Stargaze to music, design a game, make wampum, ID butterflies, skate for diversity or see kids sort out racial strife
“This is the real secret of life: to be completely engaged with what you are doing in the here and now. And instead of calling it work, realize it is play.”
– Alan Watts
Which game rewards walking, gets people to explore new places (or simply new corners of familiar spots) and supports individual as well as multiplayer achievement? Pokémon GO! Players, or Pokémon trainers, use their phones’ GPS and camera to find the hidden animated “pocket monsters.” Then, you throw a Pokéball to try to catch it.
Each Pokémon you catch earns you experience points and adds that Pokémon to your inventory. When you run out of Pokéballs, you need to find a virtual Pokéstop, located at interesting places, such as monuments, libraries, colleges, historic sites, shopping areas or restaurants. Once you reach Level 5, you can join a team and battle at a virtual Pokégym, which are located at large gathering places like the Pokéstops. Trainers use their own Pokémon to challenge the defenders at a Pokégym to claim that gym for their team – at least until the next challenger comes along. My family was pretty excited to claim a Pokégym for the blue team at Six Flags Great Escape the other day, until it was taken over by the yellow team about six seconds later.
Pokémon Go is being used in hospitals and senior centers to encourage children and the elderly to leave their beds and go exploring, or in physical therapy, to move their limbs in a particular way to “catch” the Pokémon. Pokémon eggs can be found that require you to walk two, five or ten kilometers before they hatch, yielding new Pokémon for your arsenal. My son discovered a sweet pond outside of our favorite grocery store when a Ponyta encounter led him there.
Even the Kingston Police Department is in on it! Did you see its Facebook post last week? Along with commonsense reminders about safety while playing in public, it posted a link to a Kingston Pokémon Go map: https://kingstoncreative.net/infographic-kingston-ny-pokemon-go-map.
For more information about Pokémon Go, visit www.pokemongo.com. And let me know what you and your crew have found! Go Team Mystic!
Catching a Clefairy or a Pikachu is great fun, but taking a simple selfie could win your family a terrific prize! Only a few days remain in the Legoland Discovery Center Westchester Selfie Contest, and the winners receive a family four-pack of annual passes.
How do you enter? First, follow @LDCWestchester on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Next, take a selfie at Legoland Discovery Center Westchester that represents your love of Lego, and share it online with the hashtag #LDCWSelfie. The entry deadline is July 30. Good luck! Legoland Discovery Center Westchester is located at Ridge Hill, at 39 Fitzgerald Street in Yonkers. For more information, call (866) 243-0770 or visit https://ow.ly/XrRo302oz9y or www.legolanddiscoverycenter.com/westchester.
FRIDAY, JULY 29
Astronomy, Music and Film Night at Olana
If your space repertoire is limited to Star Wars, Star Trek, and humming “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star,” you might want to see what you’re missing. This Friday, July 29 from 6 p.m. to 12 midnight, the Olana State Historic Site presents “Live in the Landscape: Astronomy, Music and Film Night.” This free and family-friendly evening includes music by the Bard College Orchestra; stargazing with the Mid-Hudson Astronomical Association and its telescopes; and a double feature of all-audience films, Home and Art House.
The Olana State Historic Site is located at 5720 Route 9G in Hudson. For more information, call (518) 828-1872, extension 103, or visit www.olana.org.
SATURDAY, JULY 30
Empty Bowls hunger fundraiser at Maple Ridge Bruderhof in Ulster Park
Food insecurity. Local. Mid-Hudson Valley. I’m talking right here, and we’re talking thousands: 19,630 in Ulster County, 34,860 in Orange County, 28,830 in Dutchess County. These are the numbers of people who are unable to access reliable, nutritious food from day to day. Who? Many working folks, lots of whom are full-time. Honestly, those statistics can feel overwhelming to me. So, now what? How can we help?
One easy, delicious, local and family-friendly approach is to attend Empty Bowls, hosted by the Maple Ridge Bruderhof this Saturday, July 30 from 2 to 5 p.m. For each $25 donation, you choose a handmade bowl in which to enjoy homemade hot or cold soups, as well as an informal buffet dinner consisting of a fresh salad bar with homegrown produce, traditional brick oven breads and “grill variety.” Additional handcrafted items are available for sale, such as breadboards, breadbaskets, cheeseboards and salad tongs, and all proceeds help to fight hunger in our community. Children age 12 and under get in free. Got a business or organization? Demonstrate your commitment to the cause with a sponsorship.
The Maple Ridge Bruderhof is located at 10 Hellbrook Lane in Ulster Park. For reservations or more information, call (845) 339-6680 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
March in the Parade live onstage at Rosendale Theatre
Have you noticed that many children’s theater groups perform familiar standards such as Cinderella or Oliver!? How about watching a theatrical performance that puts racial equality at the center of its message? Inspired? Head over to March in the Parade: A Play with Music for Young Audiences, taking place this Saturday, July 30 at 11 a.m. and again at 3 p.m. at the Rosendale Theatre.
Performed by a diverse cast, the story follows two young best friends who end up in a rift after some careless and hurtful racial remarks, leading to some clever problem-solving toward healing. This interactive play lasts for one hour and is geared toward children ages 5 to 12 years and their adults. Tickets cost $5.
The Rosendale Theatre is located at 408 Main Street in Rosendale. For tickets, to sponsor a child to attend or for more information, visit www.facebook.com/marchintheparade or www.brownpapertickets.com/event/2561156.
Big Queer Skate Night at Skate Time 209 in Accord
If you’re someone who hasn’t been inside of a roller rink since skating laps to “Don’t You (Forget about Me)” the first time it came out, then check out Skate Time 209 for the family-friendly Big Queer Skate Night this weekend (last one before fall)! On Saturday, July 30, the doors open at 5 p.m., and from 6 to 8 p.m., cheer on the home team the Mid-Hudson Misfits as they take on Dirty Jersey in a roller-derby bout. After the bout, it’s “queer skate,” open to all.
Suggested donations include the bout and open skate: $10 in advance, $12 at the door and $5 for children age 12 and under, and half of the proceeds benefit the O+ Festival. Skate rentals cost an additional $3.
Bodhi Kids Family Day at KTD in Woodstock
To me, programs like Bodhi Kids Family Day are one more way we can cultivate community with overarching themes of common values. This Saturday, July 30 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., Karma Triyana Dharmachakra (KTD) presents Bodhi Kids Family Day: Respect. Storytelling, yoga, the arts, environmental awareness education and other activities sharing Buddhist teachings are geared for children ages 0 to 10, tweens, teens and parents, open to both Buddhists and non-Buddhists. The cost is by donation, as well as $10 for the vegetarian lunch. KTD is located at 335 Meads Mountain Road in Woodstock. For more information or to register, call (845) 679-5906, extension 3, or visit www.kagyu.org.
Kuumba Dance & Drum workshop at Hudson Opera House
Harness the healing, energizing, grounding and celebratory power of drumming with the whole family at the Hudson Opera House this Saturday, July 30 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at “Everybody Drum, Everybody Dance” with Kuumba Dance & Drum, in conjunction with Operation Unite, New York, Inc. All ages are welcome to participate in this one-time summer workshop, and you are welcome to bring your own drum or use one of Kuumba’s.
The Hudson Opera House is located at 327 Warren Street in Hudson. To register or for more information, call (518) 822-1438 or visit https://hudsonoperahouse.org. To learn more about Operation Unite, New York, visit www.operationuniteny.com.
Game-design workshop at Murrow Park in Pawling
Do your kids constantly invent new games to play? Or perhaps just new rules to keep you guessing? But when was the last time they met other real-life game inventors? On Saturday, July 30 from 12 noon to 5 p.m. at the Edward R. Murrow Park, meet Josh Paugh and Ben Krieger, the creators of Ambyria: Shroud of the Shadow Demon. Ambyria is a fantasy card game for ages 11 and up where the players strive to collect the most ember stones. You and your crew can play the game, learn how to play or just watch.
Got other favorite games? Bring them along to teach and play those, too! And you can talk to Josh and Ben about the game-designing process. This event is free and open to the public, and I heard that the Bakeria will be there offering some of its epic coffeecake.
Murrow Park is located at 92 Lakeside Drive in Pawling. For more information or to reserve your spot, call (845) 855-1131, e-mail email@example.com or visit https://paw-warriorgames.com/ambyria.
SUNDAY, JULY 31
The Secret City gathers at the Bearsville Theater
Where do all of the cool kids gather for the freshest art, food, performance and music around? Why, the Secret City, of course! Described as a non-religious church service and filled with spirit and energy, this year’s theme is Play and features the fierce Hudson Valley Horrors roller-derby troupe; Soul Train dancer Eric Redd; the fantastic vegan foodie Lagusta, of Lagusta’s Luscious and the Commissary; and amazing local guest artist Jacinta Bunnell, whom you know from her smart and beautiful paintings and terrific coloring books: Sometimes the Spoon Runs Away with Another Spoon, Girls Are Not Chicks and The Big Gay Alphabet Coloring Book. All of these folks seem to embody this Secret City 2016 quote by Alan Watts in different ways: “This is the real secret of life: to be completely engaged with what you are doing in the here and now. And instead of calling it work, realize it is play.”
This “pagan/queer/straight/inclusive/art/fun/deep/community/barnraising tent revival” takes place on Sunday, July 31 at 12 noon and includes free childcare as well as free art lessons for kids. Bring a treat for the post-service coffee hour. The suggested donation is $15, but no one will be turned away for lack of funds. The Secret City takes place at the Bearsville Theater, located at 291 Tinker Street in Woodstock. For more information, visit www.facebook.com/wearethesecretcity. To learn more about the featured visual artist, visit www.jacintabunnell.com.
“Butterflies and Skippers” walk at Millbrook’s Cary Institute
In our family, it isn’t summer unless we raise Painted Lady caterpillars into butterflies. Looking for more ways to learn about nature’s flying flowers? Join “Butterflies and Skippers” at the Cary Institute this Sunday, July 31 at 10 a.m. and discover what the heck a skipper is (hint: nothing to do with Gilligan’s Island), how climate affects emergence and all about their habitats. This informative walk begins at the Cary East Carriage House and is free and open to the public, but registration is required. The event is canceled if it rains.
The Cary Institute is located at 2917 Sharon Turnpike/Route 44 in Millbrook. For more information or to register, call (845) 677-5343 or visit www.caryinstitute.org/events/butterflies-and-skippers.
“Beautiful Birds for Kids” at Minnewaska
Would discovering more about birds result in a direct correlation to your increased tolerance of their droppings on your car? There’s only one way to find out! “Beautiful Birds for Kids” takes place this Sunday, July 31 from 10 a.m. to 12 noon at the Minnewaska State Park Preserve’s Nature Center. In this workshop recommended for children from 6 to 10 years accompanied by a parent, kids will learn about unique bird characteristics and make a bird mask to keep, which they’ll use during a bird scavenger hunt along a two-mile carriage-road walk. This program is free and open to the public, but registration is required, and there’s a park entry fee of $10 per vehicle.
The Minnewaska State Park Preserve is located at 5281 Route 44/55 in Kerhonkson. For more information or to register, call (845) 255-0752 or visit https://nysparks.com/parks/127.
MONDAY, AUGUST 1
“Harmonious Kids Earth Workshop” at Byrdcliffe
Are you interested in some grounding, nature-based influences to balance out your kids’ recreational experiences this summer? The “Harmonious Kids Earth Workshop” offers exactly that, with trail exploration around Byrdcliffe and Mount Guardian, crafts made with findings from the hike, yoga, special music and indigenous sound activities. Harmonious Kids takes place this Monday, August 1, from 10 a.m. to 12 noon for 6-to-8-year-olds and 2 to 4 p.m. for 9-to-12-year-olds. The cost is $25, or $20 for members, and space is limited.
Harmonious Kids begins at the Byrdcliffe Theater, located at 380 Upper Byrdcliffe Road in Woodstock. For more information or to register, call (845) 679-2079 or visit www.woodstockguild.org/harmoniousearth.html.
TUESDAY, AUGUST 2
Three-day History Camp at Kingston’s Senate House
Got any fans of Hamilton: An American Musical in your household? Don’t throw away your shot! Give them a chance to learn about the Colonial era with hands-on activities in the “house” where it happened! The Senate House and Museum is where New York’s new government began during Revolutionary times. This Tuesday to Thursday, August 2 to 4 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., the Senate House and Museum offers History Camp. Children from ages 8 to 12 can practice practical life skills from 18th-century Kingston, including tending the vegetable garden, decoding 18th-century documents, hearthside cooking, making wampum, creating “Delft” tiles, churning butter, playing games and more. The cost is $90.
The Senate House is located at 296 Fair Street in Kingston. For more information or to register, call (845) 338-2786 or visit https://senatehousekingston.org.
WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 3
“Financial Planning for Parents” at Rhinebeck’s Starr Library
I get it: financial planning can feel like it’s right up there with lima beans or wet socks. But “Financial Planning for Parents: Everything You Need to Know” is a free seminar – and close by: It’s right at the Starr Library. Also, snacks. It’s a great first step, or a good review if you’ve already done some of this work already.
Join Daniel D’Ordine, CFP this Wednesday, August 3 from 7 to 9 p.m. to learn the five essential steps to a solid financial plan when you have children. This seminar is for parents of children of all ages, not just newborns. Topics include budgeting, insurance coverage, estate planning, saving for college, balancing financial goals and a chance to ask your own questions.
The Starr Library is located at 68 West Market Street in Rhinebeck. For more information or to register, call (845) 876-4030 or visit https://starrlibrary.org.
Erica Chase-Salerno is currently obsessed with Stewart’s Whiteface Fudge ice cream: butter fudge ice cream with dark chocolate flakes and white chocolate sea salt swirl. OMG. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.