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Free Fun Friday: Stay Cool or Party in the Park

Lots going on this weekend but be warned, it's going to be a hot one so if all you can deal with is staying in air conditioning or being in water check out our Summer Fun Guide for info on places to hop in the water and cool off.

For air-conditioned events, top picks are the Foot and Fiddle Dance Company at the Museum of the New City on Saturday where you can catch a lively dance program that demonstrates how waves of Irish immigration have influenced American dance, FREE with admission. And Summer Sundays at the Gugenheim which includes tours, drawing and children's lterature, $15 per family.

And now for a line-up of the best FREE outdoor events this weekend:

Cool Stuff for Families at the Queens Museum

There is a lot going on this summer at the sometimes forgotten Queens Museum nestled in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park and well worth the trip if you havn't been. This summer's events at the museum include an international film, dance and music series, free archery, scavenger hunts and lots of art making and viewing opportunities with the family.

The Queens Museum focuses on 20th-century works and is located right next to the Unisphere which is that awesome retro steel globe sculpture that was made for the 1964 World's Fair, check out Forgotten NY for some cool vintage photos and info on the Fair. And since school groups are the largest single community that visit the museum each year, they really appreciate and cater to kids and their staff is uniquely qualified to work with children.

As for getting there, while it is a bit of a trek, you can get there on the 7 train and the trade off is that once you are there its usually not too crowded and all their summer activities are free with admission ( $5 for adults, $2,50 for kids. Kids under 5 are free).

Father's Day Activities for NYC Dads of Every Stripe

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Reader, Brigette, who won our Mother and Child Portrait Session Giveaway and got all spoiled wants us to equally hook her up for Father's Day.

Brigette says:

I need help coming up with ideas of what to do with my kids for my husband on Father's Day. I can come up with gift ideas, but seem to have lost all creative ability to come up with something to do with/for dad that day.

Since I don't know what kind of Baby Daddy Brigette rolls with I figured I'd cover all the bases. Here's our suggestions for Father's Day activities for dads of every stripe. A bunch of these activities are this weekend, in case you actually just want to let dad chill on the day of, as many of our commenters suggested.

Father's Day Activities for NYC Dads of Every Stripe:

Hi Lo: Anime Classes for Kids


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When I saw that Hi-Art was giving anime classes for $675 I thought, "wow, those must be some pretty amazing classes." But I also thought to myself in New York City I bet there are some other really cool classes for kids to learn about the Japanese cartooning style, anime, that don't cost the maintenance money. I thought it would be fun to do a feature like in the magazine (same outfit Hi or Lo). So I did a little research and found a couple of different ways to expose your kids to anime in NYC right now. Here's Japanese Anime for Kids: Hi/Lo:

HI:
HiArt Manga Madness
For the $675 you'll pay for HiArt's Manga Madness anime classes, you'll get 8 classes (starting today). Yes, that's almost $100 per class, but kids 7-14 will learn anime-style drawing techniques from acclaimed artist Yali-Lin. In addition to learning the techniques for drawing different types of characters and faces, kids will write their own stories and learn how to create panels, incorporate text, and design their page. There will be beginner and advanced sessions so kids can really hone their skills.

What you'll get: Professional level art class with a renown artist in a beautiful, light-infused chelsea loft. Lots of individual attention and intensive study.

LO:
Brooklyn Museum Anime Event
The Brooklyn Museum is kicking off their Takashi Murakami exhibit at this Saturday's Target First Saturday event. Kids and adults are encouraged to dress up as their favorite anime characters. There will also be anime activities where kids can create their own anime alter egos. Try to catch a screening of Hayao Miyazaki's Kiki's Delivery Service (if you haven't watched this with you kids it's a wonderful story. If you're not going to the event think about renting it). That's the tip of the iceberg. There will be Japanese Drumming, gallery talks and more. Saturday, April 5, 5-11pm at the Brooklyn Museum.

Check out the Brooklyn Museum site for the full schedule. All attendees will also get free admission into the museum to see Takashi Murakami exhibit and the other galleries. The exhibit will run through July 13th.

What you'll get:
Free anime workshops, free movies, free museum admission, and...crowds. Some events may be filled if you don't arrive early.

Family Day at the Asia Society
Discover the origins of anime through Japanese prints (ukiyo-e) in the "Designed for Pleasure" exhibit at the Asia Society. During this family day event children can also learn more about Japanese culture with traditional and modern Asian storytelling through pictures, puppets and performances. Free with Gallery Admission (which is free for kids under 16) Saturday, April 5, 12-3pm. at the Asia Society.  Exhibit runs through May 4.

What You'll Get: A free day of family events geared to exposing children to Japanese culture and placing anime in it's cultural and historical background.

Real Grown Up Art Exhibits That Kids Will Like Too

articles_18.jpgWe all love a good kiddie show. Sure. But every once in a while it's great to go to a real grown up museum and see real art and remember what it feels like to have a full working brain, and speak a sentence that has more than three words and isn't about scrambled eggs.

Through some confluence of the gods there happens to be quite a few art exhibits running right now (real art exhibits in real museums) that not only can you get away with bringing your kids to, but they might actually really enjoy. Art exhibits where children will experience them on a kid level and you can enjoy them on another level with that part of your brain you'd forgotten you had.

Below is a summary of 5 different art exhibits worth checking out??”for yourself and with your kids:

Sign Up for AMNH Summer Camps Before They're History

 2332 2138747373 417C50B72E MWhile registration for the American Museum of Natural History's summer camps hasn't started yet, it's a good idea to keep a look out. In 2007, the camps sold out before they were even made available online.

For more information on these camps complete with hands-on investigations, behind-the-scenes tours and visits with Museum scientists, visit their site, and read on.

2009 AMNH Adventures Summer Camps will include:

Robotics Camp
Interested in a robotic expedition to Mars? Design, build, and program your own robot to explore an unknown planet! Using Lego Mindstorms robotic kits and computers, participants learn principles of robotics, computer programming, and teamwork during this exciting week.

Sampler Camp
(for first graders)
Want a taste of the AMNH Adventure Camps, but still just one year too young? Come get a taste of what hands-on learning is all about, with a day of astrophysics activities, a day of frogs, and a day of water!

Fossils and DNA
Who are we and where do we come from? Embark on an exciting journey through human evolution and learn about our ancestors, from early primates to the first hominids. Explore the brand new Spitzer Hall of Human Origins while learning how to use fossil evidence and DNA??”and have fun doing it!

Meet the Beetles
Break out your magnifying glasses and get ready to observe the natural world and its amazing creatures! From the beetles, birds, and giant tortoises Charles Darwin made famous to the local array of bugs and plants in Central Park, children will enjoy discovering and learning about science and nature during this fun-filled week.

Astrophysics Camp
Have you ever wondered what it would be like to live, work, and travel in space? Could life exist on other planets? What are black holes and do they really exist? Join others who share your interest in space science and learn about the universe through hands-on activities and Museum explorations.

For more camp ideas, check out our Summer Camp Guide

Mommy Poppins Readers' Top 25 Places for NYC Kids

Our Custom Made for Kids personalized children's book giveaway is over, and what a great response we got. Not only did we have lots of responses, but each commenter told us their favorite thing to do in NYC with kids. The list is filled with some wonderful gems. After the jump, our contest winner and Mommy Poppins Readers' Top 25 Things to Do with Kids in NYC.

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