If you're looking for fun and low-cost things to do with your kids in Brooklyn this April, check our roundup for family shows and concerts, Earth Day events, and more in Crown Heights, Fort Greene, Manhattan Beach, Midwood, Park Slope, and Prospect Heights.
Celebrate Earth Day
Brooklyn, Bronx, Manhattan, Queens
Check out our roundup of 20 fun and low-cost Earth Day events for families in NYC, including 7 events in Brooklyn.
The Itty Biddies in Concert
Brooklyn Public Library, central branch, Prospect Heights
The Biddies were once—actually they still are—known as The Lascivious Biddies, playing lounge-friendly adult pop that combined great musicianship with funny, innuendo infected lyrics. Years later, as if confronting the possibilities of being lascivious, the Biddies have extended their personas as The Itty Biddies. For a good few years now, they’ve been successfully entertaining children and their grown ups with ukuleles, charm, humor, and a global perspective. Then there’s the music. Their suitcase of songs is lighthearted and infused with tight vocals and hook-laden catchiness. Songs bounce and groove and make ya wanna dance! Actually, their great singing and harmonizing is incredibly catchy. Whew! I wasn’t expecting this. It has effectively replaced Randy Kaplan on the car CD player, and we all know he’s great. I, your calendar editor, really dig the Itty Biddies, so if you see a balding middle-age man with his tiny 4-year-old daughter creating a (safe) mosh pit for miniatures, that’s me…and Charlotte.
Fiddler on the Roof
Brooklyn Center for the Performing Arts, Midwood
Fiddler on the Roof is the kind of theater that children should see. It’s a great musical to be sure, with wonderful characters and songs, but as taken from the lessons of history it offers an opportunity for children to learn about an often-overlooked instance of oppression and discrimination. We can learn a lot from the past, of course, and Fiddler on the Roof brings the audience to 1905 Russia, with laughter and tears. Tevye and his family (wife Golde and five daughters) are honest, hardworking, and poor. Maintaining tradition in the midst of changing cultural and religious provides Tevye with a host of daily dilemmas. Ultimately, it took one lousy Tsar to uproot Tevye’s life because he was Jewish. Lots of things to think about, indeed. Recommended for ages 11 and older.
The Technodrone Show
Brooklyn Public Library, central branch, Prospect Heights
Social media, Xbox, iPhones…Times have certainly changed over the generations, and Williamsburg puppeteers Puppetsburg respond with The Technodrone Show. In this funny musical, Clementine barely seems to lift her head away from her gadgets. She plays Angry Birds for hours on end and scours eBay for deals on toys she’ll never play with because she’s too hooked on all things electronic. Using its wonderful puppets and plenty of audience interaction, everybody tries to coax Clementine off the grid and back to the light of non-virtual reality. Will it have any impact on our own “lost” children? Will they come to the realization that video games and digital media need, like everything else, to be taken in moderation? We’ll see! FREE!
The Gruffalo on Stage
Kingsborough Performing Arts Center, Manhattan Beach
London’s Tall Stories Theatre Company is renowned for its unique ability to bring theater to life using the kind of dynamic shifts—it’s theater to the extreme and that kind of “Physical Theater” (as termed by Tall Stories) really works for a story like Julia Donaldson’s The Gruffalo. The story addresses something kids know full well: nightmares, monsters, things that go bump in the night, and trying to make friends (imagined or otherwise) with the scary thing that is actually just a reflection of the hallway light in the bedroom window. Imaginary friends are part of childhood, and The Gruffalo follows a mouse as it scares off its predators with a tall tale of an imagined monster, until it comes face-to-face with the beast. Does mouse overcome its fear? This production offers a great story with some true-to-the-word fantastic theater.
Brooklyn Academy of Music, Fort Greene
For nearly 20 years, there’s been a wave of musicians creating tunes for babies, toddlers, and kids. Some of it’s folksy, some mines the trans-global sound paradise, while others sound like British Invasion and garage rock bands, with lyrics about staring a bully in the face. Head to KindieFest for a day of groovin’ to live jams of six of the best family music bands in the business. If you’re interested in learning how to manage an artist, how to record an album, or any other aspect of being part of the family entertainment business, check out the two-day family music conference happening April 26-27, before KindieFest’s concert for the general public.
Cherry Blossom Festival
Brooklyn Botanic Garden, Crown Heights
The Brooklyn Botanic Garden truly blossoms to life with the onset of spring, and one of garden’s first warm weather event is the Sakura Matsuri, otherwise known as the Cherry Blossom Festival. It marks the end of Hanami, the Japanese tradition of reveling in all things cherry blossoms. If that means actually rolling around on the mat of cherry blossom petals, then so be it. Learn about the culture of the “land of the rising sun,” basking in nature’s glory. Like at previous Sakura Matsuri events, there will be plenty of Manga artists, sword fighting, Taiko drumming (those enormous drums that are 6-feet wide), Japanese pop music and traditional fare, and more. Will there be some ninjas hiding behind trees or Sumo wrestlers falling on Bonsai trees? Stop by to find out.
Catch a minor league baseball game with the family
Search for more fun and low-cost family activities in the NYC area in our full calendar of events