February is historically the month of love. So, even if there are government acts to stand against, executive orders to roar about, racists to take down, and protests to march your weary legs in, make time this month for self-care. Hug your little ones close and remember to find time for art and humanity. Look for the heroes. Join a community of activists. Reach for tolerance. And whenever you need to, escape for a while into a museum or film to recharge your heart. Remember, love will always trump hate.
GO: If your kids are already interested in getting some tats (or at least interested in looking at yours), let them find out more at Tattooed New York at the New York Historical Society. Highlights of the exhibit will include Thomas Edison’s electric pen and early tattoo machine, sideshow banners and lots of modern and historical tattoo art. This isn’t an interactive exhibit geared toward children, but you can easily find parts that your kids will enjoy. Bring a pocketful of temporary tattoos for your kids to choose from sothey can get in on the fun (in a less permanent way). Feb. 2 through April 29 Tattooed New York- NY Historical Society 170 Central Park West at Richard Gilder Way (77th Street), Tuesday-Thursday, Saturday – 10am-6pm, Friday – 10am-8pm, Sunday – 11am-5pm, Monday – CLOSED; adults: $20, students: $12, kids (5-13 years old) $6, kids 4 and under: free.
GO: Did you miss the first few Drag Queen Story Hours? You can catch up on the previous stories with this video from Vice. The Brooklyn Public Library (alongside The Feminist Press) is doing their part in promoting tolerance by “captur[ing] the imagination and play of gender fluidity in childhood” but also just generally demonstrating fantasy and fun in literacy. The next Saturday Storytime: Drag Queen Story Hour is Feb. 4 at 11am and features Ona Louise, the “caretaker of the garden of hopes and dreams, watering the young budding minds of the future.” Park Slope Library, 431 6th Ave. at 9th St. Park Slope. Free.
SEE: Do you need more of a reason to bring the kids to the Whitney for Dreamlands: Immersive Cinema and Art, 1905–2016? Look no further. On Feb. 4 at 2pm, families with kids ages four and up are welcome to a special screening of the Disney Classic, Fantasia, on the big screen with immersive surround sound. There will even be popcorn! After, join in on a gallery tour and art making workshop. Tickets are required, and include the cost of admission to the museum. Whitney Museum of American Art, 99 Gansevoort Street, Manhattan. Adults: $22, kids: free.
READ: Now that it’s winter and the parks are barren and cold, it’s harder to get motivated to bring the kids outdoors. Barefoot and Balanced: How Unrestricted Outdoor Play Makes For Strong, Confident and Capable Children by Angela J. Hanscom might be just the thing to make the bundling up worth it. Although much of it seems like common sense, this occupational therapist, and founder of the TimberNook camps, provides data and studies proving that kids need unstructured playtime outdoors. (No, soccer practice doesn’t count.) She points to a disturbing trend of health and cognitive difficulties that parallel how much time kids spend now inside. Open the door and let your children run free!
SEE: How many times have you gone to the movies with your kids, wanting to bash your head against the seat because the movie was so terrible? (Trolls, anyone?) One of the more fun cinematic experiences I’ve had in some time was bringing my first grader to Jailhouse Rock starring Elvis Presley, as part of the Film Forum, Jr. series. Parents can introduce classic cinema in a welcoming environment that tolerates chit chat, questions and even yelling at the screen and the shows start at 11am. Even though it was in black and white, and had antiquated plot lines, my son (and his parents!) loved it. Upcoming films include: Time Bandits (Feb. 5), It Happened One Night (Feb. 12), Those Magnificent Men In Their Flying Machines (Feb. 19), Lassie Come Home (Feb. 26). Film Forum, Jr., 209 West Houston, Manhattan. $8 a ticket.
GO: This month you may need a little magic in your life. Although you can’t wave a wand and get a new president, you can bring the family to Little Laffs variety show at Jalopy Theater on Feb. 5. Last month, when we attended, balloon animals were twisted, magic was performed and sing-alongs broke out in a rollicking old theater that looked out of place in the new and sterile Brooklyn. The kids sat on the floor in the front; volunteers got to go up on stage and participate. The parents sat in crooked pews in the back, laughing, relaxed, and enjoying the show (or maybe that was from the Bloody Mary that was included with the admission.) Either way, it’s definitely fun for the whole family. Jalopy Theater, 315 Columbia St., Carroll Gardens. $5/kid, $10/adult, or $25/family (adult/family tix include a Bloody Mary or Mimosa!).
GO: Nicole Davis wrote about Hootananny Art House’s standing invitation for family activism on Brooklyn Based last week. Every Monday, the Park Slope space is holding a kid-friendly hangout to make calls, write letters, and take action together. There will be scripts provided, petitions to sign, and other parents to unite with. The space is free, but donations are appreciated for coffee, stamps, printing and other assorted expenses. The Activist Coffee Hour takes places on Mondays from 3:30pm-4:30pm and the Activist Happy Hour takes place Mondays from 6pm-7pm. The next meetings will be on Feb. 6. Hootenanny Art House, 428 15th Street, Park Slope. Free.
READ: There are lots of ways of to get involved with social activism these days (including our own weekly Action Trumps Hate newsletter). Chances are, you’ve thought of bringing your kids to a rally at some point or plan to in the future. Some protests even claim to be kid-friendly spaces, where the chants will be less aggressive and the tone will be peaceful. This handy article by Scary Mommy gives some good tips to successfully bring the kids without a day of whining and burnout.
GO: Steven Steven is the very definition of “odd couple.” Steven Drozd, (from the indie-rock band Flaming Lips) and Steve Burns,(the original host of Blue’s Clues) have joined forces on a new children’s album. Although indie rock bands doing kids songs isn’t new (see They Might Be Giants), this one sounds promising and sure to please most members of the family in one way or another. Come see their album release show on Feb. 26 at Brooklyn Bowl. Doors open at 11am and show starts at 1pm. Oh yeah, and if the kids get bored, you can always bowl! Brooklyn Bowl, 61 Wythe Avenue, Williamsburg. $15/ ticket. Kids under 1 are free.
GO: For the first time ever, BAM is being taken over by two floors of technology with exhibits by digital artists and technologists in BAM Teknopolis. Kids can wander through three-dimensional lightboxes, manipulate digital art, and experience virtual reality. There are 3-D painting that come to life, a pop n’ lock dance machine, and futuristic musical instruments. Feb. 27-March 10, BAM Fisher, 321 Ashland Place. Daytime tickets: $15; evening tickets: $25; BAMkids provides free tickets to families enrolled in the Free or Reduced Price School Meals Program. Visit BAM.org /TAP for information.