It’s finally spring! The flowers are blooming in the window boxes and the sidewalk cafe seats are being hosed down. When your umbrella isn’t flying down the street ready to impale someone on a broken spoke, you can actually enjoy the weather. Here are 10 ways to make the most of the month, including a few inspired ways to celebrate Mother’s Day.
- GO: Support The Magic. There’s no better way to celebrate May Day than with a good book. Today, May 1st, Books Are Magic officially opens for business. Annaliese Griffin wrote about it in tour May Culture Essentials, but it’s so exciting, I’m including here too. We’ve been chomping at the bit, peering in their windows and stalking them on Instagram, so we know they will have an amazing kids section complete with tiny nooks to curl up with a good book. Also, on May 16th from 4-5pm, celebrate all things tacos with Adam Rubin and Daniel Salmieri and their new book Dragons Love Tacos 2. Books Are Magic, 225 Smith St, Cobble Hill
- SEE: Enjoy a Fairy Tale Without Disney. There’s a reason why fairy tales have an everlasting impact on children. The stories are simple yet touch on the themes of good vs. evil in a way that children can absorb. They enrich a child’s imagination and teach children about cultural differences. On Saturday May 6th at 2pm and 5pm, bring the kids to The Miller Theatre for the little-known tale, Bremen Town Band, about a donkey, a dog, a cat, and a rooster who set out on a musical adventure. This production features imaginative silhouette puppetry and is accompanied by a live quintet of jazz musicians. Still not convinced? Albert Einstein famously said, “If you want your children to be intelligent, read them fairy tales. If you want them to be more intelligent, read them more fairy tales.” Miller Theatre at Columbia University, 2960 Broadway (at 116th St.), Harlem. Tickets: $15-$40 adults, $9-$24 children.
- MAKE: Upgrade Your Mother’s Day Card. Calling all kids, and dads who can pass this on to your kids: This Mother’s Day, don’t just scribble a last-minute love note to your mama. With a little foresight, you can make a card she will cherish for years to come. On Sunday, May 7th from 11am-1pm, professional card maker, Jacqueline Carter, creator of Love Jac cards will lead a card making workshop at DSK for the special mothers in your life. Admission is $20 per child and includes the card, an additional artwork, $8 towards the food and tipping the staff. All art materials and inspiration will be supplied. DSK Die StammKneipe, 710 Fulton St. Fort Greene
- GO: Bring the Family to a Kid-Rock Concert. If your kids dream of being rock stars, inspire them to keep on practicing by bringing them to see teenagers perform for the 7-and-under set. On Saturday, May 13th, from 3pm-5pm, Brooklyn Music Factory is hosting a special show where one of their teen indie bands, Clover & The Clockworks (who performed with David Byrne last summer!), will play kid-friendly cover tunes like “Yellow Submarine” and “ABC.” In between songs there will be arts & crafts and a glitter tattoo station. You can purchase tickets here for $25/ family. Show Location: Brooklyn Conservatory of Music, 58 Seventh Ave, Park Slope
5. BUY: A Keepsake for Mother’s Day. If you didn’t already know, Mother’s Day is Sunday, May 14th. This year, instead of another (adorable!) popsicle frame, create a keepsake at Brevity Jewelry with the kids that will be treasured for generations. Jewelry Designer, Anna Corpron, creates one-of-a-kind necklaces based off of your child’s drawing ($195). You just upload the photo and choose a finish (sterling silver, rose gold, 14k gold, etc.) and in 6-8 weeks, a custom treasure will be delivered (so not in time for May 14th, but worth the wait). If your child is more of a wordsmith, other custom options include calligraphy and signatures necklaces.
6. BUY: A Present for Mom that’s Experiential. Surprise a mom on Mother’s Day (Sunday, May 14th) with a ticket to her new favorite workout: The Museum Workout at the Met. (Better yet, get two tickets, one for her and a friend.) Although the multidisciplinary work won’t occur until the summer, after two sold-out runs, there won’t be any more available if you wait. Tickets may seem steep at $75, but this is a true VIP experience where “audience-participants embark on a physical and interactive journey through The Met in the morning hours, before it opens to the public.” This is a collaboration between contemporary American dance company Monica Bill Barnes & Company, and writer/illustrator Maira Kalman. No one is getting bikini ready with this workout, but it will be definitely be fun.
7. SHOW: How much you care. You can also honor mom in person or in memoriam by talking about something that reminds you of her at the Old Stone House event, “Mothers, Mementos, Memories.” Tickets are $12, and you get 3 to 5 minutes to talk about an object–a mug, a book, a lunchbox letter, jewelry or anything really–for this show and tell honoring moms, mother figures, aunts, grandmas and nanas.
8. LISTEN: The Unexplainable Disappearance of Mars Patel In 2016, 40 million people drove 50 miles or more from home, according to AAA, over Memorial Day weekend. If you happen to be one of these lucky ducks this year, actually enjoy the car ride with your kids by listening to podcasts. This month, the Season 2 of The Unexplainable Disappearance of Mars Patel started, so if you begin with the first season, you’ll have hours of entertainment. This serialized mystery podcast follows eleven-year-old Mars Patel and his friends JP, Toothpick and Caddie as they search for their two missing friends. My 7-year-old son and his 6-year-old friend enjoyed what they heard, but for maximum engagement, it is aimed for older kids (ages 8-12) and actually performed by middle-school kids!
9. GO: Celebrate a Female Artist at the Brooklyn Museum. It’s not every day that a female art legend is celebrated with a retrospective that explores both her work and identity. Georgia O’Keeffe was a renowned artist with a persona that transcended her visually evocative work. This show includes items of her clothing, photos of her houses and portraits of the artist: inspiration for all children to live big lives. On Friday, May 26, 5:00pm-7:30pm teens have a free evening of art, food and festivities at the monthly Teen Night organized by teens for teens at the Museum. Georgia O’Keeffe: Living Modern runs through July 23, 2017. Brooklyn Museum, 200 Eastern Parkway, Prospect Heights. Adults: $20, Students: $12, Children 12-19: $6, Children 11 and under: free.
10. EAT: Over the River and Through the Woods To Grandma’s House. Finding a kid-friendly restaurant that is good for groups is difficult even in child populated neighborhoods in Brooklyn. Grandma’s House on Atlantic Avenue fits the bill. After originally being flooded out of South Street Seaport by Sandy, the restaurant reopened in Brooklyn in 2015 serving comfort food staples like mac n’ cheese, hot dogs, and burgers: all local, grass fed, and organic. There’s a soda fountain bar and kitschy decor touches like a model train to impress the kids. Additionally, there’s lots of space for strollers, wiki sticks to distract until the food comes, and wide tables to separate your hungry beasts from the other paying patrons. Grandma’s House, 364 Atlantic Ave, Boerum Hill