We’re in the homestretch of summer. The kids have been swimming, hiking, biking, and have licked enough ice cream to last a lifetime. They’ve stayed up late looking at stars, slept outdoors, and caught fireflies. They’ve eaten everything from lobster rolls to snowcones and grilled anything in between. You’ve stockpiled sunscreen, aloe vera gel and Itch Eraser. Your family has logged miles in the car, a plane and the subway (even mostly without the ipad). Miraculously, no one has drowned, thrown up or caught Zika. Yet, somehow there’s still one month left. Whether you’re coming back from vacation, or coming off long weeks of camp, we’ve got you covered with eight fresh activities (like $1 movies and a free ice cream exhibit) to finish out summer strong.
1. Go: An Affordable Family “Camp” at Alamo
Alamo Drafthouse is everyone’s favorite movie theater. With great food, reclining chairs and reserved tickets, it’s hands down the best film experience in Brooklyn. But after ticket prices and lunch for the family, you can easily walk out spending $150. Enjoy your summer movie outing even more with the Alamo Kids Camp, the most inexpensive “camp” in Brooklyn. These special screenings are affordable ways for families to watch movies together during school holidays. Choose your own ticket price ($1, $3, or $5), buy your tickets online and reserve your seats (like usual). If that isn’t awesome enough, 100% of the proceeds from these screenings will be donated to Camba, an organization in New York that provides innumerable services to families in need. Get tickets for Robin Williams board game flick Jumanji (Saturday August 5, 11:30am; Sunday, August 6-Thursday, August 10, 11:30am) or watch the classic Adam West Batman (Saturday, August 12 at 10:00am; Monday, August 14-Thursday, August 17 at noon). All ages will be allowed at all of the Kids Camp flicks, but the movies are geared toward kids 3 and up. Alamo Drafthouse, 445 Albee Square West, Downtown Brooklyn
2. Eat: Stock up at DeKalb Market Hall
After the flick at Alamo, beat the heat a little longer by taking the elevator down to the basement to check out the recently opened DeKalb Market Hall which is like the best parts of Smorgasbourg, but all day every day. You can get milkshakes from Hard Times, ice cream from Ample Hills, or Key Lime Pops from Steve’s for a treat. Or better yet, stock up on prepared foods for dinners with sandwiches from Katz’s Deli, seafood from Fulton’s Landing or meat from Forager’s Butcher. If you think of a few grocery staples that you need as a go along, check out Trader Joe’s newest (and least crowded) location which shares the basement. You and your family will never be bored with dinner again. DeKalb Market Hall, 445 Albee Square West, Downtown Brooklyn
3. Listen: Make a Little Birdhouse in Your Soul in Central Park
Things have come full circle now since one of my first concerts was They Might Be Giants and one of my son’s first concerts can be TMBG, too. The catchy indie songs have segued seamlessly into educational kids songs, including favorites Here Come The ABCs, Here Come The 123s and Here Comes Science. On Saturday, August 12, it will be worth the crowds to see them perform for free as part of City Parks Foundation SummerStage Family Day. They will be performing with Bill Childs, the host of “Spare the Rock, Spoil the Child,” an indie music radio show for children. This really truly will be “fun for the whole family,” so just make sure to get there early to carve out a space for your blanket. Summerstage, Rumsey Playfield, Saturday, August 12, 2-5pm, FREE
4. Go: Ice Cream is elevated to Art Form
Just when you thought that you and your family could not be more sick of ice cream, there is a new way to enjoy it. Through Friday, August 18, “I Scream You Scream”, an ice cream-themed photo show that evokes that summer feeling, is being displayed at the Robert Mann gallery. The exhibit “looks at both the visual and social culture of ice cream by juxtaposing contemporary color images of ice cream itself with historical images of people savoring every sweet morsel.” Featuring the works of artists such as Garry Winogrand, Martin Parr and Simone Rosenbauer, the show is not specifically for kids but may be an enjoyable stop (and requires less teeth brushing) on your family’s treat roundup. Robert Mann Gallery, 525 West 26th St., Chelsea, FREE
5. Eat: More Ice Cream, Different Form
Maybe an ice cream exhibit didn’t satisfy your kids’ sweet tooth after all. In fact, are they now having a major tantrum right there on the street demanding more ice cream? Ugh, parenting is hard work. Give them what they want and trek up to the highline to 30th Street, where you can get them a classic ice cream sandwich from Melt ($5). And if you are still in Brooklyn when the “melt”down happens, chill out in Dumbo with their newly opened storefront and head down to the carousel for a lazy afternoon by the water. After blowing their minds at Black Tap, a chill classic will keep them calm and ice-creaming on. Melt Dumbo, 111 Front Street, Dumbo. Open seven days a week from noon-8pm. Need even more ice cream? Indulge all your senses with global flavors with spicy concoctions like golden turmeric or tamarind caramel at Malai, a Brooklyn brand that just opened their first brick-and-mortar location at Gotham Market at The Ashland in Fort Greene. A profile on owner Pooja Bavishi will whet your palate and encourage you to treat your senses to new flavors.
6. Buy: Box up your memories.
Summer days are all about making memories, and with iPhone cameras you can capture every glorious moment. But then what? After putting a few on Instagram, those memories often get left behind only to pop up five years later as a “5 Years Ago Today…” making you say “Ooh I should make a photo album!” and then promptly forget all about it. Instead, check out Box Art Photos, a company started by Brooklyn parent, Laura Corrin, that also works as a Pinterest-worthy wall mural for your home. Send your favorite Instagram picture (think sunsets, beach days, ice cream faces!) to her and for $15 (plus shipping and handling) she will create and send you a 5×5 handpainted wooden box with the original photo adhered to the front. And if your summer was a slog, you can commission any of her gorgeous nature and art photos. The ideas are limitless and would also make a thoughtful gift set for new parents. Email Laura Corrin at firstname.lastname@example.org.
7. Go: A Puppet Show With a Poetic Spirit
If you’d rather your kids engage in live theater than a summer blockbuster based on emojis, then you have a few weekends left to catch the The Reluctant Dragon puppet show at the (always wonderful) Puppetworks. Based on the 1898 short story by Kenneth Grahame, a sonnet-loving dragon encounters a young boy and they become friends based on their love of literature. Read the very long short story aloud first to your children, and although the language is antiquated, it is also melodious and perfect for sending kids off to dreamland. When they see the story performed with marionettes, they’ll have a basic understanding already, and are bound to enjoy it even more. Saturdays and Sundays through August 20, 12:30pm and 2:30pm. (Suggested for ages 3 and up.) Puppetworks, 338 Sixth Avenue, Park Slope. Tickets: Adult: $10, Children: $9.
8. Buy: Unwrinkle your clothes with Wrinkle Release Spray
Since I live in New York, the closest I get to “ironing” is dry cleaning when a special occasion dress is too wrinkled. I don’t have room for an ironing board in my apartment, nor do I have the time or inclination to handle one. Unfortunately, my cramped closet does not allow my garments to relax and the summer months require so much linen. In July, I found a bottle of “Wrinkle Release Spray” on vacation and used it on a shirt that had wrinkled in my suitcase. In mere seconds it had magically been transformed into a fresh unwrinkled top that looked new from a store. Although I am generally resentful about unnecessary products geared toward attaining a spic-and-span house, I actually bought this one. It’s like magic and is supposed to work on all fabrics, including your linen napkins and placemats! (Hello, dinner parties!) And for my next trick, I will follow online directions for a DIY organic version. Amazon, $10