Our guide to cultural events in New York City for families with children and teenagers.
BUG DAY at the New York Hall of Science (June 24, noon to 4 p.m.). Summer inevitably brings insects. So if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em. Or eat ’em. You can do both at this annual celebration in Queens, where children will be welcome to observe and hold the museum’s Madagascar hissing cockroaches, as well as other species from the New York Entomological Society. They can also investigate beekeeping and taste honey, and the more adventurous can check out the flavors of edible bugs. Other activities include building wooden insects, exploring beeswax and taking part in a carnivorous-plant workshop.
FUTURE SATURDAY: FUTURE MEDIA MAKERS at the Brooklyn Navy Yard Center at Bldg 92 (June 24, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.). Children often see what happens in front of a movie or television camera, but what about the ingenuity behind it? This series of free programs will help introduce them to the production business. The youngest participants can build characters — literally — with the organization Construction Kids, which will hold craft workshops to create Pokémon (for ages 4 to 7) and “Star Wars” figures (for ages 8 to 10). Other highlights include touring the Hispanic Information and Telecommunications Network’s television studio, learning about the job of a film production assistant, hearing a media panel discuss careers and taking part in a workshop to make a movie with a smartphone. Registration is required.
‘MY NEIGHBOR TOTORO’ (June 25-26). Soon an endearing furry creature, indigenous to Japan but rarely seen here, will briefly invade American shores: the totoro. Visible only to children, this catlike woodland spirit springs from the imagination of the great Japanese animator and auteur Hayao Miyazaki. In this 1988 Studio Ghibli film, totoros — from dustball size to as large as a bus — provide joy and solace to Satsuki and her younger sister, Mei, who have accompanied their father to a rural area far from home while their hospitalized mother recovers from a mysterious illness. Although the girls’ odyssey ends happily, the film never denies the omnipresent specter of mortality or the power of children’s fears. GKids and Fathom Events will present the movie, accompanied by international shorts, in select theaters on Sunday at 12:55 p.m. (in English) and on Monday at 7 p.m. (in Japanese with English subtitles) as the opening event in Studio Ghibli Fest 2017, a six-film monthly Miyazaki series. Lovely and lyrical, it will make adults wish that Totoro were their neighbor, too.
‘NOW COMES THE DUST’ at Provincetown Playhouse (June 24, 7:30 p.m.; June 25, 3 p.m.). Many fictional works feature the hardships of girls who are accused of being witches, but Ellie, this musical’s heroine, finds that it’s just as bad to be thought an angel. Trying to survive the Dust Bowl, the residents of her town believe that she has divine powers that can bring rain and restore crops. New Plays for Young Audiences, a series devoted to works in development and presented by the educational theater program at the New York University Steinhardt School of Culture, Education and Human Development, is presenting these two free staged readings of the show. Written by Laurie Brooks and Paul Carrol Binkley, and recommended for theatergoers 11 and older, it evokes contemporary climate change as it explores a 1930s ecological disaster.
POLLINATORS WEEKEND at Wave Hill (June 24-25, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.). “Pollinators” sounds much nicer than “bugs,” but that doesn’t disguise the fact that the New York Hall of Science isn’t the only place this week honoring creatures that crawl, buzz and flutter. This Bronx garden will celebrate with “Pollination Headquarters,” a central site for insect and butterfly displays and information. From 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., children can drop in to make butterfly habitat hats — filled with blooms and bugs — in a family art project, and they can meet the real thing, along with guest naturalists, in a Butterfly Block Party from noon to 3 p.m. A Native Pollinators Walk, at 1 and 3 p.m., recommended for visitors 10 and older, will let participants see insects in action. On Saturday only, the garden hosts two other events recommended for tweens and teenagers, both requiring advance registration: “Meet the Bees,” at 11 a.m., appropriate for those 14 and older, will involve donning protective gear for a peek inside a hive, and “Marvelous Moths Talk and Walk,” at 7:30 p.m., promises a hunt for nighttime pollinators.
‘SISTER ACT, ABUNDANTLY’ at Kings Theater (June 25, 6 p.m.). Trying to make the performing arts available to all Brooklyn residents isn’t just the theme of this production — it’s also its purpose. AbunDance Academy of the Arts, a local nonprofit offering low-cost dance, theater and music instruction to children and adults, will present this musical to raise funds for its new permanent home. The show, which draws inspiration from the 1990s movies “Sister Act” and “Sister Act 2,” features the return of those films’ heroine, Deloris Van Cartier (a part originally played by Whoopi Goldberg), who’s arrived back in Brooklyn after making it big on Broadway. Trying to spread the joy of music and dance throughout the borough, she and other singing characters will perform numbers like “Oh Happy Day” and “His Eye on the Sparrow.”
SUMMER FESTIVAL at King Manor Museum (June 24, noon to 4 p.m.). Young people in the 19th century enjoyed the season in some of the same ways as those today: by playing outdoors and eating frozen treats. Young visitors to this free event at the museum, the former Queens residence of the abolitionist Rufus King, can compare past and present pastimes as they participate in historical games, make their own wands to blow bubbles and create period-style paper crafts. An indoor display will also illustrate how people kept cool before the invention of air-conditioning. One favorite method: consuming ice cream, which visitors will be able to make in both contemporary and old-fashioned flavors.
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