10 Summer DIYs For Rainy Days

Most summer days are perfect for enjoying outdoor play, but when rain makes sure to drive kids inside, that’s not necessarily a bad thing! Imagination (and maybe a few art supplies) are all that’s needed to make some of your best summer days the rainy ones. Read on for 10 fun ways to have a blast inside this summer. 

  1. Air Fort: You will OFFICIALLY be the coolest parent ever for creating an air fort. Bonus points for being a cool way to beat the heat, too!
  1. Sticky Spiderweb: MUCH less messy than it sounds–promise!
  1. Painted Stones: Take a break from the classic paper canvas. These will also make cute grandparent gifts as is or with a magnet glued to the back!
  1. Huge Roll Of Butcher Paper: Forget paintings for the fridge. This is a mural for the hallway!
  1. Mini Ice Hockey. We’d also try this with a slightly larger cookie sheet!
  1. Foam Dough: This one is EXACTLY as messy as it sounds.
  1. Motor Skill Activities: Specifically for the tiny ones, these activities are designed to keep toddlers occupied but also to develop fine motor skills!
  1. Sponge Jenga: This one is also just fun to say.
  1. Indoor Camp Out: There is nothing, repeat, nothing more fun than an indoor camp out. Complete with construction paper fireplace and microwave s’mores of course! You can also try illuminating your faux campfire with string lights!
  1. Tunnel With Lights: We’re guessing the exterior of this wonder-tunnel will be fun to decorate, too!

shaniShani Silver is a writer and social media strategist living in Brooklyn, NY. Shani has held writing and editing roles at Refinery29, Free People, Keep.com, and is now the Director of Digital Content at domino.com. Her first love is writing, and she’s found a home for doing what she loves in web-based content. She is originally from Texas visits her family there often. 

10 Affordable (Or Free!) Kids Activities You Can’t Miss This Summer!

14th Street Y fans, we know you love spending time at the Y. We also know there’s a world outside of the East Village!  Our friend Shani Silver put this list together for us, and for you to enjoy with your kids this summer. 

It’s summer! Put down the iPad, shut the laptop, and take to the city with your family. Enjoying the best of our boroughs is so much fun in summer, and it can also be truly affordable, too! Fill up your subway card and check out our top 10 budget-friendly ways to have a blast with your kids this summer!

1) Children’s Museum Of The Arts: On extra hot days, take the little ones inside and let them get their hands dirty! Admission is $11 for ages 1-65, and free if you’re younger or older than that! Closed on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, this museum offers daily craft workshops to spark the creativity of your kiddos (and their parents!).

2) Tour An Urban Farm: And this one’s free! Explore an urban farm in Randall’s Island park for a break from the hot city streets and a chance to learn a little, too! Saturdays only, and admission is free! Urban Farm in Randall’s Island Park

3) Theater Tickets Under $30! Did you know the Manhattan Theater Club offers patrons under 30 years of age tickets for $30? And it’s a welcome, air conditioned way to take in a bit of culture. More info here.

4) Prospect Park Zoo: You’ve hit up the Central Park Zoo already, this summer let’s head to Prospect Park! With children’s admission just $5 (and adults only $8!) a day exploring the zoo and learning about it’s residents is an affordable way to enjoy a gorgeous summer day. Make sure you check the zoo’s daily schedule to catch a sea lion training session!

5) Roller Skating At Le Frak Center: Does your crew need to burn off a little energy? Head to Brooklyn to skate it out! The Le Frak Center offers a covered roller skating rink with $6 weekday admission ($8 on the weekends). Closed Monday & Tuesday, you’ll save an extra $6 on skate rental if you bring your own. Bonus: Le Frak also has a free “splash pad” for water play on super hot days!

6) Ice Cream at Jahn’s: Sometimes you just need some ice cream. It’s summer! A trip to Jahn’s is like going back in time to a true soda fountain. Family friendly and very well priced,  this spot is well worth a day trip to Queens. (Full diner menu available, too!)

7) Free Mini golf! :Figment NYC is an innovative mini golf course that changes themes each year. This year’s theme is ‘From Here To There’. Located on Governor’s Island, the course is free and open seven days a week, provided the island is open to the public.

8) Free Outdoor Movies: A tip, no matter which film you’re going to, get there early! Pack a cooler, bring the blankets, and maybe a pre-film distraction or two. Something about watching a movie outdoors creates memories no theater can touch! Full NYC schedule here.

9) Children’s Museum Of Manhattan: This is a MUST. Interactive and focused on education and play, if you only visit one children’s museum this summer (and let’s face it you’ll probably visit more!) make it this one. Check out event schedules to find the activities your kiddos will love best. $11 admission, open 7 days a week!

10) FlyNY Kite Festival: Kids can create and fly their own kids during this festival on August 15th. (We’d bring a backup store bought kite just in case!). Event admission is free!

shaniShani Silver is a writer and social media strategist living in Brooklyn, NY. Shani has held writing and editing roles at Refinery29, Free People, Keep.com, and is now the Director of Digital Content at domino.com. Her first love is writing, and she’s found a home for doing what she loves in web-based content. She is originally from Texas visits her family there often. 

All The World’s a Stage – Including the Classroom!

Youth Theater Programs at the 14th Street Y

We sat down with Ashley Renee Thaxton, Assistant Director of the Teen Theater Summer Camp here at the 14th Street Y to talk about her love for theater, for camp, and theater camp here at the Y!

Tell us a little bit about you!Ash2

I will be graduating from NYU’s Gallatin School of Individualized Study this May, with a concentration in Double-Conscious Performance: Intersections in Acting, Dance, and Critical Race Theory. I have an incredible love for performance that facilitates dialogue about issues of race and representation, as well as Golden Age musical theater and Black American theater history. As a teaching artist, I have worked with young performers of all ages and taught in California, New York City, and Accra, Ghana. I’ve been here at the Y since my freshman year, first as an intern with LABA, but I’ve also worked the Service Desk, different Y special events and I’m now incredibly excited to be the Assistant Director of the Teen Theater Summer Camp!

What’s so great about theater camp?

Ash_CAmp2
Ashley is the furthest to the right, from a performance of “One” from A Chorus Line in 2007. Next to her is one of her best friends who also moved to NYC to puruse a career in theater!

I spent nearly every summer of middle and high school with the Pasadena Musical Theatre Program in my hometown of Pasadena, California and I can honestly say that it was one of the most formative experiences of my childhood. Through PMTP, I grew not only in my love for theater and my technical skills as a performer, but I came to truly understand what it meant to be an effective communicator, and not just because there was no money in the budget for microphones some years! I was told that everyone had a unique voice and talent to share and that encouraged me to approach everything I did with confidence, not just performance. I was able to transition to leadership positions within PMTP in my last years of high school and first years of college, and this shaped my love of the theater to include teaching artistry, directing, and stage management: jobs I have come to love and have shaped my professional career. Also, most of the childhood friendships that I have maintained since coming to college 3,000 miles from home are with the friends I have from PMTP, and I only spent summers with them!

What makes camp here at the Y special?

Ashley in rehearsal for an all-female production of Shakespeare's "Julius Caesar."
Ashley facilitates a workshop of themes for an all-female production of Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar.

Those of us spearheading the teen theater programming here at the Y place an incredible importance on creating a sense of community and support for our students. We have all spent time in different theater camps over the years, and have brought with us best practices, teaching styles, and unique special interests. So many training programs for young artists create competitive and high stakes environments that can break you down more than they lift you up. We believe that the most growth — artistic, emotional, or personal — is possible when a young person feels supported and valued. We also give our teens the opportunity to explore all different facets of the theater, from musical theater to Shakespeare to playwriting to directing to clowning, which contributes to their development as multi-disciplinary artists. If you’ve never set foot on a stage before, if you’re counting down the days until you win your Tony Award, or if you’re somewhere in the middle we want to work with you! Our Counselor-In-Training program for the Teen Theater Summer Camp allows for highschoolers to take their involvement in theater to the next level: gaining expereince in directing and peer leadership while still growing artistically themselves.

So how do I get my child involved?

We have two amazing camps coming up for young artists of every age!

SPRING BREAK THEATER CAMP
(grades K – 8th) Weekdays: Wednesday, April 16th – Tuesday, APril 22nd

Join the 14th Street Y and the exciting, innovative MCC Theater Company in a one-of-a-kind spring break experience! Students will learn acting, improv, public speaking, and more, and get to experience being in our professional black box theater. *Separate tracks for elementary and middle school age students.* Flexible scheduling for families. Register for up to a full five days of programming.
 

TEEN THEATER SUMMER CAMP
(entering 6th grade – HS graduates) Monday, July 7th – Friday, July 25th

Our programming partners: Amas Musical Theatre, MCC Theater, and Red Fern Theatre Company will provide discipline-specific instruction in the areas of musical theater, acting, playwriting, Shakespeare, and more!
The 14th Street Y will teach various master classes, including training for high school and college theater program auditions. Those who have completed grades 9-12 participate as Counselors-In-Training, which includes advanced acting classes, and leadership training.
Amas Musical Theatre Intensive Add on Week! July 21-25th

In addition to working with young people, Amas (which means “you love” in Latin) has cultivated new and diverse voices in American musical theatre, including over 60 professional productions. In this week-long program, teens gain expertise in acting, dancing, and singing techniques, with emphasis on how these skills all come together to create a musical theatre performance. The week will conclude in a showcase of skills learned for family and friends.

And check out a video about camp, featuring Director Becky Skoff and our students from last summer!

14th Street Y Theater Camp Video from Case Aiken on Vimeo.