Want fun and low-cost things to do in Queens with your kids this month? We've got you covered! Get details on family-friendly theater and shows, museum programs and exhibits, and MLK Day events happening in January.
Find even more upcoming family activities in Queens and the NYC area in our full (searchable!) calendar of events.
Broadway and film actress Fleur Phillips is back with another opportunity for budding actors, screenwriters, and directors. Phillips is adding Writing and Performing Original Works classes to her existing curriculum of Improv and Creative Dramatics. The new 10-week series seeks to engage those who want to write and perform their own masterpieces. The session begins January 19, with each hour-long class taking place Thursdays at 4pm at the Astoria Art Center. For more information, go to www.fleurphillips.com and click on Kids' Classes.
Enjoy some toe-tappin', knee-slappin' fun with the Paper Bag Players in Let Your Imagination Soar! Funny stories, thrilling paper bag sets and costumes, freewheeling dances, lots of audience participation, and new songs you'll be singing long after you've left the theater are all a part of this brand new show. The Paper Bag players are going on a rollicking journey - and taking you and your kids, grades pre-k through 3rd, along for the ride. From a musical story about the first day of school to the tale of a magical contraption that does all your chores for you, this show will tickle your funny bone, stretch your child's imagination, and make you smile from ear to ear. January 23-27 at 10:30am. $8.
Queensborough Community College, 222-05 56th Avenue, Bayside. 718-869-9696. www.thepaperbagplayers.org.
Martin Luther King, Jr. Day Highlights
Kids rejoice at having a four-day school week thanks to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., but help remind them what the holiday is all about by taking them to one of the many memorial events around the city. The lessons learned at these events are sure to stick with them as much as, if not more than, listening to Dr. King's "I Have a Dream" speech in the classroom.
If your kids are kinesthetic learners, making an art project might help them understand the legacy of MLK. On the weekend leading up to the holiday, Wave Hill hosts a family art project called Freedom Pillows. Crafty family members each create their own pillow inspired by Dr. King and traditional African-American quilts. Kids will be reminded of King's dream as they drift off each night. January 14-15. 10am-1pm. All ages. Admission to the grounds is free until 12pm. After 12pm: $8; $4 students and seniors; $2 children 6 and older.
Wave Hill, 675 West 252nd Street, Bronx. 718-549-3200. www.wavehill.org.
Children who love a good story will enjoy the Martin Luther King, Jr. Day celebration at the library. In this event, kids learn of King's contributions through stories, and books will be available so kids can discover facts about one of the important men behind the Civil Rights Movement. January 16. 4:30pm. All ages. FREE.
Queens Library: Baisley Park Branch, 117-11 Sutphin Boulevard, Jamaica. 718-529-1590. www.queenslibrary.org.
One week after the holiday has passed, kids can learn even more about King and other important players in the Civil Rights movement. In A Tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., His Times and His Legacy, Linda Humes of YAFFA Productions will present a dramatic tribute to Dr. King. Her presentation also features the impact of women in the movement, highlighting the likes of Rosa Parks and Frannie Lou Hammer. January 23. 7pm. All ages. FREE.
Queens Library: East Elmhurst Branch, 95-06 Astoria Boulevard, East Elmhurst. 718-424-2619. www.queenslibrary.org.
Cultivate an Eye for Art
For families that have children with special needs, planning a weekend event that's fun for everyone can be challenging. In the Museum Explorers Club at the Queens Museum of Art, all activities are carefully designed to engage children with autism. Each participant will learn how to explore the museum's many exhibitions as well as create art inspired by the artwork they have viewed. Each Museum Explorers group includes up to six families, and each family is encouraged to bring along siblings, parents, and grandparents. January 21. 11am-12pm. All ages. FREE. To register, contact Jenn at 718-592-9700 ext. 130 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Queens Museum of Art, Flushing Meadows Corona Park, Corona. 718-592-9700. www.queensmuseum.org.
It Takes a Village (or Barnyard)...
Bring your young ones to see the storybook favorite Are You My Mother? brought to life on stage. At long last, Baby Bird emerges from her shell and expects to be greeted by her mother's song...but her mother is not there. Where is she? Why isn't she home? With the help of Dog, Cat, and Hen, Baby Bird sets out in search of Mother Bird in this colorful musical adventure based on P.D. Eastman's whimsical and well-loved picture book. January 22. 1pm and 3pm. $14.
Queens Theatre, 14 United Nations Avenue South, Flushing Meadows Corona Park, Corona. 718-760-0064. www.queenstheatre.org.
The Museum of the Moving Image has decided to extend Jim Henson's Fantastic World, the exhibit honoring the Muppets creator, through March 4. If you haven't yet experienced the magic of this exhibit, don't miss out! Head to the museum to see more than 120 artifacts, including drawings, storyboards, and props, and video material that illustrate Henson's boundless creativity and innumerable accomplishments. Among other highlights are 14 original puppets of such characters as Kermit the Frog, Rowlf, Bert, and Ernie; photographs of Henson and his collaborators at work; and excerpts from Henson's early projects and experimental films. Museum admission: $12; $9 seniors and college students; $6 children; free for kids younger than 3.
Museum of the Moving Image, 36-01 35 Avenue, Astoria. 718-777-6888. www.movingimage.us.