Atlanta will inspire you and your kids to pick up the pen or crayon and keep bold printing and curlicue letters alive for at least a little bit longer.
In New York City, this is the last weekend to catch “Mel Bochner: Strong Language” at the Jewish Museum. The colors are bold and exciting, and kids can relate to the works’ finger-painting quality. Best of all, the artist’s love of language is contagious. At the Children’s Museum of the Arts, “Drawn to Language” brings together top artists’ works that spotlight words and letters. Kids will love the show’s Explosive Drawing, a huge notebook page filled with colorful comic lettering. And at New York Hall of Science, your kids can design their own notebook and customize it with fun accessories at Make It: Inventor’s Notebooks.
At the Parrish Museum in the Hamptons, the worlds of art and language collide and form a happy coexistence at the Poets and Painters exhibit. Fragments of or whole poems are written directly onto collages and paintings, the words adding to the image’s power and vice versa.
Even the youngest kids in Atlanta can learn to express themselves through the act of writing (or most likely scrawling) at Let Your Creativity Flow. This workshop at the Children’s Museum of Atlanta invites kids to don a smock and write, draw, and paint on the walls.
In Boston, future authors can get in on the act as well at the Boston Children’s Museum. During the fun Messy Sensory Activity: Scribbling, kids build up those little hand muscles by gripping hard on to markers. Not only will the little ones develop fine motor skills, they’ll keep handwriting alive as well.
Who doesn’t love a puppet show? It’s a magical moment when inert puppets transform into real beings, and make-believe becomes utterly plausible. Even the squirmiest kids become rapt audience members after the curtain is pulled back. This weekend a number of theaters in New York, Atlanta, Boston, and San Francisco are staging classic fairytales using puppets and marionettes. Not only is this a great way to introduce kids to live theater, but it’s a fun time for the whole family
Get in the spooky spirit in New York at the Swedish Cottage Marionette Theatre’s production of Hansel and Gretel’s Halloween Adventure. Under the auspices of City Parks Foundation, this theater group is one of last public marionette companies in the U.S. Like everything else in NYC, even puppet shows can be delivered. The City Parks Foundation’s Puppetmobile performs Little Red’s Hood this weekend at PS 107 Thomas A. Dooley Elementary School in Queens on Saturday. At Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, kids can get up close with everyone’s favorite Sesame Street puppets (or rather Muppets) like Elmo, Big Bird, and Cookie Monster at the New York Public Library’s exhibit Somebody Come and Play. Featuring more than 250 Sesame Street items and 20 Muppets, the show includes a photo booth, a special children’s play area, and a replica of the iconic brownstone stoop.
In Atlanta, kids can be entertained by other beloved children’s characters like Dorothy, Tin Man, and Scarecrow. At the Center for Puppetry Arts, the story of The Wizard of Oz comes alive with marionettes. After the performance, be sure to make your own Cowardly Lion string puppet at the center’s “Create-a-Puppet” workshop.
Boston families can catch another timeless classic but with a clever twist at Puppet Showplace Theater. Little Red Rosie and the Dragon of Dümm uses Little Red Riding Hood and Sir George and the Dragon as a jumping-off point. In this updated fairytale, Rosie takes matters into her own hands to save the day.
Peter Pan gets the puppet treatment at San Francisco’s Children’s Fairyland. In this production, the storybook tale leaps off the page, and Peter Pan, the Lost Boys, Wendy, and, of course, Tinkerbell all outsmart Captain Hook.
There’s more than one way to go green. And we’re not talking about recycling or saving energy, but about eating lots of fruits and vegetables. Just saying “it’s good for you” isn’t enough for kids to develop healthy eating habits. From visiting a working farm to planting seeds and cooking a delicious meal, here are some fun ways to teach your kids about healthy eating habits in New York, Atlanta, Boston, and San Francisco.
At the Children’s Museum of Manhattan, “Eat Sleep Play” is a huge exhibit featuring 70 interactive games and stations about ways to be healthy. Kids can crawl through a giant digestive system and learn about how food affects the body. Over at the Queens Botanical Garden, young gardeners can get in touch with the earth through planting seeds and harvesting vegetables at the Fall Children’s Garden program.
In Atlanta, health-conscious munchkins can learn about food as it travels from farm to grocery store to table at the Children’s Museum of Atlanta’s Fundamentally Food exhibit. For any sous chefs in your family, check out Kids in the Kitchen at the Atlanta-Fulton Public Library where kids learn that there’s more to cooking than spooning a dollop of dough onto a cookie sheet.
Learning about healthy habits doesn’t have to be academic either. At Marini Farms near Boston, families can have a blast exploring life on a working farm from greenhouses to fields, jumping on a supersized outdoor trampoline, and chasing each other in a corn maze.
Not surprisingly, San Francisco, the home of Alice Waters, boasts a ton of farmers markets where your kids can help you pick out fresh fruits and vegetables. CUESA’s Saturday Market at Ferry Plaza offers farm produce, artisan foodstuffs, and baked goods. And the Agricultural Institute of Marin hosts six farmers markets this weekend: Grand Lake-Oakland and Hayward Farmers Market on Saturday; and San Rafael Farmers Market, Stonestown Farmers Market, Clement St. Farmers Market, and Newark Farmers Market on Sunday.
You may soon have the kiddos begging for vegetables!
Sure, your children can watch kids movies on your phone, but it’s a lot more fun to watch a film in a theater filled with other kids all laughing at the same silly moments. (The popcorn’s better, too!) Your Netflix queue will always be around, so put the remote down and catch these special kids movies and screenings in New York, Atlanta, San Francisco, and Boston this weekend.
Little cinephiles in New York can start the weekend with Movies for Tots at the New York Public Library’s Kips Bay branch or with Movies for Children at Brooklyn Public Library’s Borough Park building. Kids under age 5 can giggle at a short cartoon or movie (usually starring Elmo, of course).
For braver kids, head over to the American Museum of Natural History to see a wowza screening of Great White Shark in its IMAX theater throughout the weekend. If your kids prefer to float on the water rather than dive deep, stop by the Film Forum on Oct. 5 to see the classic Captains Courageous, part of its Film Forum Jr. series.
Everyone likes to be the first one to see a new movie—especially kids. Catch a special sneak peek screening of Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day at Chelsea’s SVA Theatre on Sunday. For cool cats and kitty lovers in the family, head out to Brooklyn for the super fun New York Feline Film & Video Festival at Galapagos Art Space, also on Sunday.
In Atlanta, your smallest film fans can pretend that they’re at a drive-in movie and watch Monster House at The Little House of Art’s Kids Drive-in Movie Night on Oct. 3, while older kids can pretend that they’re piloting a submarine as they experience the 4-D Journey 2: The Mysterious Island at Stone Mountain Park.
While many cities’ summer screenings have ended, lucky kids in San Francisco can still watch a flick under the stars. On Friday night, older kids can lie on a blanket outdoors and watch Pee Wee’s Big Adventure, presented by the Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive, and laugh at “big buts” (only one “t”).
Boston Public Library has all the ages covered when it comes to kids movies this Friday. Kiddos age 4 and younger can get their celluloid fill with Preschool Films at the Codman branch, while teens can stop by the Mattapan library after school, catch a flick, and hang out with friends at its Friday Films program.
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