It’s hard to discuss a kids’ calendar without spending extra attention on the amazing work that student activists in Florida (and all over) are doing in response to the school shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. The month of March will be the month that families march, whether in a planned walkout on March 17th or March For Our Lives on March 24th. This month I will be cheering on courageous kids and everything that they are able to accomplish with their urgent activism. Also, I will be holding my child close in the wake of such tragedy and listening closely when he speaks. This tiny voice has the strength of the future echoing loudly from his lips.
1. Go to the Tilt Festival
The Cultural Services of the French Embassy and the French Institute Alliance Française (FIAF) are presenting the third annual TILT Kids Festival. Last year was really fun, and this year looks to be just as engaging. The 2018 lineup will run over the course of three weekends, with many free events on the agenda. Over the weekend of March 3rd and 4th, buy tickets to a performance of Little Red Riding Hood ($60) or see an interactive exhibition from French-Moroccan artist Yto Barrada and American designer Julie Klear that invites kids to use the power of words to change the world. Accompanying kids’ workshops include Protest Animals and Poetry as Protest for kids ages 5-10. On March 11th, Simon Critchley returns to the Brooklyn Public Library for Philosophy for Kids for kids ages 6-12, which we attended last year and learned what it means to think deeply. On March 17th, bring the kids to see a real mime ($5) with Broken Box Mime Theater, who uses the art of mime to tell contemporary stories that go beyond words. Finally, on March 18th, join Billy Martin and the Tilt Brass Band for Stridulations for the Good Luck Feast, an afternoon of interactive musical performances where families will build their own instruments and jam out. For a complete schedule, check the schedule at http://tiltkidsfestival.org/2018-events.
2. Spend an (Early) Evening With Chelsea Clinton
Our favorite kids bookstore, Stories, and the Brooklyn Public Library are hosting an all-ages event on Sunday, March 11th at 5pm for the release of Chelsea Clinton’s new picture book, She Persisted Around the World: 13 Women Who Changed History. Clinton will be reading, as well as doing a discussion with the illustrator and editor of the book, which highlights 13 women from around the world who have “used their voices and determination to create change and shape history.” Women like Marie Curie, J.K. Rowling, and Malala Yousafzai are included. Tickets can be purchased here. Brooklyn Public Library, 10 Grand Army Plaza, Prospect Heights.
3. Watch Read Aloud Videos
If you’re looking for more educational ways for your kids to utilize their iPads, you could do worse than Storyline Online, a sweet literacy website where A-list celebrities read their favorite children’s stories. Justin Theroux (and his eyebrows) dive deep into “Here Comes The Garbage Barge,” an interesting history of garbage. Wanda Sykes lends her acting chops to “The Case of the Missing Carrot Cake,” Rose Byrne tells “The Tale of Peter Rabbit,” which was one of her favorite books as a child. The videos take a cue from Reading Rainbow with animated illustrations to keep kids engaged. Plus, a thorough activity guide that include recipes, games, writing prompts, field trips or science experiences accompanies each storytime. For instance, you could join Viola Davis reading “Rent Party Jazz” and then do the recommended activities (for kids ages 8-9) like cook a Po-Boy, and then make your own harmonica. Playdate solved.
4. Create story-filled murals at the American Folk Art Museum
All the museums in NYC have great educational programming, but none better than The American Folk Art Museum, which flies under the radar. We’ve written about their great family programming before, and on the first Saturday every month, you can experience it for yourself. On Saturday, March 3rd, at 1pm, kids ages 4-12 will engage in conversation with docents about “the storytelling techniques” used in the exhibition Vestiges and Verse. Families will draw inspiration from Swiss artist Aloise Corbaz’s hand-sewn notebooks and large-scale scroll drawing, and then create their own collaged murals. The groups tend to be small in these workshops, so kids get the chance to ask questions and participate. To register, call 212. 265. 1040, ext. 381 or email email@example.com . American Folk Art Museum, 2 Lincoln Square, Manhattan.
5. Support students taking the lead on gun control
On Wednesday, March 14th, the Women’s March organizers are planning a national school walkout to protest gun violence and demand that Congress pass laws to keep students safe in their schools. ENOUGH: National School Walkout will take place at 10am for 17 minutes across every time zone. Parents can help by paving the way for students to participate in this protest without discipline from the schools. On Saturday, March 24th, kids and families will demand the end of gun violence and mass shootings through a protest called March For Our Lives. The official march will be in Washington, D.C., but even if you can’t make it to the White House, there are marches planned all over the country, including NYC.
6. Try Ice cream cotton candy, it’s a thing
March is technically the start of spring, but we all know that there can be snowstorms in April. Before letting the doldrums unmoor you, navigate your way to Binki Cafe. If an animal-shaped cotton candy resting atop an ice cream doesn’t make your family scream with glee, then really, I’m not sure what would? My child’s eyes bulged out of his head at the prospect, and it was almost too adorable to eat, yet somehow we managed. Even when we both had stomach aches, we recognize that it was worth it for the undeniable surprise that something so over the top exists. For a minute we had all the summer feels of salt air, boardwalk, cotton candy and soft serve in one bite. Binki Cafe, 42 Eldridge St., Chinatown.
7. Get something lasting for Easter
This coat is possibly the most adorable spring update for any child’s wardrobe. If you celebrate Easter, then it’s the perfect way to dress up for an Easter egg hunt. Otherwise, The Flopsy Rabbit coat ($170) by Little Goodall also serves as a lovely homage to Beatrix Potter. It’s made from 100% Heather Brown Wool, so although I wouldn’t normally recommend spending so much on a coat for your growing child (sizes 12M through 10), it is a well-made garment out of luxe materials that will actually last. This is the kind of heirloom coat that I can see passing down through families, and then even on to grandchildren. (It also comes in White, in the event that you want to get a pair for both your kids.) Available online or at Raine and Riley’s, 9002 3rd Avenue, Bay Ridge
8. Go to the Inventgenuity Festival
Save the dates of the weekend of March 24th and 25th for the Inventgenuity Festival produced by Beam Center and taking place at Brooklyn New School. Last year’s festival had over 368 projects, including launching 1000 paper airplanes, and other hands-on activities including glue guns, tools, circuitry and sewing machines. It’s a winning combination of “art, science and imagination” that attracted over 600 attendees. Details are still to come on this year’s festival, but it is sure to be a fun time for the whole family. Inventgenuity Festival at the Brooklyn New School, 610 Henry St., Brooklyn.