Our guide to cultural events in New York City for children and teenagers happening this weekend and in the week ahead.
BEE A POLLINATOR at the Queens County Farm Museum (April 22, noon-3:30 p.m.). Monday is Earth Day, which this museum will celebrate by honoring one of the planet’s most industrious benefactors: the honeybee. During talks at the farm’s apiaries, children can learn how bees not only produce food but also help spread pollen among plants. Of course, humans are pollinators, too, and young visitors can get involved by making seed balls: mixtures of clay, soil and wildflower seeds that can be tossed into barren yards and lots. The afternoon will also include creating beeswax candles, taking a tractor-drawn hayride and feeding the farm’s goats. After the festivities, at 3:30 p.m., the museum will hold a free public ceremony to support another species, the American chestnut tree. The staff will plant six on the property, helping restore the tree to its native environment.
EARTH DAY WEEKEND at the New York Botanical Garden (April 20-22). The fruits of science are on gorgeous display whenever you enter these 250 acres in the Bronx. But when can you observe the inquiry itself? On these three days, aspiring young researchers (the recommended ages are 12 and older) can enjoy rare tours of the garden’s laboratory, where botanists study plant genomes. On Saturday and Sunday, curious visitors can also meet those scientists and learn about their work during four half-hour sessions, while younger family members can go to the Everett Children’s Adventure Garden to investigate Kids Count!, a project to collect data on leaf, flower and fruit development in native species. Weekend activities will also include afternoon craft projects with recycled materials; a Saturday Parade for the Planet, with gigantic puppets and an enormous globe; a Saturday performance of “Toy Toy Toy!” by the toy-piano virtuoso Margaret Leng Tan; and Saturday and Monday screenings of “Captain Planet and the Planeteers,” a 1990s animated superhero television series about ecology. (A full schedule is on the website.)
EARTH ROCKS! at the Brooklyn Children’s Museum (April 19-28, 10 a.m.-4:45 p.m.). You can interpret this festival’s title in two ways: It offers insights into Earth’s minerals and geologic activity. It also celebrates the wonders of our planet, or, as the museum puts it, its “rock star status.” The daily highlights include Hot Spot, an opportunity to examine volcanic stones and see a rooftop volcano demonstration; Mineral Magic, an investigation of fluorescent minerals; and Animal Adventures, interactions with some of the museum’s resident creatures. Among the other events: on Monday and Tuesday, Kevin and Rich’s Recycled Sounds, in which the musicians Kevin Nathaniel and Rich Stein play instruments made from raw and reused materials; and on Thursday, Aquaponics With Oko Farms, a demonstration of a symbiotic environment of fish and plants. (A full schedule is on the website.)
EASTER AND PASSOVER ACTIVITIES at the Children’s Museum of Manhattan (April 20, 10 a.m.-7 p.m.; April 21-25, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.). Dragons are much in the news these days, but those appearing all over this museum from Saturday to Monday will have nothing to do with “Game of Thrones.” Rather, they will be images of Alphie, the letter-devouring baby dragon in the permanent installation “PlayWorks.” Children will search for eggs bearing Alphie’s picture as part of the annual Easter Scavenger Hunt, which will include filling in the dragon eggs’ colors on a sheet to receive a prize. For more weekend fun, young visitors can make designs on wearable bunny ears and weave baskets with paper and yarn. Every day through April 27, they can also sew embroidered matzo covers for Passover and, on Monday through Wednesday, create and decorate clay cups for the prophet Elijah. (A full schedule is on the website.)
[Read about the events that our other critics have chosen for the week ahead.]
MOMI GOES GREEN! at the Museum of the Moving Image (April 19-28, 11 a.m.-4 p.m.). During New York City’s public-school spring recess, this Queens museum will celebrate all things green: naturally, environmentally and, of course, cinematically. Every day at noon, it will show “Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit,” Nick Park and Steve Box’s Oscar-winning 2005 stop-motion comedy in which the titular team takes on a gigantic bunny that’s after the village’s vegetables. The museum is also inviting children to make their own recycled-material plants and bugs and Wallace-&-Gromit-inspired Claymation creations, as well as to use green-screen techniques to film themselves against a backdrop of their choice. This Saturday it will offer additional programs: screenings of the PBS Kids math-oriented series “Cyberchase” and drop-in science and conservation workshops. (A full schedule is on the website.)
‘OKKO’S INN’ in select movie theaters nationwide (April 22-23, 7 p.m.). Not all ghosts in Japanese cinema are the scary, predatory kind. Those in this animated work by Kitaro Kosaka play with and guide its young heroine, Okko, and if you missed her adventures when they were screened at the New York International Children’s Film Festival, this brief release offers another chance to share them. Presented by GKids and Fathom Events — in an English-dubbed version on Monday, and in Japanese with English subtitles on Tuesday — the movie follows Okko to her grandmother’s country inn, where she goes to live after her parents’ deaths in a car accident. There, the resident spirits help Okko adjust to her new home and a changed reality.
‘SNAP’ at the New Victory Theater (April 19, 2 p.m.; April 20, 2 and 7 p.m.; April 21, noon and 4 p.m.; April 24-25, 2 p.m.; through April 28). Sometimes objects seem to have minds of their own. There’s no mistaking their contrariness in this amusing show from South Korea, which combines polished illusion, Chaplinesque comedy and old-fashioned circus arts into a 70-minute whirl. A scarf zips through the air, zooming in and out of various containers; a paintbrush reappears in a performer’s hand as soon as he puts it away; a closed umbrella stubbornly attaches itself to its owner’s finger. Performed wordlessly, the acts occasionally incorporate magnificent sleight of hand: The Florist (Chang-min Lee) appears to make infinite numbers of glittery cards materialize, multiply and dematerialize, while the Alchemist (Young-min Kim) seems to produce a metal hoop from sand particles and then dissolve it into the same. Other routines clearly depend on lighting effects and technology, but that didn’t faze children at a recent performance. For them, magic was magic, whether produced by fine-tuned dexterity or digital wizardry.
SUSTAINABLE SPRING BREAK at the New York Hall of Science (April 22-26, noon-4 p.m.). No, this museum has not found a miraculous way to extend school vacation. But it and its designers in residence have developed multiple exhibits, activities and demonstrations devoted to environmental sustainability. The daily attractions include “Solar Cat: The Cutest Solar Panel Ever Made,” a feline-shaped interactive device that powers an adjacent energy display; the Pack, a new problem-solving video game in which young visitors help restore the world’s ecological balance; workshops in which they can design reusable food wrap and a waterway-cleaning tool; and urban-planning activities focused on climate change. The week will also feature screenings of the new PBS environmentally themed web series “PLUM Landing” (Monday), visits by the mobile laboratory BioBus (Tuesday to April 26) and a look at Bus Roots (Wednesday), the movement to turn the roofs of buses and vans into traveling gardens. (A full schedule is on the website.)
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