The days are growing shorter, and the time spent with the kids more precious. Autumn is the perfect time for making memories by going away for a long weekend to see the leaves change, day tripping to pick apples, or sewing unique and intricate Halloween costumes. But for those of us without extra vacation days or any spare time, here are nine ways to make memories that don’t require Pinterest parenting. All you have to do is just show up (with your kids), sometimes pay some cash, and boom!, post that to your Instagram.
1. GO: No time to make photo albums? No problem! As part of the new art show at Ground Floor Gallery, the Park Slope based printing studio, Authorized In The US to Work Press, is taking over the gallery space for a month. On Sunday, October 1 from noon-3pm and Saturday, October 14 from noon-4pm, they will be hosting two family photo collage workshops. Sign up for an hour slot and bring a selection of physical photos with you and your family will create a multiple of twenty 11×17” photo collages that can be framed at home or gifted to others! It will take your photo collection to a whole new level. Sunday, October 1, noon-3pm; Saturday, October 14, noon-4pm. Ground Floor Gallery, 343 5th Street, Park Slope. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to reserve a slot. $150
2. GO: Pull a rabbit from your hat. On Sunday, October 8, Mario the Maker Magician brings his magic and DIY robotics show to the Brooklyn Music School Theater for a one day only performance with a special guest appearance by Chile’s Enzo Nelis. Although the tickets aren’t cheap ($30 for adult/ $20 for each child), rest assured you will be seeing “the best children’s magician” according to renowned David Blaine. Mario has been featured on Sesame Street and Sprout! using his STEM-focused homemade props. Plus, you will be supporting the coolest family business: Mario, his wife and two kids, all tour together throughout the country in a VW Bus. #vanlife #familygoals Sunday, October 8, 4pm, Brooklyn Music School Theater, 126 Saint Felix Street, Fort Greene. Tickets ($20-$30) available here.
3. WATCH: Take an insane field trip. If you’re sick of feeling guilty about how much screen time your kids get, maybe just flipping the channel will make you feel better. Netflix is rebooting the educational classic Magic School Bus Rides Again. This time the field trips will be chaperoned by Ms. Frizzle’s sister (voiced by SNL’s Kate McKinnon) and the theme song will be sung by none other than Lin-Manuel Miranda. Your kids can learn all about science and nature, and astonish you afterwards with facts and figures. There’s no critics reviews yet on how this version compares with the original, but chances are it’s 100% worth checking out. Available to stream on Netflix starting on September 29.
4. GO: Let them play with their food. Back for the second year, Brooklyn Based Kids is throwing its annual family food festival, One More Bite, on Sunday, October 22. All your favorite Brooklyn food vendors will be on hand to encourage little ones to try new foods and teach about healthy eats. This year there will be two different sessions (10:30-12:30pm and 12:30-2:30pm). Along with Private Picasso art stations, there will also be Giant Games of NYC in the courtyard, a PeaPod truck handing out prizes, and so many other interactive events that you kids will want to participate in. The best part is admission is only $5 per person in advance (or $7 at the door.) Sunday, October 22, 10:30-12:30pm or 12:30- 2:30pm, The Green Building, 452 Union St. Brooklyn 11231 Buy your tickets here.
5. GO: Make a homemade costume without the work (or the tears!). Everyone knows that homemade costumes are better, but who has time to figure out how to indulge your child’s imagination: A scary blood man that is not a vampire? A friendly alien with three heads stacked like a totem pole? A unicorn with four legs and a spiral body? Forget it! Or better yet, let your kids figure it out themselves at this Halloween DIY Costume Class hosted by From Wonder at Court Tree Collective on Saturday, October 28. During this three-hour workshop, your child will “bring their Halloween vision to life” with the help of experts on hand to assist. Families will be asked to in advance to purchase some materials, but the rest of the materials, art supplies, and fabrics will be provided on site. October 28, 9am-12pm, Court Tree Collective, 371 Court St. Carroll Gardens. This workshop is for kids ages 4-10. Register for the workshop online here. $125/ per child.
6. GO: Start a new Halloween tradition. If you love the idea of carving jack o’lanterns with your kids, but don’t have the skill set (or knife collection!) to pull it, don’t worry. At Night of 1,000 Jack O’Lanterns at Governors Island, your family will get the chance to see the extremely intricate pumpkin designs carved by talented carving artists around the tri-state area. A night time walk along a pathway lit by hundreds of LED sparkling pumpkins with the backdrop of the Manhattan skyline is pretty much the perfect way to celebrate All Hallows Eve. These evening walks take place Thursday, October 26 through Sunday October 29. Buy your tickets ahead of time because they expect to sell out. Adults $24, Children $20.
7. GO: Bring your kids to a pet cemetery. If you want to score some parental cool points, tell your kids that you’ll bring them to a pet cemetery for Halloween. Then confuse them when you bring them to the Brooklyn Museum for an engaging and not-at-all-scary look at Soulful Creatures: Animal Mummies in Ancient Egypt. The exhibit is a menagerie of birds, dogs, cats, snakes, and other animals preserved from cemeteries all over Egypt. You and your kids will learn that animals were connected to different deities in Egyptian culture, and after death the animal’s souls were meant to bring messages to God. Brooklyn Museum, 200 Eastern Parkway, Adults: $16, Children: $10, Wednesday-Sunday 11am-6pm (Thursdays open until 10pm), through January 21.
8. GO: Help kids deal with rejection. Has your child ever been disappointed when an idea he had was rejected? The new show “Never Built New York” at the Queens Museum through February 18 is where misfit architectural ideas have come to rest, and show what the city skyline would have looked like if some of these ideas had passed. For instance what if a dome over Manhattan provided New Yorkers with ideal temperatures? Or a giant globe housing a roller skating rink, theater, gardens and restaurants perched on Coney Island? Even Frank Lloyd Wright had ideas end up in the rejection pile. He thought Ellis Island would make the perfect “Utopia” community with moving sidewalks and car-free streets. No one else shared his vision. This show teaches kids it’s okay to go back to the drawing board. Queens Museum, New York City Building, Flushing Meadows Corona Park, Queens. Hours: Wednesday-Sunday 11-5pm. $8 adults, $4 seniors, free for children under 18. Through February 18, 2018.
9. READ: Remember that parenting isn’t a job you can be fired from…unless it is. If you want to make yourself feel better about your parenting game, read The NY Times article, “Why Isn’t Your Toddler Paying the Mortgage?” Babies in this world work on deadlines performing in front of iPhone cameras, and star in marketing campaigns for major corporations. They worry about hearing or saying quotes like: “Kids grow up and become less relevant. The sweet spot is between 2 and 4,” after which, Mr. Smith said, “they’re not that cute.” Unless you happen to be one of these “mompreneurs,” chances are you and your kids can be assured that you’ll never be fired. Even if you have to phone it in some of the time, or you miss a few of those soccer games/performances/PTA meetings, you’re probably doing more than okay at this parenting thing. In fact, let us be the ones to say it: You’re doing a great job!