Put your hands to work at the Beam Center's 2016 Inventgenuity Festival, where workshops and tech-minded craft activities all encourage kids to use their imaginations. Kids will make bobblehead clones, kinetically-modified crops, and participate in other craft-based demonstrations and collaborative projects. The event is free, but registration is required. Advance online reservations for workshops ($8.25) will be available a week prior to the festival. Ages 7 and up.
In the street just outside China Institute, performers wield elaborate costumes and masks in a traditional lion dance, followed by a kung fu demonstration. Head indoors for a tour of the Institute's galleries and a reception with food and beverages. For an extra-special New Year, families can sign up for workshops. All ages.
Each year, this incredibly popular festival proves that kids have an appetite for more than the same old Saturday-morning cartoons. For its 19th edition, BAM will present a stimulating lineup of 58 feature films and shorts from creatives in 27 different countries. Whimsical live-action and animated tales starring young protagonists, mythical creatures and more keep youngsters of all ages captivated. Grab tickets early for flicks like Molly Monster—an animated film about a young monster trying to come to terms with becoming an older sibling—and make sure to check out curated shorts programs surrounding themes such as magic and imagination. Throughout the weekend, families can enjoy live performances and get in on face-painting activities, puppet shows, and virtual reality film experiences. Visit the website for the full schedule. Ages 3–11.
Amid all the flight delays and messy streets, we may sometimes forget that winter in New York is supposed to be awesome. (Seriously.) The parks look beautiful under a blanket of snow, and think about it: When is the air ever cleaner than on a crisp winter day? The Parks Department reminds us why we should love the colder months with Winter Jam, its annual winter sports festival in Central Park. Families can learn or take part in snowshoeing, cross-country skiing and snowboarding. Bring your own snow sports gear or borrow the equipment on load at no cost, then while away the hours sipping hot chocolate and enjoying the outdoors during this ultimate snow day. All ages.
The Children’s Museum of Manhattan will host its annual benefit event of fun and games for the whole family. Nickelodeon will headline the festivities with live entertainment, costume characters from "Paw Patrol" and "Shimmer and Shine," and an appearances by New York Giants long snapper Zak DeOssie and Knicks legend John Starks. Kids can get their creativity on with Play-Well TEKnologies, a mini-monster maker, and art and science workshops. Soft play areas and sing-alongs will keep toddlers entertained while mechanical rides and bouncy castles will be a riot for the older set. The museum will also premiere its new interactive video Dance Portal at the event. Face painters, a mini race car track, a Tegu block area, a photo booth and a dance party will round out what’s sure to be a memorable Sunday. Food and drinks included with ticket. Ages 12 and under.
The weekend before Valentine's Day, families can visit Central Park to check out the sixth-annual Ice Festival! You'll see professional ice carvers using chisels, chainsaws and picks to create replicas of the park's most famous statues. Live ice-carving takes place from 3-5pm, plus there's a silent disco from 5–7pm. Please RSVP in advance! All ages.