Enjoy the warm weather vibes of June before the dog days of summer actually begin. From science festivals to folk festivals, this month is going to fly by. Use these suggestions to pack in family fun before school ends and the endless camp cycle begins.
1.GO: World Science Fair, Part I
With a name like World Science Fair, you know this is going to be a huge event. This multi-part week-long festival, taking place all over NYC has something for every scientist, young and old. Here are a few free family events that are worth checking out:
Science In The Square, part of the World Science Fair is a hands-on free festival in Times Square with activities, demonstrations, and installations “aimed at giving the public a greater understanding and appreciation of our ever-changing planet—and our relationship to it.” Holoscenes, is a performance installation that takes place in a 12-ton aquarium, which periodically floods and drains, as a commentary on climate change. There will also be an Energy Floor dance area that converts human motion into energy. Times Square, Through Saturday June 3, 7am-midnight. FREE
World Science Fair, Part II
Saturday Night Lights: Stargazing In Brooklyn Bridge Park is sure to be a star-studded evening, where kids will get a chance to use a telescope, create an exploding star with an LED umbrella and listen to a Q & A and book signing with the legendary Bill Nye, the Science Guy. It’s like a science nerd’s dream come true. Keep the kids up a little later than usual, because…it’s practically summer! Saturday June 3, 7pm-11pm, Pier 1, Brooklyn Bridge Park. FREE
World Science Fair, Part III
Ultimate Science Sunday, is an indoor day where families can explore interactive exhibits, including riding a hovercraft, play with virtual reality dinosaurs, and test wind tunnels. Kids will get to steer an underwater rover, hear black holes collide, and conduct all sorts of experiments. Plus there will be a special science storytime for even the littlest science geeks, and a curated gift shop stocked with signed books. Sunday, June 4, 10am-6pm, NYU Kimmel Center. FREE
- GO: Support child prodigies in film
At age 16, Steven Spielberg filmed a feature length science fiction film, and his father rented a local movie theater to show the film. For the next generation of Spielbergs, there’s the Kids Film Fest. Taking place on Saturday June 3 at 1pm, the festival includes a line-up of short films made by children. 4 to 5, directed by Craig Knowles profiles a boy on the eve of his fifth birthday, discussing what it was like to be four. All the films are rated G and include animated and live action shorts. An 11-year-old boy directs a film called The Heist about his evil teddy bear. Kids Film Fest, Made In Media Center, 30 John St., Dumbo. $15 for adults, children 12 and under, free.
- GO: Support child prodigies in music
If seeing kids write and direct their own films is not your thing, maybe seeing kids write and perform their songs is more your speed? Blue Balloon Songwriting School, a songwriting and instrument school for kids ages 3-14, will be hosting it’s Eighth Annual Spring Showcase at the Knitting Factory on June 4 from 10am-2pm. If you’ve been looking to progress past Music Together lessons and see how much a few lessons will help, then this concert is a good way to find out. Plus, if your little ones love High School Musical or Sing, this is an inexpensive way to watch talented kids performing original songs onstage. Unlike a school recital, students at Blue Balloon learn to play the guitar, keyboard, ukelele and drums while writing original songs. “You won’t hear Mary Had a Little Lamb at Blue Balloon,” Rachel Lipson, founder of Blue Balloon claims. “You’ll instead hear something more akin to Lou Reed, The Shangri-Las, Vashti Bunyan or even Woody Guthrie.” The Knitting Factory, 361 Metropolitan Ave, Williamsburg. Tickets: $25 for adults; $10 for kids.
- READ: A parenting book that actually works
If all these prodigies have you feeling depressed-inspired, there is a cure. Author Julia Cameron’s original The Artist’s Way book, published in 1992, helped generations of stuck worker bees find their creative stepping stones and gave birth to a new genre of books about creativity. Recently, at a bookstore in Rhinebeck, I discovered The Artist’s Way For Parents: Raising Creative Children, published in 2014. In the same vein as her original book, this one is geared towards stressed out, sleep-deprived moms who can’t even find time to wash their hair, never mind start an oil painting. Cameron gently encourages new parents to take small steps on regaining their sanity through “artist dates” with the kids. She recommends making a bucket list of fun things to do, and then actually doing them with the kids. Also, she gives techniques (with checklists and a calendar!) for rediscovering who you were before pregnancy and discovering the new person you became afterward, and how to gently reconcile the two. It’s the book I would have wanted to read after childbirth (instead of all those useless sleep training manuals).
- EAT: Stop the puree and order in for baby
My favorite Manhattan restaurant, Nourish Kitchen, is a female owned and operated hotspot that makes fresh food daily from the farmers market and serves it along with Instagram worthy rose petal lattes and butter coffee. With an ever changing menu, I literally could eat every meal there. With their newest project, Nourish Baby, this could be the best baby shower gift ever! A one month subscription is not cheap ($475), but includes 16 items per week (five days worth of goods) with “a seasonal mix of purees, chunky purees and hand-held items to aid your baby’s digestion, dexterity and development.” Select from Stage 1, Stage 2 or Stage 3, and expect offerings such as Coconut Chia Seed Pudding, Gluten Free Apple Cinnamon Teething Biscuits, Korean black rice congee with ginger, tamari and ghee, or an Egg Crepe with Spinach and Shaved Liver and Sliced Tristar Strawberries. Also, for new mamas, you can add on extras like lactation cookies or restorative bone broth. Weekly pick-ups happen at their Manhattan locations or in Williamsburg at Geometry Kids (48 Grand Street). For more information, contact email@example.com. 1-month subscription $475; 3-month subscription $1,275; 6-month Subscription $2,450
- DO: Father’s Day weekend Porch Stomp
If you’re looking for something to do on Father’s Day weekend, you can’t beat a day at Governor’s Island. You’ll feel like you’ve left the city, but you’re just a ferry boat ride away. On Saturday June 17, you can kick off the weekend with Make Music New York Presents: Porch Stomp, a folk celebration consisting of over 60 bands, artists, and performing art organizations perform on the porches of the houses on the island. There are performances, educational opportunities and workshops where you can learn to square dance. It’s fun for the whole family, and while you’re there, check out everything else that is great about the island.
- GO: Ponder the Art of the In-Between
You don’t need budding fashion designers to enjoy the Rei Kawakubo show at the MET with the whole family. Known for her avant-garde designs that defy the term “clothing,” your children will be wowed by ballooned silhouettes, the suits with extra sleeves, over the top ruffles, wedding gowns and mourning wear. The hats alone will blow your mind, never mind the children’s wear or the small dress superimposed over a larger one. The show will raise many questions about clothing and won’t win you any battles over school-appropriate garb, but it might just spark some inspiration in your family to think out of the H & M box. Rei Kawakubo, Art of the In-Between runs through September 4 at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1000 Fifth Avenue, Manhattan.
- EAT: Enjoy a secret tea service
While you are at the Met for Rei Kawakubo, enjoy an iced beverage on the rooftop garden with the masses of tourists taking in the view. But if you are hungry, slip up to the second floor balcony for a pop-up Chinese Tea House experience, “Tea Drunk at the Met,” overlooking the Great Hall. The Gong Fu style tea service ranges from a green tea ($20) to a rare Wu Long Tea ($50) and includes pastries. We enjoyed the traditional white tea service ceremony along with egg custards, pork buns, and a delicious selection of tiny cookies and pastries. Although it might not compare with the fancier high teas around the city, it is worlds away from the usual museum restaurant grub. 2nd Floor Balcony, Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1000 Fifth Avenue, Manhattan. Hours: Monday–Thursday & Sunday: 10am–4:30 pm; Friday & Saturday: 10am–3:30 pm.