Our guide to cultural events in New York City for children and teenagers happening this weekend and in the week ahead.
‘CARDBOARD EXPLOSION!’ at Flushing Town Hall (July 28, 12:15 and 3:15 p.m.). In this show, the central material doesn’t so much explode as come together. You will, however, see a proliferation of characters, as Brad Shur, the founder of Paper Heart Puppets, uses ordinary cardboard to create everything from dogs to dinosaurs. Recommended for children 5 and older, the production’s four stories enlist theatergoers in actions like training animals, selecting superpowers and defeating dragons. Shur is also inviting those who are at least 8 to enroll in a preshow workshop at 11 a.m. or 2 p.m. This program, which has limited space and requires registration, will teach participants how to turn a single sheet of paper into a puppet with a moving mouth.
718-463-7700, ext. 222; flushingtownhall.org
CIRCUS AFLOAT!: ‘WHAT’S DIS?’ at the Waterfront Museum and Showboat Barge (July 28, 2 p.m.). Just try to define it. Delivered by two clownish virtuosos from the troupe the Grand Falloons, this entertainment combines juggling, slapstick, magic, bubble sculpture and live music ranging from Brahms to Irving Berlin. But if you have to categorize it, just call it vaudeville. The duo will bring their talents, their comic personas and their saxophone and concertina to the summer’s final performance in Circus Afloat!, a family series in Brooklyn on this railroad barge turned museum.
‘KIKI’S DELIVERY SERVICE’ at select theaters nationwide (July 28, 12:55 p.m.; July 29 and 31, 7 p.m.). If you’ve ever been frustrated by the post office, UPS, bicycle messengers or other parcel carriers, you might be intrigued by the way this film’s 13-year-old heroine transports packages: by broomstick. Yes, she’s a witch, but a good one, and this 1989 adventure by the great Japanese animator Hayao Miyazaki follows her as she leaves home to find work — as her kind is required to — in the company of her sassy little black cat, Jiji. But even witches need confidence to fly, and the picture chronicles Kiki’s struggles when self-doubt overtakes her. Fathom Events and GKids, which are presenting this brief 30th-anniversary rerelease as part of Studio Ghibli Fest 2019, will show the movie in an English-dubbed version — with Kirsten Dunst as the voice of Kiki — on Sunday and Wednesday, and in Japanese with English subtitles on Monday. Prepare to be enchanted.
POTIONS & PLANTING at Gallow Green at the McKittrick Hotel (July 27 and Aug. 10 and 24, 10 a.m.). You may find toil and trouble here in the evenings, when “Sleep No More,” the immersive version of “Macbeth,” is playing, but the liquids and spells this Manhattan hotel will offer on select summer mornings have nothing to do with evil witches. In the popular Potions & Planting series, Gallow Green, the hotel’s garden rooftop restaurant, invites children ages 5 to 10 — an accompanying adult is required — to enjoy English teatime fare along with a little Harry Potter-style magic. (Young guests will be served pink lemonade, while the grown-ups can sip something stronger.) Participants can bring one favorite doll or stuffed animal to the party, at which they will learn about herbs, mix some harmless concoctions and receive a take-home plant-potting kit. Reservations are required, and those enrolled should each arrive with a recyclable bottle for a potion. (This garden is all about sustainable sorcery.)
[Read about the events that our other critics have chosen for the week ahead.]
ROCK AND ROLL PLAYHOUSE: THE MUSIC OF ROCK AND ROLL FOR KIDS at Rockefeller Plaza (July 27, 11 a.m.) and THE MUSIC OF REGGAE FOR KIDS at Brooklyn Bowl (July 28, 12:30 p.m.). Martha and the Vandellas — and countless others — would approve. On Saturday, Rock and Roll Playhouse, which produces classic-pop concerts for children, will create a safe version of dancing in the street with this free outdoor celebration. In the first event of a series that will continue in September, the playhouse’s band will fill Rockefeller Center with the tunes of artists like the Beatles, the Grateful Dead, Aretha Franklin, Prince and David Bowie. But if your kids prefer boogieing in cooler environs, the organization offers another option: its Sunday concert, which isn’t free but is at the air-conditioned Brooklyn Bowl. Doors will open at noon for a reggae revel featuring the group David Langlois and the Brooklyners.
‘THE SECRET OF KELLS’ at the Museum of the Moving Image (through July 27, noon). When was the last time you saw a children’s movie whose hero was a young monk in training? But that’s not all that’s unusual about this film, which was nominated for an Oscar in 2010. Directed by Tomm Moore and Nora Twomey, it relies on meticulously detailed hand-drawn animation to tell a story about the Book of Kells, a real medieval illuminated manuscript that is an Irish cultural treasure. Nothing dry and scholarly here, though: Presented by this Queens museum as part of the series Summer Matinees: Fantastic Worlds, the tale also includes a beguiling fairy, a subterranean monster and barbarians nearly at the abbey’s gate as it follows the adventures of Brendan, the boy novitiate, in a mystical forest.
THUNDERBIRD AMERICAN INDIAN POWWOW at the Queens County Farm Museum (July 26, 7-10 p.m.; July 27, noon-5 p.m. and 7-10 p.m.; July 28, noon-5 p.m.). You can always experience history at this site, whose origins date to the 17th century, but if you attend this celebration, you’ll step even further into the past. At this annual event, representatives of more than 40 Native American nations, including the Cherokee, the Lakota and the Navajo, engage in dance competitions and demonstrations. Presented by the Thunderbird American Indian Dancers, the three-day program will offer traditions like the gourd, round and rabbit dances, and invite spectators to join in the movement on Friday and Saturday evenings, when the museum will light a bonfire (weather permitting) after sunset. The performers will explain each dance to visiting families, who can also enjoy a Native American food and crafts market during the festivities.
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