Parents, don't let your children miss out on the fun! Here are some of today's kids and family activities in Brooklyn, from concerts and museums to decorating cupcakes and gardening! Want to see what's going on next weekend or when you have those few days off? Check out the NY Metro Parents' calendar!
Story Play for First Five Years - Brooklyn Public Library, Crown Heights branch
January 09, 2014 - Crown Heights
Preschoolers hear stories, socialize, and play with toys.
After School Homework Help - Brooklyn Public Library, Clarendon branch
January 09, 2014 - Midwood
Kids get homework help from library staff.
Ridge Kids Write - Brooklyn Public Library, Bay Ridge branch
January 09, 2014 - Bay Ridge
Kids meet up at a nurturing and supportive creative writing workshop.
Yoga for Toddlers - Brooklyn Public Library, Leonard branch
January 09, 2014 - Williamsburg
You and your child can participate in a yoga class specifically for children ages 18-36 months.
Gingerbread Lane - NY Hall of Science
January 09, 2014 - Corona
Marvel at a grand village of homemade gingerbread houses that is drafted, designed, baked, planned, built, and decorated by chef Jon Lovitch over the course of an entire year. This season marks the 20th year that Jon Lovitch, chef and creator of GingerBread Lane, has been undertaking the colossal confection. Each annual GBL takes about 1500 hours to make, and is made from only "real," edible ingredients: gingerbread, royal icing, and candy. Weighing more than 1.5 tons, this year's GBL is the largest ever, and will be competing for a Guinness World Record. It sits out in the open, rather than behind glass, giving viewers a delicious whiff of homemade gingerbread. Visit gingerbread-lane.org to learn more.
GingerBread Lane - New York Hall of Science
Through January 12, 2014 - Queens
Jon Lovitch is a chef and the creator of GingerBread Lane, an annual display of homemade and handmade gingerbread houses that he drafts, designs, bakes, plans, builds, and decorates for an entire year. This season will be its 20th.
The concept for Gingerbread Lane changes each year, depending on what Lovitch has seen at gingerbread competitions, in magazines, at holiday displays, sometimes even drawing ideas from houses he spots while driving.
Lovitch purchases the materials after the holiday season, and begins designing and constructing the exhibit by March. All work is completed by late October and reviewed for detail until the exhibit begins. Beginning in November, Lovitch works between 80 and 90 hours for the final three weeks before GingerBread Lane opens for display. Each gingerbread house requires approximately three hours to complete and many of the complicated projects within the village require upwards of 35 hours. Each annual GBL takes about 1500 hours to make.
GBL is made from only "real" edible ingredients: gingerbread, royal icing, and candy. In contrast, other gingerbread competitors use dried pasta, uncooked rice and beans, and edible clay, among other ingredients. This year, GBL uses both gingerbread bricks and candy bricks for the structures.
The 2013 GBL weighs more than 1.5 tons, covers a continuous surface of nearly 300 square feet and is 11 feet high at its highest point. It will be competing for a Guinness World Record for largest gingerbread exhibit, and will be the largest GBL ever.
While the layout and composition change yearly, GBL always includes Eggnog Bay, Gum Drop Row, Peppermint Central Park, Candy Cane Place, and Toffee Boulevard. New this year is Ribbon Candy Ridge and a "behind-the-scenes" window, giving a peek into the makings of GBL with ovens, models, and ingredients...made entirely from royal icing. Five two-foot-high nutcrackers, also made of royal icing, stand guard over the back of the exhibit.
This year's village includes an estimated 1750 lbs. of icing, 400 lbs. of candy, and 500 lbs. of gingerbread dough; and comprises 152 gingerbread houses, 65 trees, four gingerbread cable cars, five gingerbread train cars, an underground candy subway station, candy trees, and sugar signage.
GingerBread Lane always sits out in the open, rather than behind glass, a fact that can really be appreciated when one smells the homemade gingerbread.
All gingerbread structures are given away free on the last day of the exhibit. Since December 2000, GingerBread Lane has also hosted annual workshops for families and after-school programs for children. Each year, Lovitch works with underprivileged and disabled children by shipping GingerBread Lane pieces across the country for those unable to view the display.
gingerbread-lane.org; Twitter: @GingerBreadLane; Facebook: GingerBread Lane, #gingerbreadlane.
Holiday Train Show - New York Botanical Garden
Through January 12, 2014 - Bronx
The Holiday Train Show is back with plenty of holiday fun and new surprises for the whole family! This year features more trains than ever before, and a new holiday dining experience inspired by the historic streets of New York.
Marvel at model trains zipping around New York landmark replicas made of plant parts such as nuts, bark, and leaves. The Artist's Studio provides an insider's look at how the building replicas are constructed and - new this year - features a showcase of unique and historic model trains.
Explore the exhibition in the warmth of the Enid A. Haupt Conservatory, enjoy hands-on holiday fun for the entire family, and get your holiday shopping done too...it's a whole day of fun!
Knit, Purl, Sow - Brooklyn Botanic Garden
Through January 22, 2014 - Crown Heights
Knit, Purl, Sow brings together textile and knitting artists and their finely detailed botanical renderings, expressionistic plants, and landscapes that will inspire a new appreciation for natural forms.
All Aboard with Thomas & Friends - New York Botanical Garden
Through January 26, 2014 - Bronx
Join Thomas and Driver Sam on a new, fun-filled, sing-along, mini performance adventure by helping them decorate the station in time for the big Sodor surprise party before the guest of honor arrives! Parents: bring your camera to have a photo-op with Thomas to capture the special day! In the Ross Hall. Daily, Jan. 1-26. Times vary by date; see website.
Touch Tank - Brooklyn Children's Museum
Through January 31, 2014 - Crown Heights
Touch a star fish, a horseshoe crab, or a sea snail. Explore sea creatures up close and learn about ocean diversity.
Try It Tuesdays - Brooklyn Children's Museum
Through January 31, 2014 - Crown Heights
Children explore, learn, and discover as they try out science, art, and language in fun and exciting ways. Please note that the Brooklyn Children's Museum is closed from September 2 through September 13.
Wonderment Wednesdays - Brooklyn Children's Museum
Through January 31, 2014 - Crown Heights
Kids explore and uncover amazing wonders from the Museum's collection. Unravel the mysterious secrets of objects from across the ocean and right in our own backyards.
Meet the Museum - Brooklyn Museum
Through February 13, 2014 - Prospect Heights/Park Slope
Registration for the winter session of Meet the Museum opens on December 13 and meets on Thursdays from January 9 through February 13. A program for the Museum’s youngest visitors and those who care for them, Meet the Museum provides toddlers with opportunities to experiment with and explore art and culture through song, gallery activities, and art making. Adult companions work closely with their children and discover creative and fun ways to interact. Early registration is encouraged; classes fill up quickly.
Saturday Story Time - Greenlight Bookstore
Through February 28, 2014 - Brooklyn
Saturday Story Time is geared toward kids ages 3 to 8 and their families. Authors and illustrators of picture books often visit us on Saturdays to present their new books, and neighborhood performers sometimes read as well.
Breastfeeding Support Clinic - Tribeca Parenting
Through March 31, 2014 - Park Slope
These clinics are helpful for moms who need a little reassurance or encouragement with breastfeeding. While many simple issues can be resolved in these helpful group sessions, please be aware that certain more complex breastfeeding issues may require more individualized attention which can be provided in a home visit.
Ice Skating - Prospect Park LeFrak Center at Lakeside
Through April 01, 2014 - Flatbush
Prospect Park has been missing its ice skating facility for the past four seasons, but skating has returned with the opening of Lakeside. This state-of-the-art skating center features two rinks (one that can be used for rollerskating in warmer months, and a full-fledges recreational facility.
Flight of the Butterflies in 3D - NY Hall of Science
Through April 11, 2014 - Corona
Join millions of real butterflies on an amazing journey to a remote and secret hideaway. Weighing less than a penny, the monarch butterfly makes one of the longest migrations on Earth. Follow the monarchs' perilous journey to the remote mountain peaks of Mexico in this 3D film. For the first time ever, witness the transformation from caterpillar to butterfly, inside a chrysalis, thanks to advanced MRI and micro CT scans.
The award-winning production team, including Oscar-winner Peter Parks, followed the year-long migration cycle of the monarch butterflies, from Canada, through the United States to remote 10,000-foot-high peaks in the Sierra Madre Mountains of Mexico.
The film has won numerous awards including the 2013 Grand Teton Award in the category of Best Immersive 3D/Large Format at the Jackson Hole Wildlife Film Festival and awards at the 2013 Giant Screen Industry Awards, including Best Film, Best Cinematography, Best Film for Lifelong Learning, and Best Educational Program.
Cinderella - Puppetworks
Through April 13, 2014 - Park Slope
Puppetworks does a marionette interpretation of the Godmother of all fairy tales.
The Emancipation Proclamation - Brooklyn Historical Society
Through April 30, 2014 - Brooklyn Heights
View Brooklyn Historical Society's rare copy of the Emancipation Proclamation, signed by Abraham Lincoln in 1863, and examine its dramatic and polemic impact on Americans at the height of the Civil War. The exhibit suggests ways that the document's social and political meaning has evolved in the 150 years since it was signed, and invites visitors to reflect on its legacy in the twenty-first century.
Landmarks of New York - Brooklyn Historical Society
Through April 30, 2014 - Brooklyn Heights
Since 1965, when the New York City Landmarks law was instituted, more than 30,000 structures and environments have been protected from destruction through landmark designation. Explore the history of New York through the lens of its landmark buildings in this exhibit of photographs, The show documents architectural structures of all types that reflect the city's history, from the seventeenth through the twentieth centuries.
Animal Encounters - Prospect Park Audubon Center
Through April 30, 2014 - Flatbush
Learn about the animals at the Audubon Center with a park ranger.
Brooklyn Navy Yard Overview Tour: The Past, The Present, and The Future - Brooklyn Navy Yard Center at Building 92
Through May 31, 2014 - Vinegar Hill
It's hard not to notice the hulking structures of the Brooklyn Navy Yard. Here's an opportunity to tour the Yard and learn about intriguing sites of the 150-year shipbuilding facility, including a Civil-War era dry dock, the 24-acre former Navy hospital campus, and more.
Breastfeeding Support Group - New York Methodist Hospital
Through June 30, 2014 -
Discuss questions and concerns regarding breastfeeding and find support and encouragement with this group, which meets regularly.
Donald and Barbara Zucker Natural Exploration Area - Prospect Park/Grand Army Plaza
Through July 01, 2014 - Park Slope
Enter the park at the Grand Army Plaza entrance and walk along Park Drive toward the carousel and you'll find the Donald and Barbara Zucker Natural Exploration Area. Constructed from trees and other materials damaged by recent storms, the Area serves to surround children with natural elements as they play, exercising their minds and muscles.
Little Hands Creative Play Workshop for Toddlers - Barking Cat Studio
Through August 01, 2014 - Windsor Terrace
This creative play workshop focuses on educational, theme-related, simple art projects that little hands can easily create and enjoy. Register for a series of classes or drop in. (Drop-ins are welcome provided there is space. Call in advance.)
Open Play and Private Play - Extreme Kids and Crew/AMP Space
Through December 31, 2014 - Red Hook
Extreme Kids and Crew offer a safe sensory playspace where parents/caregivers and children with special needs (particularly those with sensory and Autism-related conditions can gather to play, teach, learn, sing, sprawl, and be comfortable
Children can experiment with different swings, snuggle up on beanbags and foofs, climb the cargo net, make art at the art table, meet new friends, and hideaway in a tent.