Although The BFG isn't as well known as some of Roald Dahl's other books (like Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and Matilda), it definitely has its share of rabid fans. If your family is among them, you'll be happy to hear that Steven Spielberg is quite faithful to the source material in Disney's new CGI/live-action hybrid, The BFG—though some of the Dahl darkness has been replaced by the director's signature wide-eyed wonder. Even so, for parents of younger children the question is, just how terrifying are those tot-eating giants? We've got the answer (and a photo in case you want to see how your preschoolers react), plus the scoop on whether it's worth splurging for IMAX 3D.
Raven is a writer, editor, performer and mom, who was born and bred in NYC, just like her husband, her mother and now, her daughter. As a writer, she's contributed articles to New York Magazine, Time Out New York, The Village Voice, the New York Post, TV Guide, Better Homes and Gardens, iVillage, AOL TV and Moviefone, Parents.com, and worked as an in-house editor for ParentsConnect.com and TimeOutKids.com. As a performer, she's appeared on many downtown stages (sometimes even for pay!), a couple of obscure films and TV shows, and The Maury Povich Show as a female drag queen. She's also the founder of Hot Mama Burlesque, the world's only all-moms burlesque show. After being the NYC editor from March 2011-March 2015, she is now happy to just be a blogger as she pursues additional writing opportunities.
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You certainly can't accuse Disney•Pixar of rushing things. The sequel to the 2003 animated classic Finding Nemo was 13 years in the making, so evidently the studio was more interested in getting it right than in making a quick buck. That philosophy shows in every aspect of this movie, from its breathtaking underwater visuals to its cute, quirky characters to its moving story, which flips the Nemo plot and has Dory (Ellen DeGeneres) searching for her long-lost parents. Although the heroine suffers from short-term memory loss, anyone who saw Finding Nemo will find the proceedings very familiar. The result is immensely enjoyable for both children and adults, with heartfelt messages about family, self-reliance, and perseverance.
But before you start pushing your stroller to the nearest cineplex, be warned: the PG-rated Finding Dory is a bit darker than its G-rated predecessor (notwithstanding the latter's Bambi-esque death of the mom sequence). Dory and her pals are frequently lost and stuck in scary situations. Can your preschoolers handle it, and—if you have older kids—is it worth splurging on IMAX 3D? No need to go on a fishing expedition: we've got watertight answers.
Ever since I read The Atlantic's article about "adventure playgrounds" a few years back, I've been obsessed with bringing my now-ten-year-old daughter to one. Like many school-age children, she lost interest in slides, swings, and climbing structures around the third grade, but kids won't find any equipment like that in the just-opened play:groundNYC on Governors Island. In fact, they won't find any traditional play equipment at all! But they will discover enticing piles of junk (wooden planks, old tires, broken treadmills and strollers, crutches, even a toilet seat) and tools (saws, hammers, and nails) that they can do anything they want with—the only limitation is their imagination. Perhaps the best part (at least from a child's perspective): No parents are allowed.
Freaked out yet? Don't be. The founders of this amazing, 15,000-square-foot, FREE outdoor creative space are mostly NYC parents with young children, and they've put a lot of thought, time, and money into it. And it's FREE to play, of course!
The South Street Seaport, one of New York City's oldest and most historic neighborhoods, is in the midst of a huge transition. Pier 17, although currently closed, is being redeveloped into a massive, multimillion-dollar, high-end retail and dining destination with a rooftop event space. (Target completion date: sometime in 2017!) But even though that part of the Seaport isn't accessible at the moment, there are still plenty of things for families to do, see and experience in this popular downtown Manhattan neighborhood.
A pair of exceptional play spots, including the Imagination Playground, an under-the-radar maritime museum, boat tours, landmarked buildings, a public pier with gorgeous views and a few FREE outdoor festivals make the Seaport a great place to visit this summer with kids—whether you're a tourist or a local.
My 10-year-old daughter must have sensed my trepidation on the way to the Angry Birds Movie screening, because she said, "Don't worry, Mom. Maybe it will be a pleasant surprise, like The LEGO Movie." She knows I'm not big on movies based on brands. LEGO was an exception because it wasn't locked in to a specific story line. But thanks to the ubiquitous game, Angry Birds has a set premise: the birds are angry, and the pigs are villains. In the eponymous film we find out why. And, while it doesn't always soar, it's definitely not for the birds, either.
That's good news for parents, since every child between the ages of 2 and 12 seems set on flying directly to the theater to catch this animated adventure on opening day. But before you go, you probably have some pressing questions—especially what exactly earns the flick a PG rating, and whether it's worth the extra splurge to see it in 3D. We watched the film with eagles eyes and have the answers.
Parents tired of hearing the kids whine, "But I can't see!" at every show take note: no boosters are needed at NoFit State Circus' immersive spectacle Bianco. That's because there are no seats and all of the action takes place high up in the air. Set in a sci-fi-looking, 10,000-square-foot big top pitched directly under Brooklyn Bridge Park's namesake structure, Bianco is a rare all-ages show presented by lauded avant-garde performing arts center St. Ann's Warehouse.
While you and your kids are most likely familiar with all of the skills on display—juggling, acrobatics, tumbling, and a variety of aerial acts—you probably haven't experienced them in such an exhilarating and intimate environment. The athletic cast and crew bound through the audience, hooting, hollering and often shoving their way to center tent, where they perform their feats with glee and little clothing. But don't worry: though there's a sexy, party vibe and many exposed six-packs, it's a strictly G-rated affair.
For families who prefer edgy and scrappy neo-circus troupes to the slick razzle-dazzle of Ringling Bros. or Cirque du Soleil, Bianco is a heart-pumping thrill. But there are some important things to know before you bring the kids—you may not need to worry about them running away with this circus, but they could very easily get lost in it.
Sure, a tasty Mother's Day brunch is nice, but just that word, nice. C'mon mom, you know you're more fabulous than that.
This year, Sunday, May 8 is all about you, so no simple meal, not even breakfast in bed will do. Mother's Day should be a whole-day affair that's fun for everyone in the family, especially in NYC, where options are as amazing as mom herself. You could book tickets to a kid-friendly Broadway musical—in addition to stalwarts Wicked and The Lion King, there are new tuners like School of Rock and Tuck Everlasting for which tickets are more available. If the tots are too young for Broadway, there are plenty of shows for preschoolers that are shorter and less expensive. Into museums? There are engaging new exhibits about dinosaurs, kid-lit icon Mo Willems and Star Wars sure to please all ages. Or you could splurge on a special experience such as a helicopter ride or a family spa day.
But if your ideal Mother's Day features an outdoor activity that makes the most of the spring season, we've come up with five memorable itineraries that include food and alfresco family fun that won't blow your budget.
Beloved children's characters spring to life on stage this season. Our top theater picks for the coming months include musicals starring popular little-kid icons such as Curious George, Peppa Pig, Clifford the Big Red Dog and the Runaway Bunny. But there are plenty of cool shows for tweens, too, including an interactive adventure staged throughout Lincoln Center's grounds, a trio of offbeat circus performances and a revival of You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown starring theater pros who are still in middle school.
While there are some big Broadway shows debuting this spring, including a musicalization of Tuck Everlasting and Cirque du Soleil's first-ever Main Stem spectacle Paramour, there's no need to shell out big bucks to give your kids a memorable live entertainment experience in NYC. A dozen of the 14 shows we're highlighting are just $25—or less—per ticket.