Thursday, October 4, 2012

6 Great Ways To “Edutain” The Kids in NYC

Tim McKiernan, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer,
The New Victory Theater (photo: Eric Woolsey)
By Jacquelin Carnegie 
In New York City, the options to keep kids occupied are endless. Here are some that expose your children to a range of cultural activities while helping them learn to appreciate the offerings:
Song & Dance (& Juggling) on Broadway
The New Victory Theater
209 West 42nd St.; Tel: 646/223-3010;

The New Victory Theater puts on shows that thrill children and delight adults. Hands-down the best entertainment for kids (and their parents) in New York City. The performances are geared to different ages from lively acrobatics for the wee ones to musicals and serious dramas for teens and pre-teens. The New Vic also offers workshops in juggling and other fun activities your little sprout will get a kick out of learning.

Classical Music Made Easy
The Little Orchestra Society
Tel: 212-971-9500;
(Geared to ages 3-10) 
The Little Orchestra Society, Lolli-Pops, guest conductor Daniel Meyer
(photo: Noah Stern Weber)

If you’ve ever wondered how to get a youngster interested in classical music, here’s the answer. At these concerts, music is not just played, it’s explained. In a fun, entertaining way, the orchestra conductor introduces the young audience members to all the different instruments (and the sounds they make). The kids learn some background about the composer and the piece of music they’ll hear. Then, when the concert starts, an imaginative dramatization with actors, dancers, and life-size puppets accompanies the music. The kids are completely engrossed and blissfully happy as they learn to appreciate the joys of classical music.

Sleep with the Fishes & Dinosaurs!
A Night at the Museum - AMNH
American Museum of Natural History
Central Park West @ 79th St.; Tel: 212/769-5570; (Cost: $150 per person; Members: $140 per person; 
Sleepover with the Whales (photo: ©AMNH/R.Mickens)
Open to: 6-13 year olds)
This is a child’s dream come true—staying in the museum overnight to go exploring by flashlight! Knowledgeable guides help the kids explore the live-animal exhibits and lead them on fun “museum quests.” After snacks, and checking out the dinosaurs, kids get to bed down on cots set up under the famous blue whale, next to African elephants, or at the base of a volcanic formation. By morning light, there are sure to be some future anthropologists and paleontologists among the sleepyheads. (On hold during COVID.)

Bilingual Entertainment
Society of the Educational Arts (SEA)
Clemente Soto Vélez Cultural & Educational Center
107 Suffolk St.; Tel: 212/529-1545;
Goldilocks (Ricitos y Los Tres Ositos), SEA
In our globalized world, it’s important for children to learn other languages. Today, Spanish is one of the most important. Here’s a way to expose kids with a spoonful of azúcar. Teatro SEA presents marvelous, bilingual musicals--versions of famous fairy tales such as Cinderella (Cenicienta) and Goldilocks (Ricitos y Los Tres Ositos)--and plays as well as Hispanic folk tales and elaborate puppet shows. ¡Vámonos!

Museums Just for Kids!
Children’s Museum of the Arts
Tel: 212/274-0986;
CMA (photo: Amanda di Rosa)

This nifty arts organization now offers a range of virtual and in-person creative activities for children —on their own, with parents, and/or with specially-trained instructors. Small fry can learn to work with clay and do painting & drawing, even learn how to play the drums. Older kids will find it really cool to work on multi-media projects such as animated films, music production, and digital photography. CMA presents a world of artistic possibilities for kids eager to learn.

CMOM, EatSleepPlay
Children's Museum of Manhattan
212 West 83rd St.; Tel: 212/721-1223;
The interactive exhibits here combine play and learning. They are geared to teaching children about: creativity and analytical thinking, healthy lifestyles, and the world’s diverse cultures. In addition to the fun, hands-on exhibitions, every week CMOM offers more than 80 kid-friendly workshops, classes and performances free with admission.

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