Our guide to cultural events in New York City for children and teenagers happening this weekend and in the week ahead.
CITY OF SCIENCE: QUEENS at the Health & Physical Education Complex, York College (Dec. 2, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.). Of course, New York is a city of science, but how often do you get a city’s variety of demonstrations and experiments in just one spot? That’s what the World Science Festival delivers in this free satellite fair, which travels throughout the boroughs. The Queens edition offers not only some signature touring exhibits, like the seismic accelerator that can launch something 20 feet and the walk-on-water display (courtesy of some cornstarch and the principles governing what are known as non-Newtonian fluids), but also new attractions. They include a camouflage wall, where children can try on suits that enable their bodies to blend in with a leafy background, and a high-impact rotation station, where young visitors can explore angular momentum by sending objects spinning. (R.S.V.P. is advised but not required.)
‘THE FANTASTICAL DANGEROUS JOURNEY OF Q’ at the Theater at the 14th Street Y (Dec. 1-16). Just who is Q? Q probably yearns to have that answer more than anyone. In this new production from Rebel Playhouse, a company devoted to expanding the boundaries of children’s theater — hence the name — Q is an elementary school student grappling with questions of gender identity. Written by Ric Averill, with a score and lyrics by Dax Dupuy, and puppets designed by Rosa Douglas, this musical follows the adventures of Q and Nix, a neighbor who has the ability to make ordinary objects magical. Intended for children 5 and older, and offering an optional improvisation workshop after each Sunday afternoon performance, the show may help empower a few questioning young theatergoers, too.
FIRST SATURDAYS FOR FAMILIES: MONUMENTAL LANDSCAPES at the New Museum (Dec. 1, 10 a.m.-noon). As winter approaches, the time for playing in parks is waning. Not at this museum, however, which plans to give young visitors on Saturday a chance to collaborate on designing their own park — indoors. Part of a free monthly series for families with children 4 to 12, Monumental Landscapes draws inspiration from the exhibition “Motha and Chris E. Vargas: Consciousness Razing.” In that show, Vargas, founder of the semifictional Museum of Transgender Hirstory & Art (Motha), reimagines Christopher Park, a designated Greenwich Village monument to the Stonewall riots. Children can look at Vargas’s scale model of the park, and the work of artists he invited to make new memorials for it. Then they will create their park on a huge sheet of paper on the floor, using materials like pipe cleaners, fabric, Bubble Wrap and cardboard to fashion trees, gardens, monuments, statues and whatever they want to add.
HANUKKAH FAMILY DAY at the Jewish Museum (Dec. 2, 11 a.m.-4 p.m.). Before Hanukkah begins at sundown on Sunday, children can design, draw and dance their way into the holiday at this arts-filled celebration. Drop-in workshops will include building menorahs from found objects like wood pieces, spools and wire; making accordion books with colored-cellophane windows; painting flying Hanukkah scenes inspired by Chagall; and, taking cues from the work of Larry Kagan, collaborating on a giant cardboard sculpture. In concerts at 11:30 a.m. and 2 p.m., Josh & the Jamtones will put pop twists on Hanukkah songs, and at 1 p.m., the illustrator and educator Jeff Hopkins will set stories in motion: Using wall-size paper, he will combine drawing, narration and movement into a performance of holiday tales.
HANUKKAH PLAYHOUSE at Merkin Hall (Dec. 2, 11 a.m.). The Broadway Playhouse series at Kaufman Music Center usually introduces children to classic Broadway musicals, but this time it’s exploring something else associated with bright lights: Hanukkah. This hourlong revue will herald the holiday with festive numbers like “Latkes & Applesauce” and “Thomas the Shammus.” (The shammus is a menorah’s central candle, used to light all the others.) The show will also include a musical adaptation of Nina Jaffe’s children’s book “In the Month of Kislev,” in which a selfish merchant, a sort of Hanukkah Scrooge, wants to charge three poor children money just to smell his latkes. (A rabbi cleverly teaches him an important truth.) The interactive show will offer stories and singalongs, and some audience members will even be invited to go onstage and become luminaries themselves.
‘MY MAGICAL CHIVITA: THE COLORFUL COLOMBIAN BUS’ at Teatro Sea (Dec. 1 and 8, 11 a.m.). Unlike the magic school bus that transports Ms. Frizzle’s class in the Scholastic book series and its television adaptations, this vehicle doesn’t go to outer space or inside the human body. Yet it travels somewhere just as exotic to many American children: the heartland of Colombia. Presented by Teatro Sea, the Latino theater for children on the Lower East Side, this bilingual production features a girl aboard a talking bus that makes many stops for traditional tales, songs and dances as it maps a journey through South American culture.
‘THE VELVETEEN RABBIT: A DANCE MUSICAL’ at the 92nd Street Y (Dec. 1-2, 1 p.m.). The titular character of Margery Williams’s famous children’s book, “The Velveteen Rabbit,” didn’t have a full set of legs — he was, after all, a stuffed animal — but you can imagine that the 10 dancers in this half-hour production more than make up for that. Directed and choreographed by Megan Doyle, this adaptation for ages 3 to 11 combines movement, an original score by Brian Feinstein and lyrics by Robin Moyer Chung to tell the story of the rabbit, whose relationship with the child who loves him becomes transformative in ways he could never have imagined.
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