Our list of fun and low-cost things to do with kids in Manhattan this April includes Earth Day activities, family shows and concerts, and family events at the Tribeca Film Festival. Find fun events from Union Square to Midtown, Lincoln Center, the Upper East Side, and the Upper West Side.
Meet the Artist: Vlada Tomova
David Rubenstein Atrium, Lincoln Center
For the musical child with a green thumb, Bulgarian-born singer/songwriter Vlada Tomova is like a fairy godmother in her Green Songs from Vlada’s Garden performance at Meet the Artist Saturday. Tomova performs both ancient and new songs from the villages of her native Bulgaria and other lands, near and far, while also singing about her community garden in her new home of Brooklyn. The songstress loves growing sweet tomatoes, raspberries, basils, and colorful beans, and she has a knack for bringing cut Valentine roses back into bloom. Tiny audience members will learn to plant peppers, spot the first leaves of spinach poking through the soil, and grow a strawberry at your bedside through stories, pictures, and song. FREE!
The Story Pirates
Symphony Space, Upper West Side
Pseudonymous Bosch, author of The New York Times bestselling and wonderfully mysterious The Secret series, has enlisted the help of the Story Pirates to bring his newest book, Write This Book: A Do It Yourself Mystery, to life. The Story Pirates Present: Pseudonymous Bosch’s Write This Book is an exclusive New York City event that will feature the wacky and original performance troupe as they use the fun activities and choose-your-own-adventure inspired scenarios in Bosch’s new guidebook/novel to bring kids’ writing to life on stage. The audience will assist in creating a one-of-a-kind show based on their own ideas, and the Pirates will run with those ideas, creating an improv show that delights youngsters and impresses their grownups.
Celebrate Earth Day
Manhattan, Brooklyn, Bronx, Queens
We should really appreciate the Earth and the environment every day of the year, but Earth Day—observed April 22—is a specific time set aside to inspire awareness and appreciation for our natural environment. Not sure how to inspire your little ones to be future tree huggers? Check out our roundup of 20 fun and low-cost Earth Day events for kids and families in NYC, including 6 in Manhattan.
Making Books Sing Presents Wanda's Monster
Theater 3, Times Square
April 19–May 12
Making Books Sing, an organization that presents professional theater productions and sponsors arts-in-education programs to promote and support children’s literacy and social development, will stage its latest production this month: Wanda’s Monster, The Musical, based on the children’s book by Eileen Spinelli. The tale follows Wanda, a spunky 5-year-old who’s convinced there’s a monster in her closet. But after her grandmother suggests that the monster is in the closet because he’s shy and friendless, Wanda soon decides to befriend him. Featuring music and lyrics by award-winning children’s recording artist Laurie Berkner, this musical is an adorable tale of acceptance and friendship.
W83 Ministry Center, Upper West Side
BilingualFest 2013 is a landmark music and dance showcase of Chinese and Hispanic culture taking place during New York City’s Immigrant Heritage Week. Presented by A Little Mandarin and Bilingual Buds School, this concert and cultural celebration will include a Chinese lion dance, a performance of the Monkey King tale, and a salsa presentation by Cynthia La China and Hector el Guajiro from NYSalsababy. You can also catch Toni Wang of Little Mandarin and Bernardo Palombo of Sesame Street Spanish programming in a musical collaboration in which they blend Chinese and Spanish languages.
Shen Yun Performing Arts
David Koch Theater, Lincoln Center
April 20-21 and 24-28
Fierce generals, heavenly maidens, comedic monks, and even a few flying pigs take the stage in a performance by Shen Yun Performing Arts. The troupe takes audiences on an extraordinary journey spanning from the origins of Chinese civilization through the height of the Tang and Song dynasties all the way to modern day, including 5,000 years of legends, myths, and literary classics that are brought to life in vivid detail.
Tribeca Film Festival: Family Events
Seasoned movie buffs get excited when the Tribeca Film Festival rolls around, but did you know the festival offers a ton of fun for the smallest of cinema appreciators, too?
April 21: A collection of shorts by elementary and middle school student filmmakers from downtown schools will be screened beginning at 12pm at the 10th annual Downtown Youth Behind the Camera at the SVA Theater in Gramercy. FREE!
April 27: The Tribeca Family Festival Street Fair (Greenwich Street between Hubert and Chambers streets) is a free, all-day event where families can create their own “movie pitch” in front of a green screen and enjoy free film screenings, live Broadway performances, arts and crafts, storytelling, local food vendors, and more. FREE!
At Tribeca/ESPN Sports Day (North Moore Street between Greenwich and West streets), fans of all ages can participate in sports, games, and challenges and meet their favorite New York athletes and mascots. Families can also be part of an ESPN “On Location” broadcasting experience and get tickets to sports-related films from the Tribeca/ESPN Sports Film Festival. FREE!
April 18-20: Enjoy free Drive-In Outdoor Screenings at the World Financial Center Plaza in Lower Manhattan. Doors open at 6pm and films start at 8:15pm. There will be kid-friendly activities such as movie trivia and face-painting before the screenings. See The Birds on April 18 (1963; 119 minutes; rated PG), Beetlejuice on April 19 (1988; 92 minutes; rated PG), and Lil Bub & Friendz on April 20 (2013; 65 minutes; no rating, but contains some explicit language).
Catch a minor league baseball game in the NYC area
Search for more fun and low-cost family activities in our full calendar of events