Lee Quiñones, Howard the Duck, 1988, Museum of the City of New York

Lee Quiñones, Howard the Duck, 1988, Museum of the City of New York

When it’s cold and gray outside, walking around NYC with children is not very much fun.  There are the old standbys to escape the chill like FAO Schwarz, ToysRus in Times Square, American Girl Doll store and Dylan’s Candy Bar but there are also so many family-friendly programs where children can learn and experience the arts without it costing you much more than those popular commercial outposts.

Art and Literature in New York City

The Little Prince: A New York Story at the Morgan Library until April 27.

It is a little known fact is that Saint-Exupéry wrote The Little Prince while living in NYC for two years during World War II.  If you have never read this book with your children you should because it will remind you that children can see with their imagination and that what is most important can only be seen with the heart.  At this exhibit you will see the author’s process as he wrote this book and kids will enjoy the original color drawings from the book.

Photo credit:  New York: Reynal & Hitchcock 1943 The Morgan Library & Museum, New York

New York: Reynal & Hitchcock1943
The Morgan Library & Museum, New York

At the Imagine Your Planet: What Planet Do You Come From, workshop children can travel from planet to planet with the little prince, through Saint-Exupéry’s water colors and sketches. Children will then imagine their very own planet and build it with an array of materials such as clay, wire, beads, fabric, yarn, tissue, and more.  Saturday, February 8, 2014, 2–4 p.m, tickets: $8, $6 for Members, $2 for Children.

City as Canvas: Graffiti Art from the Martin Wong Collection, showing at the Museum of the City of New York, features a collection of works on paper and canvas in aerosol, ink, and other mediums along with photographs of graffiti writing long erased from subways and buildings.  Graffiti, once thought to be the scourge of the City, became a cultural phenomenon throughout the world.  The show includes works by Keith Haring, Lee Quiñones, LADY PINK, and FUTURA 2000, who were seminal figures in an artistic movement that spawned a worldwide phenomenon.

At The Art of Graffiti:  Draw Your Name workshop, teens 15 and older will learn how to write their name in the characteristic style of the street art movement taught by artist George “SEN One” Morillo.  February 15, 2-3:30pm, $45 covers materials and museum entry.


The permanent painting and sculpture gallery is an excellent introduction for children because it highlights the masters in the modern art movements over the last century.  It is never too early to introduce children to famous works that are referenced in their everyday lives in media, literature and even in advertising.

MoMA Art Lab: Movement:  When the kids get antsy from looking at all that art they can’t touch, you can bring them to the Art Lab where they can get a little hands-on time and discover the different kinds of movement in art—from artworks that suggest motion to objects that actually move. Children are encouraged to play with balance while making a mobile, create a stop-motion animation, experiment with performance art, or engage in other tactile activities.  Kids can also download the Art Lab app on their iPad and continue the fun at home.

Photo credit:  Blue Man Group, BMPKid-Friendly Performance in New York City
Coppelia, performed throughout February by the NYC Ballet  at Lincoln Center.  This is the perfect story to introduce children to the art of ballet (next to the Nutcracker of course).  This full length comic ballet is about a young man that falls for a beautiful girl, who turns out to be a mechanical doll.  It has beautiful costumes, comic characters and the story line is child-friendly with no madness, suicide or murder to explain.  Recommended for ages 7 and over.

Blue Man Group is a NYC staple and has performed at Astor Place Theatre for over a decade.  They continue to update their shows with that techno-geek ingenuity that appeals to kids of all ages (over 5) and tickets can often be had for under $50 at TDF.org if you qualify.