Happy 2019! You made it through the bustling holidays and now your reward is the freezing cold of winter, where there will be ample time to hibernate and relax. For those glorious sunny days though, when your kids are climbing the walls and sick of their new gifts, you’ll want to leave the house. The decision can feel as overwhelming as making a choice in Black Mirror: Bandersnatch, so to help you narrow down the pathways, here are some great options for getting out and enjoying January. From Alphabeasts to Zombies, here are some solid ideas to get you through until February.
If your kids are learning to write their numbers or letters, Draw AlphaBeasts: 130+ Monsters, Aliens and Robots From Letters and Numbers would be a fun book to get to help them practice. Or if your kids are into drawing, this book offers some really fun drawing prompts. My son is already proficient in writing but absolutely loved receiving this book and dove right in to create monsters and aliens. It’s a fun way to see how you can transform one shape into a crazy robot or a grotesque ogre. Scattered throughout are little art tips, like how to add texture to a monster’s skin, etc. It would make a really great trip or restaurant book, to keep kids occupied with simple ideas that can be explored as in-depth as they have time for. Recommended for ages 6-8. Available online.
Go: Rock and Roll Playhouse
One of the best ways I know for surviving winter is through Rock and Roll Playhouse performances at Industry City or Brooklyn Bowl. These family concerts run every weekend are for families- babies, toddlers, early elementary school age kids are welcome to boogie down, scream, cry, run wild, and contemplate new sounds. Their parents are encouraged to drink booze while listening to covers of their favorite music. It’s a win-win situation. (Plus, the Industry City shows are free.) Upcoming shows include Bob Marley (January 5), Abba (January 6), Karina’s Funk Review (January 12), Led Zeppelin (Jan 13), Hip Hop For Kids (January 19th), Bob Marley (January 20), Grateful Dead (January 26), David Bowie (January 26). Tickets: Brooklyn Bowl $12/ Industry City: FREE.
Go: Malala Yousafzai
If one of your New Year’s resolutions is to inspire your tweens with new books, then this event should be on your radar. Nobel Peace Prize laureate and New York Times bestselling author Malala Yousafzai (I Am Malala) is coming to BAM on Tuesday, January 8th to discuss her new book, We Are Displaced: My Journey and Stories from Refugee Girls Around the World. She is an inspiration and can prove to kids what teens can accomplish and how it is possible to stand up for what you know is right. The show is at 7:30 pm, so it is definitely more appropriate for older kids with later bedtimes. Tickets start at $20. BAM, Peter Jay Sharp Building, 30 Lafayette St., Fort Greene
Buy: Better Baby Food
Maybe your New Years resolution is to feed healthier foods to your baby. There are a lot of meal kit delivery services out there, so it makes sense that baby food would also be a subscription choice. Raised Real looks like a great new choice, even if mostly because of the price: $95 for 20 meals, every two weeks. I feel like even if you were to buy your veggies at a CSA, puree them and chop them all up yourself, and freeze them for the year, you would still end up spending at least $50/week plus the inconvenience of doing all the work. The meals come in packets safe for babies 6 months and older, with the option to puree, mash with a fork or feed as finger foods. Sample meals include Peas + Zucchini with hemp hearts, basil, and avocado oil; Chickpeas + Tahini with cauliflower and turmeric; and Broccoli + Green Beans with chickpeas, flaxseed, and avocado oil. If you give it a try, let us know how it goes. www.raisedreal.com
Spider-Man: Into the Spiderverse is totally worth seeing, even if your kids are not super fans of superheroes. The animation is incredible and the plot is about a kid in Brooklyn. Enough said. Common Sense Media recommends for kids 9 and up, because of violence/ action, so depending on an individual child’s temperament it might be too scary for young viewers.
Go: Harry Potter Madness
Have you been to the Harry Potter: A History of Magic exhibit yet at the New York Historical Society? Now that the tourists have left Manhattan, it is probably a great time to see it, and you’ll have until January 27th to get tickets. For kids who want to dive even deeper into the Harry Potter universe, on Sunday, January 13th, from 2:30 pm-3: 30 pm, Brooklyn Botanical Garden is hosting The Botanical World of Harry Potter Tour Series: Herbology. This is an interactive tour about herbs and how wizards (and muggles) use them. The event is free with garden admission. Brooklyn Botanic Gardens, Entrance at 455 Flatbush Ave or 990 Washington, Meet at Conservatory entrance. Adults: $12, Students over 12: $8, Children under 12: free.
Read: All About Galactagogues
“Galactagogues can be broadly defined as “foods, drinks, herbs, supplements, or medications that are said to increase milk supply,” explains Tipper Gallagher, a Minneapolis/St. Paul-based certified lactation consultant who also blogs at the breastfeeding support website the Boob Geek.” I was fascinated by this Vox article all about breast milk supplements and the shady world of this industry and the desperate women it preys on. My pre-term baby was also not a great latcher, so I related to the torture of non-stop pumping machines and a low supply of milk. I think so many of the products in the industry come from other mothers who literally needed to help themselves when traditional doctors paid no attention. But there needs to be more oversight, as well as more studies on maternal matters.
Celebrate: MLK Day
If you aren’t out of town for the first long weekend of the year, then you might want to spend Monday, January 21st celebrating the man with a variety of educational events around the borough. The Brooklyn Children’s Museum is throwing a three-day remembrance all weekend with crafts, performances, animated films and storytelling. (The full schedule can be found here.) In Prospect Lefferts Garden, Greenlight Books hosts an annual offsite celebration with music performances, activities, and crafts for kids– and a complimentary lunch at noon. Or for teenagers, BAM hosts one of the largest MLK celebrations in the city, which includes a full day of free performances and talks by civic leaders, intellectuals and activists.
Buy: Fabulous Fake Fur
Certainly, our kids are not extensions of ourselves, but we can still want them to look fabulous, can’t we? The Chloe Madison Boutique, named after the designer’s daughter, and inspired by all of the cities she’s traveled while working in the fashion biz, sells the most exquisite vegan furs for kids. These prices won’t break the bank: $50 for a faux fur coat and $12 for a pom-pom hat, for instance. But, you can’t put a price on looking adorable or all the compliments your kids are going to get while standing in the VIP line at the playground.
Play: Zombie Math
New York Hall of Science is pulling out all the stops with a Gingerbread Lane featuring the world record’s largest gingerbread town, and now an interactive game for kids about zombies. From through February 15th, “How Many Zombies Are Too Many Zombies?” will have kids acting as scientists “helping the ‘Center for Calamity Control’ simulate a zombie outbreak.” The zombies are all smoke and mirrors covering some important mathematical lessons. This experience grew out of a collaboration between a mathematician and a game design studio as a fun way to learn about mathematical models. Kids will love it, and their parents will too. Game sessions take 20 minutes and can accommodate 25 people. Free with NYSCI admission. Recommended for kids 8 and up. Tickets: $16/ adult, $13/ child. NY Hall of Science, 47-01 111th Street, Corona, NY