Kids’ Almanac (July 20-27)

(Photo by Steven L. Johnson)

“Third child using data.
Time to sell plasma.”
– Bonni, New Paltz

Art programs at Roost Studios in New Paltz

“One of the things I always tell my students of any age is that they don’t ‘need’ to know anything to start making art,” explains Marcy Bernstein, 30-year art teacher and executive director of Roost Studios. “Wherever they are beginning is exactly the right place. Creating an environment free from judgment and being a guide for children or adults to progress at their own pace is one of the keys. There are many different types of visual expression, and there is no one ‘right’ way. One of the jobs of a talented art instructor is to help the artist recognize what the ‘heart of the matter’ is for them as an individual and help them acquire the knowledge and skills they need to get where they want to be!” Sounds good to me!

As a lifelong artist, Bernstein is determined to connect as many people with art as possible, and that’s where you and your crew come in. Check out this lineup of free Roost workshops: “Art with Heart” Roost Youth Group art program, “Fan Your Talents” art, fan dancing and Tai Chi. Roost offers plenty of other classes that charge simply what it costs to run the course.


So, how does Roost support itself? Bernstein says, “Most of our revenue stream comes from memberships, donations, space rental and fundraising. Our classes and programs charge only what is required to produce them. We received two small grants this year. We have absolutely no paid staff; every Roost member volunteers their time to keep the programs running and the gallery open. I hope that the community participates in all of our programs and supports this wonderful arts venture. The more community members that attend and support our programs as we start up will help us procure the grant funding down the road to provide more free arts programming for the community.”

You can register for a regular workshop, or you can sign up for one at a time – like “Dinner Date/Kids Create,” which takes place on Fridays from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Dinner Date/Kids Create is open to youth aged 5 to 12 years at a cost of $25 per session and a sibling rate of $20; but the best part for parents is that you can get a discount at a partnered restaurant with Roost; and it’s within walking distance, unlike any of my other children’s activities:

I’m also happy to see a 1,400-square-foot art studio, able to host real numbers! Roost is about making art happen in our lives. Roost is dedicated to supporting artistic efforts by people of all skill levels, all ages and, as mentioned in the beginning, all confidence levels. Roost is definitely worth checking out because of its commitment to us, the community; and the more involved we get in Roost, the more young people they can serve through their grant funding. If you are already familiar with their studios, maybe it’s time to look through the courses and try something new this summer!

Roost is located at 69 Main Street, second floor, in New Paltz. For more information, to register or to browse through the current classes, call (845) 255-5532, e-mail or visit

History Camp at Senate House in Kingston

Could you use a mini-camp experience for your crew? Something that lasts only a few days, is chock-full of hands-on activities and might just be the link to hook your kids on history? I’ve got something for you! Round up your kids aged 8 to 12 years and introduce them to History Camp, which takes place at the Senate House in Kingston on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, August 1 through 3 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. If you are not familiar with the Senate House, I encourage you to visit; and perhaps this camp is just the thing to get you started!

History Camp gives kids a chance to experience life from the 1700s, such as hearthside cooking, Colonial medicines, how to make Delft tiles, write with a quill pen and more. History Camp costs $90 per child, and space is very limited.

The Senate House is located at 296 Fair Street in Kingston. To register or for more information, call (845) 338-2786 or visit


Stories from the Longhouse at PS21

Let’s turn the classic bedtime stalling tactic on its head, from “Tell me a story” to “Just for Fun: Stories from the Longhouse,” told by Stephanie Marie Fox, which is slated for this Friday, July 21 from 1 to 1:45 p.m. at PS21. Fox will share Native American stories about the natural world, which inspire and influence the cultural values of the next generation.

“Stories from the Longhouse” is free and open to the public of all ages, but registration is helpful. PS21 is located at 2980 Route 66 in Chatham. For more information, call (518) 392-6121 or visit


Music and fireworks at West Point’s Kids’ Night

What is it about kids and singing, dancing and marching? Do you or any of your family members play a musical instrument? Would you and your crew like a chance to check out some instruments? Great! This Saturday, July 22 at 6:30 p.m. at West Point’s Trophy Point, treat the fam to “Music under the Stars: Kids’ Night at West Point!” In addition to spectacular views, children get to touch and try out new sounds in the “instrument petting zoo” before the show, at 6 p.m.

Kids’ Night is free and open to the public of all ages, and no reservations or tickets are necessary, so bring chairs and a blanket, pack a picnic and take in the variety of tunes by the Army Band and enjoy a fireworks finale! Trophy Point is located at 117 Washington Road in West Point. For more information, visit

“Awakening the Dragon” on the Hudson

The Chinese poet Qu Yuan is credited with inspiring Dragon Boat Festivals wayyyyyyyyyyy back in 280 BC. Now it’s 2017, and you can attend a Dragon Boat Festival on the Hudson right here in Poughkeepsie! On Saturday, July 22 beginning at 9 a.m., festivalgoers can partake in the Dutchess Dragon Boat Race & River Festival, including the Asian Cultural Festival activities, such as watching the “Awakening the Dragon” eye-painting ceremony and the first race at 9:30 a.m. Hands-on activities and demonstrations take place throughout the day, and all proceeds benefit Habitat for Humanity of Dutchess County.

Admission is free for anyone not paddling in a boat! The Dutchess Dragon Boat Race & River Festival will take place at the boathouse of the Hudson River Rowing Association at 270 North Water Street in Poughkeepsie. For more information about sponsorships, volunteering and more, call (845) 475-9336, extension 113, e-mail or visit

Stony Kill Farm hosts Butterfly Festival

According to Nobel Prizewinning poet Rabindranath Tagore, “The butterfly counts not months but moments, and has time enough.” If that’s a message that you’d like to reinforce with your family, you might appreciate hearing about the Butterfly Festival happening this Saturday, July 22 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Stony Kill Farm. Two butterfly tents await you and your crew, filled with monarchs and swallowtails, along with an education table about butterflies, Tai Chi and yoga demonstrations, face-painting, a scavenger hunt, story walk, food, barn animals and more!

Admission and parking are free. Stony Kill Farm is located at 79 Farmstead Lane in Wappingers Falls. For more information, call (845) 831-3800 or visit

See art, make art at WAAM’s Family Art Day in Woodstock

Taking your kids out to see some art is a nice idea. But what if we supercharged it a little bit? What if your crew could view the displayed art, and then respond creatively by crafting new art that was influenced by what you just saw, focused on natural landscapes this time? This weekend, you can do just that! On Saturday, July 22 from 1 to 4 p.m., Family Art Day takes place at the Woodstock Artists Association and Museum, located at 28 Tinker Street in Woodstock. For more information, call (845) 679-2940 or visit

Open Cabin at Slabsides in West Park

Did you ever wish you had around 200 acres to explore, discover and enjoy wandering around in? Well, today’s your lucky day, because this Saturday, July 22, the Slabsides cabin, built by the renowned naturalist John Burroughs himself, is open from 12 noon to 4 p.m. as part of Summer at Slabsides! Slabsides and the surrounding nature sanctuary offer something important to locals: history and a sense of place. Burroughs entertained notables right here in West Park at his cabin, back in the day. We hike that land now, freely and delightedly, with no admission fee, recalling Burroughs as our link from decades ago. All are welcome.


Slabsides and the John Burroughs Nature Sanctuary are located at 261 Floyd Ackert Road in West Park. For more information, trail maps and more, visit


Hokey Poke-Mon night at Dutchess Stadium

I have two words for you: Hector Lopez. And now, this summer, when you watch the Hudson Valley Renegades, you have your own right-handed pitcher from Venezuela to cheer for! The players come from all over, and Lopez is staying here in New Paltz for the season!

Come on out and root-root-root for our home team this Sunday, July 23 at 7:05 p.m. at Dutchess Stadium. The evening’s theme is “Hokey Poke-Mon,” and fantastic fireworks are launched from behind the scoreboard after the game, so we get to sit in our seats and enjoy a spectacular view of these exciting pyrotechnics! Ticket prices range from $11 to $19. Remember, there’s an entire bouncy-house amusement area behind the third baseline, too. A wonderful family summer outing!

Dutchess Stadium is located at 1500 Route 9D in Wappingers Falls. For tickets or more information, call (845) 838-0094 or visit


Seven-Minute Cleanup of Fall Kill Creek in Poughkeepsie

Local home organizer, activist and author of Be Clutter Free ( Rosalyn Cherry says that we can get our houses organized in just 15 minutes at a time. Feeling up for a challenge? How much could we accomplish working for seven minutes, pulling litter out of the very creek that supplies Poughkeepsie’s drinking water? Only one way to find out: This Wednesday, July 25 from 12 noon to 12:15 p.m., join fellow volunteers for a Seven-Minute Cleanup of Fall Kill Creek. Meet at the Morse School, located at 101 Mansion Street in Poughkeepsie, and make a difference!

For more information or to reserve your spot, call (845) 473-4440, extension 273, e-mail or visit To learn more about mayor Rob Rolison’s Seven-Minute Cleanup initiative, visit

“Creating an African-American History Tour of Newburgh” and more classes

Talk about place-based education? Yes, please! I love this year’s offerings announced by the Teaching the Hudson Valley 2017 Summer Institute, taking place this Wednesday through Friday, July 25 to 27, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Henry Wallace Education and Visitor Center on the grounds of the FDR Home & Presidential Library, as well as other locations in the area.

Are you an educator? Administrator? Homeschooler? Interested family member? This program is a great summer boost for anyone working with young people, because not only are there 15 workshops to choose from, but five all-day field experiences are built into the experience, too. One workshop I’m especially excited about is “Out of Washington’s Shadow: Creating an African-American History Tour of Newburgh,” presented by Colin Morris, professor of History, and Tashae Smith, a recent graduate of Manhattanville College who grew up in Newburgh.

If this sounds like the intellectual and hands-on experiential pursuit that you are looking for this summer, or you just need some motivation to rally yourself back to school, you’re all set; all you have to do is register! Participants are welcome to join for the days that work for them (pricing includes some meals): $125 for three days, $85 for two days and $45 for a single day. The FDR Home & Presidential Library are located at 4079 Albany Post Road in Hyde Park. For more information or to register, call (845) 229-9116, extension 2035, e-mail or visit


Free entry day at Storm King Art Center

Take it straight from Ben Franklin: “In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.” So, if you’re looking for summer savers versus budget-busters, then clear your calendar for the Storm King Art Center on Thursday, July 27 from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

Storm King is a special treasure in our area featuring acres of sprawling fields displaying large sculptures outside. Who even likes Storm King, anyway? Um, everyone! It’s the perfect combination: unique and captivating art; lots of fields for little (or big) legs to run through; and free today! Definitely take your crew, and you will impress your visitors. And a generous host doing the inviting is often assumed to pay for the group. You will look so benevolent, “treating” your guests to Storm King!

Storm King is located at 1 Museum Road in New Windsor. For more information, including details about current exhibitions on display, family programs and special events, call (845) 534-3115 or visit


ThinkDIFFERENTLY Day at the Beach

BEACH stands for Best Escape Anyone Can Have. And if your family includes any members with special needs, then pack up your goggles, buckets and pails and join in on this beach excursion! On Saturday, July 29 from 12 noon to 6 p.m., Red Wing Lake invites you to ThinkDIFFERENTLY Day at the Beach! We’re talking music, swimming and beach activities for all ages and all abilities, plus service dog demos, sandcastle-building, face-painting and a hands-on nature activity! Day at the Beach goes on rain or shine, and admission is free. Bring snacks and a picnic from home, and food and beverages will be available for purchase.

Red Wing Lake is located at 11 Old Farm Road in Hopewell Junction. For more information, call (845) 226-8395, e-mail or visit

Erica Chase-Salerno saw the wonderful musical Natasha, Pierre & the Great Comet of 1812, starring Okieriete “Oak” Onaodowan (, and she hopes you do, too! She can be reached at