Best Holiday Shows for Kids

They’ve been called banal, hackneyed, and schmaltzy. But we can’t help it. We love holiday shows. Check out RedRover’s picks in NYC, Atlanta, Boston, the Hamptons, and San Francisco, enjoy the most wonderful time of the year.

New York

NYC Guggenheim Peter and the WolfHow’s this for a holiday recipe: one part Isaac Mizrahi and one part the iconic Guggenheim Museum mixed with a classic tale told through instruments. What do you get? Peter & the Wolf with Isaac Mizrahi (Dec. 13 & 14). Fashion designer Mizrahi narrates and puts his spin on Sergei Prokofiev’s charming story in the Guggenheim’s auditorium.

In their Hanukkah show “Latkes & Applesauce” at Merkin Hall, The Poppy Seed Players play rousing klezmer music and perform a Hanukkah version of A Christmas Carol and the story of Thomas, the Shammus (Dec. 14). Meanwhile, over in the West Village, Dan Zanes brings his Fourth Annual Holiday Sing-Along show to City Winery for kids and anyone who likes to have a rollicking fun time (Dec. 14). Or how about some Menorah Madness with Joanie Leeds and the Nightlights at the Museum of Jewish Heritage (Dec. 14)? Enjoy super fun songs and make some holiday-themed crafts as well.

Throughout the rest of December, catch one of these perennial holiday productions: the breath-taking The Nutcracker at BAM (Dec. 13-21), the always excellent Three Bears Holiday Bash at the Swedish Cottage Marionette Theatre (Dec. 13-30), and the silly Fancy Nancy Splendiferous Christmas at Vital Theatre Company (Dec. 13-Jan. 4).



Make This the Best Holiday Season Ever

‘Tis the season when the calendar is jammed full of super fun holiday festivities like visiting Christmas tree and menorah lightings, designing ornaments and gingerbread houses, and seeing The Nutcracker or a holiday train show. The problem?  How do you navigate and sift through all these events? It’s simple: Just use the RedRover app and make this the best holiday season ever.

How to Use RedRover App to Find Holiday Events

photo 1If you don’t already have the RedRover app, first download it for your iPhone/iPad or Android. After you sign in and select your city, open the menu on the left side and select “Events.” You’ll see a number of categories, such as “All,” “Drop-in Classes,” and “Exhibits.” Tap the “Holiday” category. Immediately, you’ll see a curated listing of the best holiday events going on around the city. Tap an event like Gingerbread Lane at New York Hall of Science, and unleash the fun. You can also use the filter option to select activities based on age and distance from home.

There’s a ton of cool seasonal stuff do, but here’s just a sampling of some of RedRover’s favorite upcoming holiday events:



Best Bets for Thanksgiving Weekend

Congratulations! You conquered Thanksgiving. Everyone’s belly is full, and the kids have chased each other around the house a million times. Now your big job is fill up the rest of the weekend. RedRover to the rescue! Check out our best bets for Thanksgiving weekend.

New York City

NYC MMI studioThroughout the weekend, the Museum of the Moving Image invites families to Holiday Tunes (Nov. 29-30). Using its exhibit “What’s Up Doc? The Animation Art of Chuck Jones” as a jumping-off point, families create animated videos inspired by a piece of classical music. If you’re not quite ready to say goodbye to the fall, stop by Wave Hill for its Family Art Project: Harvest Time Hangings (Nov. 29-30). Kids will gather and weave together leaves, cones, and pods to make a decorative wall hanging. For all you crafty families, many museums are hosting arts workshops on Nov. 30 like the Jewish Museum’s Drop-in Art Workshop, the Guggenheim’s Open Studio for Families, and the New York Hall of Science’s Little Makers. Wrap up the weekend with some games and music with Very Young People’s Concert at Lincoln Center (Nov. 30). Together your family will discover how music can be fun for everyone.



16 Fun Ways to Get Ready for Thanksgiving

Even though Thanksgiving comes late this year, we still can’t believe that it’s less than a week away. Have no fear! We found a ton of fun things for you and the kids to do that will get you in the mood to baste the bird and puree the potatoes. Here are RedRover’s 16 fun ways to get ready for Thanksgiving.

New York

NYC Museum at Eldridge Turkey 01Even before the weekend hits, your kids can make some super cute Thanksgiving decorations at a number of Queens libraries, such as a cornucopia door sign  to welcome your guests (Nov. 21) or a totem pole craft to honor Native Americans for their contribution to Thanksgiving (Nov. 21). After you decorate your home, head over to the Strand Bookstore to see Curious George before he makes his appearance at the Macy’s Day Parade (Nov. 22 & 23).  The mischievous monkey will share some Thanksgiving stories with the kiddos. If your children love mysteries and searching for clues, stop by the Museum at Eldridge Street for its Great Turkey Scavenger Hunt (Nov. 23). Kids will follow a trail of old clues and discover Eldridge’s own special Thanksgiving tale and turkey. The DiMenna Children’s History Museum is going all-out this weekend to gear up for the big day. At the Kids’ Table with Sarah Lohman (Nov. 22), kids can learn about colonial times’ Thanksgiving food and then make their own mini-apple pie. For younger kids, visit the museum for a cozy Thanksgiving storytime (Nov. 23). Kids will hear Balloons Over Broadway, a true story about a parade puppeteer. If you have a family museum membership at DiMenna, your kids are in for a treat! Family members will receive priority access to view the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade balloon inflation (Nov. 26) and can warm up with hot chocolate, treats, and activities at the museum.



Top Museum Exhibits for Kids This Holiday Season

As the days get shorter and colder, indoor fun becomes all the more important — especially during the upcoming holiday breaks. Thankfully, a ton of museums are hosting fun and hip exhibits that both parent and kids will love. From the Keith Haring show in San Francisco to the Maurice Sendak exhibit in Atlanta and the “Sesame Street” celebration in New York City, here are RedRover’s top museum exhibit picks for kids this holiday season.

New York

RR MoMA MatisseThe Museum of Modern Art wraps up the year with a major bang with Henri Matisse: The Cut-Outs. With only scissors and colored paper, Matisse abolished the boundary that separates line and color. Although he’s an old master, young kids love and relate to his colorful paper cut-outs and collages. At Lincoln Center, check out some other old masters – of the puppet persuasion – at Somebody Come and Play: 45 Years of Sesame Street. Kids can get up close to Elmo, Oscar, and Grover, watch show highlights, and even curl up for story time at this exhibit celebrating everyone’s favorite children program. In this age of keyboards and Swype, Drawn to Language at Children’s Museum of the Arts is a welcomed reminder that hand-printed letters and words are an artform. The exhibit brings together paintings, drawings, and collages that all use handwritten words as jumping-off point for art.



Best Kids’ Concerts in November

November is packed with a ton of fun live shows targeted toward families. Before the holiday insanity rears its head, make a date with your kids for some jamming fun. From kiddie fave Laurie Berkner in Boston to the Young People’s Concert at Lincoln Center in New York, here’s RedRover’s roundup of the best kids’ concerts in November.

New York

Jewish museum Yellow sneakerMost kids (and adults) nod off at the mere mention of the word “opera,” but The New Victory Theater’s reimagining of Mozart’s The Magic Flute (Nov. 7-9) will make them sit up and take notice. Transplanted to Capetown, the opera is sung in English and backed with kid-friendly instruments like drums and marimbas. At the hallowed Carnegie Hall, kids can get folky at the Elizabeth Mitchell and You Are My Flower show (Nov. 8). With these sweet sounds, peace and love will reign over you and the kids, and, as part of the Carnegie Kids program, the concert is free! If you want to expose your kids to serious music but in a super fun way, check out the Little Orchestra Society’s Tubby the Tuba concert (Nov. 15-16). Your little maestros will hear and see a live orchestra that accompanies a cute flick about Tubby the Tuba’s travails. For older kids who want to learn more about an orchestra, stop by Lincoln Center for Super Sonic Music Box: Melody Transformed (Nov. 15) where the New York Philharmonic will break it down for them. What could be better than a show that includes a banjo-playing band with puppets? Yellow Sneaker will do all that and more at the Jewish Museum as part of its free New Families, New Traditions program.



Best Picks for Halloween Parties for Kids

Halloween doesn’t have to mean trudging across dark lawns or roaming apartment hallways. In fact, sometimes the best Halloween for the wee ones is attending a Halloween party at a museum or other cultural institution. These kid-centric monster bashes offer your little goblins nonstop fun and plenty of candy — all within a safe and warm environment. Here are RedRover’s best picks for Halloween parties at top kid spots in New York, the Hamptons, Atlanta, Boston, and San Francisco. (oh, and you’ll have a blast too!)

New York

AMNH HalloweenGo trick-or-treating with the dinosaurs at New York’s American Museum of Natural History’s 19th Annual Halloween Celebration. Kids can get decked out in their frighteningly finest and chomp on candy as they watch Dr. Finklestein’s Zombie Show. If your kids prefer live animals to taxidermied ones, head over to Boo at the Zoo at the Bronx Zoo. Besides its over-the-top jack-o’-lantern display, Boo at the Zoo boasts a hay maze, a costume parade, and plenty of animals of Halloween lore.

Halloween goes historical at NY Haunted Society…Enter at Your Risk held at DiMenna Children’s History Museum. Kids can get their fortunes told, create Victorian mourning jewelry, and watch out for zombie Founding Fathers. For a tasty history lesson, check out the Halloween: A New York Treat event at Museum of the City of New York. Kids will go on a trick-or-treat scavenger hunt to discover sweets that were invented in NYC.

For your littlest costumed cuties, join the midday Halloween Costume & Music Parade where kids can march and show off their eerie outfits at Children’s Museum of Manhattan. As well, many NYC libraries are offering daytime parties for the under 5 set.

Keep the party going on Nov. 1 at Children’s Museum of the Arts Halloween Parade. After designing monster masks, kids and families in costumes will trick or treat throughout the different studios of the museum. At New York Hall of Science, get rid of rotting pumpkins at its Dead or Alive event where you can watch jack-o’-lanterns catapult through the air.



The Easiest Way to Make Halloween Decorations

skeletonfest-550x550What’s the easiest way to make Halloween decorations? Enlist your kids and one of RedRover’s amazing partners to do the honors. This weekend – just seven days away from All Hallows’ Eve – museums and cultural institutions in New York, the Hamptons, Boston, and San Francisco are hosting arty workshops where your little goblins can craft creepy cool decorations to spice up your home.

Thanks to NYC Parks’ Seasonal Crafts workshop, little New Yorkers on Friday can create a spooky silhouette wall or window decoration for your own “haunted house” using colored chalk on black paper. Held at Greenbelt Nature Center on Staten Island, kids can get inspired by the twisting tree canopies and rustling leaves to depict a ghostly Halloween scene.

Out on the Hamptons at the Suffolk Library, kids can decorate and paint a pumpkin – no knives or carving here – at the Pumpkin Painting workshop on Friday. On Saturday, families can visit Long Island Children’s Museum for its Ghostly Gala, which also includes creepy crafts.

The Boston Children’s Museum has gone monster-crazy this month, celebrating lovable ogres and cuddly beasts with its “Monster Party” gallery exhibit. At its Art Studio this weekend, kids can get creative and design their own version of Frankenstein. If you want to get even more into the Halloween spirit, stop by Mass Audubon’s Mystery Festival Free-For-All. After the kids check out live creepy crawlers, they can whip up an orange-and-black decoration at the crafts station.

In San Francisco, kids can go batty on Friday at the Halloween Beaded Bat session at SF Chinatown Library. Kids age 8 and older can unleash their inner Batman or Batgirl and design their own personalized creature of the night. On Saturday, get revved up for Day of the Dead, and head over to Richmond Art Center to create a mask and decorate a sugar skull at Skeletonfest. Your kids will be the coolest ghouls in school!


Paws & Awws: Check Out These Halloween Pet Parades This Weekend

Brooklyn Pet ParadeYes, we know: your kids are insanely cute in their adorable Halloween costumes. But we think that there’s a pretty close runner-up: your pet. From coast to coast this weekend, New York City, Atlanta, Boston, and San Francisco are all holding Halloween pet parades. So get a head start on Halloween and preen your pup, dress your dog, and join these super fun parades.

With hundreds of dogs in costumes and thousands of spectators, New York City’s Tompkins Square Halloween Dog Parade on Saturday is “barking mad” and top dog when it comes to fun and creativity. Over in Brooklyn, dog lovers will gather for the Great PUPkin Festival, one of the largest dog costume contests in the borough. The massive event also offers hayrides, face-painting, and free pumpkins. In Queens, the Annual Canine Costume Contest is only one aspect of Socrates Sculpture Park’s annual Halloween Harvest Festival. Dance troupe Streb Extreme Action Kid Company, mask-making, and lots of tasty treats are only a few parts of this day-long program.

In Atlanta on Sunday, animal lovers can come together not only to go coo-coo about canines but do so for a good cause. The Halloween Doggy Parade and Costume Contest will benefit Animal Rescue Project. There is a $20 fee to enter the contest and a recommended donation to participate in the parade.

Head down to Faneuil Hall in Boston on Saturday if you and your kids love all things four-legged and cute. At the Halloween Pet Parade, every mutt is a winner. After the pet parade, awards will be given to pups in a slew of categories.

And at San Francisco’s Harvest Festival on Saturday, the Costume Pup Parade is just one facet of this fun-filled Saturday. Besides parading pooches, families can enjoy face painting, pony rides, and kids’ music.

Photo: Fort Greene Pups via Flickr


Museums Elevate Handwriting to an Art Form

Children's Museum of the ArtsYour kids’ first scribbles are the baby steps toward handwriting and communicating. And while some schools have dropped penmanship from the curriculum in favor of the keyboard, a number of children’s exhibits have taken up the cause and elevate handwriting to an art form. These fun shows and workshops in New York City, the Hamptons, Boston, and Atlanta will inspire you and your kids to pick up the pen or crayon and keep bold printing and curlicue letters alive for at least a little bit longer.

In New York City, this is the last weekend to catch “Mel Bochner: Strong Language” at the Jewish Museum. The colors are bold and exciting, and kids can relate to the works’ finger-painting quality. Best of all, the artist’s love of language is contagious. At the Children’s Museum of the Arts, “Drawn to Language” brings together top artists’ works that spotlight words and letters. Kids will love the show’s Explosive Drawing, a huge notebook page filled with colorful comic lettering. And at New York Hall of Science, your kids can design their own notebook and customize it with fun accessories at Make It: Inventor’s Notebooks.

At the Parrish Museum in the Hamptons, the worlds of art and language collide and form a happy coexistence at the Poets and Painters exhibit. Fragments of or whole poems are written directly onto collages and paintings, the words adding to the image’s power and vice versa.

Even the youngest kids in Atlanta can learn to express themselves through the act of writing (or most likely scrawling) at Let Your Creativity Flow. This workshop at the Children’s Museum of Atlanta invites kids to don a smock and write, draw, and paint on the walls.

In Boston, future authors can get in on the act as well at the Boston Children’s Museum. During the fun Messy Sensory Activity: Scribbling, kids build up those little hand muscles by gripping hard on to markers. Not only will the little ones develop fine motor skills, they’ll keep handwriting alive as well.