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Only a brave woman would denounce a McDonald’s meal in a room full of children.

But that’s what Tannis Kowalchuk will do on Sunday at the Living Room, where she and Brett Keyser will perform “The Little Farm Show.”

Children don’t often consider where their food comes from, Ms. Kowalchuk said, “and I want to propose that they ask that question, and ask their parents questions.”

Yet “what would make a child in an urban setting ask,” she added, “when they’re surrounded by grocery stores?”

That’s where “The Little Farm Show” comes in. But this touring production, which she wrote with Mr. Keyser (Jane Wells also contributed), doesn’t resemble a school lecture or a stump speech, though Ms. Kowalchuk, artistic director of the NACL Theater (North American Cultural Laboratory) in Highland Lake, N.Y., acknowledges that “it has a political agenda.” Using shadow-puppet dinosaurs, a clothesline, flamboyant hats, hip-hop beats, banners, songs and instruments — including guitar, kazoo, accordion and spoons — Ms. Kowalchuk and Mr. Keyser, above, present a brief history of the universe and farming, or “the greatest show on dirt.”

“I’m the character with the strong organic beliefs,” said Ms. Kowalchuk, a determined locavore, whereas Mr. Keyser, who plays her twin brother, is more a devil’s (or at least a Denny’s) advocate. When she reacts with horror to his chomping on a McDonald’s burger, he wryly replies, “It’s local.”

They have also put comedy into their songs, sometimes turning 1960s hits into tunes of agricultural advocacy. “The Loco-Motion” has become “The Local-Motion” (“Everybody’s doing a new food movement/Come on, baby, do the Local-Motion”), and Mr. Keyser, at one point portraying a potato beetle, sings “All You Need Is Spuds.” The bug’s sung response to being threatened with a pesticide-free demise? “Try to see it my way.”

Although political humor and Beatles music may appeal most to parents, Ms. Kowalchuk said she hoped the onstage silliness would entertain children 7 and older while encouraging them to think about “the industrial farm complex.” Ms. Kowalchuk, also a farmer and mother — she and her husband, Greg Swartz, run the Willow Wisp Organic Farm in Abrahamsville, Pa. — added that her goal was to start family conversations.

“I think theater should do a little shaking up,” she said.

(Sunday at 1 p.m., the Living Room, 154 Ludlow Street, near Rivington Street, Lower East Side, 212-533-7327,; $10; $5 for children; $25 for a family four-pack.) LAUREL GRAEBER

For Children

‘Alter Ego: A New Teen Musical Revue’ (Friday and Saturday) Adolescence is full of tough challenges and confusing struggles, but that doesn’t mean that those years aren’t worth singing about. That’s just what 15 talented young people will do in this production, the culmination of the Prospect Theater Company’s 2011 Music Theater Summer Intensive. Written by emerging musical theater writers, the pieces focus on that great teenage quest: self-discovery. Friday at 8 p.m.; Saturday at 2 p.m.; Clurman Theater at Theater Row, 410 West 42nd Street, Clinton, (212) 239-6200; (800) 432-7250,; $10, with a $1.25 theater-restoration fee.

‘Angelina Ballerina the Musical’ (Saturday and Sunday) That winsome white mouse who does all her scurrying in toeshoes has pirouetted back onto the stage. Vital Theater Company has revived its musical adaptation of the books by Katharine Holabird and Helen Craig and the PBS series “Angelina Ballerina the Next Steps.” The show, by Susan DiLallo and Ben Morss, features Angelina and her fellow students doing modern dance, the Irish jig and hip-hop, as well as ballet. At 1 p.m., Dicapo Opera Theater, St. Jean Baptiste Church, 184 East 76th Street, Manhattan, (212) 579-0528,; $29.50; $49.50 for premium seats; $25 lap seats for children under 1 available at the box office on the day of performance only.

Animation Block Party Kids Program (Saturday and Sunday) How can you resist films with titles like “Potty Monsters” and “BumbleVille”? Not at all if you’re under 12, and they’re two of the offerings in this afternoon of shorts, part of the BAMcinématek series Animation Weekend. The 70-minute program presents a dozen films, most only a few minutes long, from as far away as Slovakia and as close as New York City. At noon, BAM Rose Cinemas, Brooklyn Academy of Music, 30 Lafayette Avenue, at Ashland Place, Fort Greene, (718) 636-4100,; $12; $7 for BAM Cinema Club members; free for Movie Mogul members.

‘Archaeology Zone: Discovering Treasures From Playgrounds to Palaces’ (Friday, Sunday through Tuesday, and Thursday) Children will step into the shoes of an explorer like Indiana Jones in this permanent exhibition at the Jewish Museum, but the adventures will be purely scholarly. Still, there is plenty of excitement in analyzing artifacts like a jar handle, a clay jug and a bangle and figuring out the purpose behind ancient pieces like a Greek helmet and a bull-shaped vessel. This interactive show also includes a re-created room from the Ottoman period (about 1900), where young archaeologists can dress in costume. Hours: 11 a.m. to 5:45 p.m.; until 8 p.m. on Thursdays; Jewish Museum, 1109 Fifth Avenue, at 92nd Street, (212) 423-3200,; free with admission: $12; $10 for 65+; $7.50 for students; free for under 12 and members.

‘The Berenstain Bears Live! in Family Matters, the Musical’ (Saturday and Sunday) The most famous bears since the three in the Goldlilocks story are now onstage in this adaptation of three of the titles in the long-running children’s book series by Stan and Jan Berenstain. The show, by Michael Borton and Michael Slade, offers a pleasant hour for small theatergoers, with a pop-flavored score and actors who inhabit their fuzzy roles enthusiastically. But like the books, it’s rather tame and tidy; after this many years of a formula, even the Berenstain cubs are starting to show their age. (Through Oct. 30.) Saturday at 2 and 4:30 p.m. (the 4:30 is sold out); Sunday at 2 p.m.; Manhattan Movement & Arts Center, 248 West 60th Street, (866) 811-4111,; $34.95 to $59.95. (The most expensive tickets include wearable bear ears and foot-of-the-stage seating.)

Children’s Museum of the Arts Free Art Island Outpost (Friday through Sunday) This island fun doesn’t require a flight to distant shores. Through Sept. 25, the Children’s Museum of the Arts offers workshops on Governors Island from Friday through Sunday. This weekend’s activities, in Building 14, include making optical art stamps, nature headdresses and tissue-paper flowers. In Our Lady of the Sea Chapel young visitors will make life-size puppets and use their bodies to operate them. From 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.; schedule of individual activities is on the Web site under Community Programs. Also on view, in Building 11, is “Art Within Reach: From the WPA to the Present,” an exhibition juxtaposing children’s paintings of New York City from the Depression era, created in community centers under the Federal Art Project, with contemporary children’s art made in the museum’s Young Artists Residency Program. Governors Island,; free.

‘Curious George: Let’s Get Curious!’ (Friday through Sunday, and Tuesday through Thursday) Not many summer vacation spots offer the opportunity to climb into a rocket, manage a farm, play miniature golf and design a building. Those activities are all part of this new exhibition at the Children’s Museum of Manhattan, which engages young visitors in math, science and engineering through the character of Curious George, the enterprising monkey made famous in the storybooks by H. A. and Margret Rey. The exhibits in the show include explorations of wind power and physics, set up in the neighborhood where Curious George lives. (Through Sept. 25.) This Sunday the museum also offers a health festival, with the opportunity to make nutrition-inspired collages. From 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; open until 7 p.m. on Saturdays; Tisch Building, 212 West 83rd Street, Manhattan, (212) 721-1223,; free with admission: $11; $7 for 65+; free for under 1 and members.

‘Gazillion Bubble Show: The Next Generation’ (Friday through Sunday, and Wednesday) Children love bubbles, and this interactive show promises not just a gazillion but also some of the largest ever blown, along with light effects and lasers. The stars are the members of the Yang family: Fan and Ana Yang and their sons Deni and Jano, who rotate as M.C.’s for the production. Audience members may even find themselves in bubbles of their own. Friday at 7 p.m.; Saturday at 11 a.m. and 2 and 4:30 p.m.; Sunday at noon and 3 p.m.; Wednesday at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m.; New World Stages, 340 West 50th Street, Clinton, (212) 239-6200,; $44.50 to $89.50; lap seats for ages 2 and under are $20.

‘Jim Henson’s Fantastic World’ (Saturday, Sunday, and Tuesday through Thursday) The man behind the Muppets — and so many other feats of puppetry, film and imagination — is being celebrated in this exhibition at the Museum of the Moving Image. Containing over 120 artifacts, the show includes the original Kermit the Frog and Bert and Ernie Muppets; excerpts from Henson’s experimental films and his Muppet movies; and animations, storyboards, props and photographs spanning his career, from the 1950s television show “Sam and Friends” to “Sesame Street” and beyond. (Through Jan. 16.) Family programs this weekend include “Muppet History 101,” Saturday and Sunday at 1 p.m., a presentation on the Muppets’ beginnings, with the rarely seen pilot episode of “The Muppet Show”; and guided tours of the exhibition at 3 p.m. 35th Avenue at 37th Street, Astoria, Queens, (718) 777-6888, Museum hours: 10:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.; until 8 p.m. on Fridays; until 7 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays. Free with admission: $12; $9 for 65+ and college students; $6 for ages 3 to 18; free for under 3; free to all on Fridays from 4 to 8 p.m.

‘John Tartaglia’s ImaginOcean’ (Saturday, Sunday and Wednesday) John Tartaglia, who starred in the original cast of “Avenue Q,” conceived this musical production, which uses black light and fluorescent creatures from the Puppet Kitchen to tell the story of three fish on an underwater adventure. William Wade wrote the music and lyrics. In substance, the show is more reminiscent of “Barney and Friends” than of “Sesame Street,” but children under 8 shouldn’t mind. Saturday and Wednesday at 11 a.m.; Sunday at noon; New World Stages, 340 West 50th Street, Clinton, (212) 239-6200,,; $55; $75 for premium seats, which include a gift bag and a meeting with cast members.

Kids in the Square (Thursday) That’s Union Square Park in Manhattan, which will have more than playgrounds and lush grass to lure children this summer. Every Thursday through Aug. 11, the park will feature family activities and free entertainment. It starts at 10 a.m. with Mommy & Me Yoga classes from Yoga Stars, in the playground, followed at noon by a concert in the South Plaza. This Thursday’s entertainer is Stacey Peasley, a children’s musician and composer from the Boston area. Union Square Park, East 14th to East 17th Streets, Broadway to Fourth Avenue,; free.

‘A Loyal Wedding’ (Saturday) Yes, that’s loyal, not royal. This is not about Prince William and Kate Middleton, but about Scooby and Penelope, two lovable dogs who are to be joined in what is described as “holy muttrimony” by none other than Marty Markowitz, Brooklyn borough president. The canine nuptials, to take place at 2 p.m., are part of a benefit for the Brooklyn Animal Foster Network, a rescue and adoption organization. The festivities will include food, music, dancing, raffles and face painting for young guests. From 1 to 5 p.m., Brooklyn Society for Ethical Culture, 53 Prospect Park West, between First and Second Streets, Park Slope,; $25 suggested donation; free for toddlers. 

Macy’s Fishing Clinics (Saturday) Fishing tends to be enjoyable for almost everyone but the fish. But the species involved here can’t complain too much: they are all returned live to Prospect Park Lake. Open to eager anglers 15 and younger, the clinics will involve not only fishing and safety instruction, but also an introduction to aquatic ecology. All equipment is provided. (Through August.) At 1 and 3 p.m., meeting at the Audubon Center, Prospect Park, Lincoln Road and Ocean Avenue entrance, Brooklyn, (718) 287-3400, Ext. 303,; free.

Maritime Festival (Friday through Sunday) Hudson River Park is opening its first historic-ship pier, and young visitors can step onto boats and into the past in this celebration of four vessels docked there: the 1907 tugboat Pegasus; the 1914 Lehigh Valley Barge No. 79 (also known as the Waterfront Museum and Showboat Barge); the 1931 John J. Harvey fireboat; and the 1933 Lilac, the last steamship in the Coast Guard fleet. All boats except the John J. Harvey will offer tours on Friday from 4 to 8 p.m., and the barge and the Lilac will give additional tours on Saturday from noon to 5 p.m. A very limited number of tickets remain for educational voyages on Saturday on the Hudson River aboard the John J. Harvey and the Pegasus at 1, 2 and 3 p.m. Tickets will be distributed first come first served, starting at noon, at the North River Historic Ship Society tent near the Lilac. On Sunday at 1 and 4 p.m. the barge will present another installment of Showboat Shazzam, its vaudevillian on-board circus series, including clowning, juggling and commedia dell’arte. Pier 25, North Moore Street and the Hudson River, TriBeCa,,; boat tours and rides are free; Showboat Shazzam tickets are $10 in advance and $15 at the door.

Material Lab at the Museum of Modern Art (Friday through Thursday) No matter how much talent artists have, they need the right materials to create their work. This new interactive space at MoMA invites families to explore a wide range of mediums that are reflected in the museum’s collection. The stations in the Material Lab include a drawing table; a collage table; Discovery Boxes, with surprise materials within; Cornell Boxes, filled with found objects, in the spirit of the work of Joseph Cornell; and a digital painting experience using new technology from Microsoft. (Through Aug. 29.) From 10:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. (until 8 p.m. on Thursday, Friday and Saturday), Lewis B. and Dorothy Cullman Education and Research Building, (212) 708-9400, Free with museum admission: $20; $16 for 65+; $12 for students; free for ages 16 and under; free on Friday evenings from 4 to 8 p.m.

‘Meaningful Maps’ (Saturday) The journey will be as much fun as the destination in this workshop for ages 6 and older at the Rubin Museum of Art. Inspired by the museum’s show “Pilgrimage and Faith: Buddhism, Christianity, Islam,” children will use maps to explore the galleries. They will also learn about maps made in the Himalayas, the museum’s focus, and draw paths to favorite places on their own maps. This weekend and next, the focus is collaborative three-dimensional map making. (Through Aug. 27.) From 10:30 a.m. to noon, 150 West 17th Street, Chelsea, (212) 620-5000, Ext. 344,; $10 for each child and accompanying adult pair ($5 for each additional child); $5 for each child of members; free for adult members, children 12 months and under and Cool Culture members. Prices include museum admission; reservations are advised.

Mil’s Trills Summer Bash! (Saturday) Not many concerts offer the ukulele, the Stroh violin and the didgeridoo, but all three are planned for this celebration by Amelia Robinson, a musician and composer who presents the children’s series of songs and stories known as Mil’s Trills. She will perform with guests who specialize in unusual instruments, along with graduates of her ukulele workshops for parents, who will play lullabies written for and about their little ones. At 3:30 p.m. (doors open at 3), Littlefield, 622 Degraw Street, between Third and Fourth Avenues, Gowanus, Brooklyn, (347) 703-5207,,; $10 in advance; $15 at the door; free for children.

‘A Mini-Tempest’ (Saturday and Sunday) This time Prospero’s island is a small but lush part of Manhattan: the West Side Community Garden, which in association with DramaTune is presenting this one-hour version of Shakespeare’s play. Adapted by Morna Murphy Martell, “A Mini-Tempest” is part of the series Shakespeare in the Garden, intended to introduce the canon to children. Small theatergoers often come in costumes and participate in the tale, performed by members of the Instant Shakespeare Company. (Through Aug. 14.) At 5 p.m., West 89th Street between Columbus and Amsterdam Avenues, (718) 815-8689,; free.

‘The Ohmies: Morning Wish Garden’ (Saturday, Sunday and Wednesday) Preschoolers won’t have to worry about sitting still at this show; they’ll be invited to move and stretch for both fitness and fun. A musical for ages 3 to 8 about the Ohmies — a butterfly and a caterpillar and all their friends, on a mission to wake up the sun — this 55-minute piece incorporates gentle yoga-inspired exercises that the children do on mats. (Loose clothing is recommended.) Pop, reggae, doo-wop and hip-hop all exert fresh influences in the accomplished score. The dialogue and lyrics are less inspired, but the show is nothing if not sweet and sincere. (Through Sept. 25.) Saturday at 10 a.m., noon and 3 p.m.; Sunday at noon and 3 p.m.; Wednesday at 11 a.m.; Peter Jay Sharp Theater, 416 West 42nd Street, Clinton, (212) 279-4200,; $35.

‘Pinkalicious, the Musical’ (Saturday and Sunday) In Elizabeth and Victoria Kann’s adaptation of their children’s book, the pink-obsessed title character, a little girl, finds out that sometimes being in the pink can be too much of a good thing. (John Gregor wrote the score and some of the lyrics.) At 11 a.m., Manhattan Movement & Arts Center, 248 West 60th Street, (212) 579-0528,; $29.50; $49.50 for premium tickets.

Quick Chek New Jersey Festival of Ballooning (Friday through Sunday) All kinds of flying objects will take to the skies over New Jersey this weekend, including a 112-foot-long shark, a 120-foot-tall butterfly, an entire farm and a 489-pound pig in a Spider-Man costume. They’re all part of this annual festival, which offers daily mass ascensions of hot-air balloons in a variety of shapes. Among this year’s other activities are fireworks on Friday night, charity and family fun runs on Sunday, and magic shows, carnival rides, family concerts and performances by a female “human cannonball” throughout the weekend. Balloon rides are available too, though they sell out fast. Friday from 1 to 6 p.m.; Saturday from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Sunday from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m., Solberg Airport, 39 Thor Solberg Road, Readington, N.J., (800) 468-2479, General admission is $30; $15 for ages 4 through 12; free for under 4. Balloon rides are $200 and $225.

RiverFlicks for Kids (Friday) You may not be able to go to drive-in movies anymore, but the Take Me to the River series in Hudson River Park has something even better: walk-in movies. The films in its RiverFlicks for Kids program, all rated G or PG, are screened under the stars on Pier 46. Even the popcorn is free. The season continues with the Oscar-winning “Toy Story 3,” continuing the adventures of Woody, Buzz Lightyear and the rest of the gang. (Through Aug. 19.) At dusk, usually about 8:30 p.m., Charles Street and the Hudson River, Manhattan, (212) 627-2121,

‘The Secret History of the Swedish Cottage’ (Friday through Thursday) Gnomes, sea creatures and various magical beings help to tell this tale, but the history it explores is real: how the Swedish Cottage was built in Sweden and came to be transported to its current location — Central Park — in 1877. Created and directed by the puppeteers Tom Lee and Matthew Acheson, this commissioned new piece unfolds, of course, at the Swedish Cottage Marionette Theater, the heart of the site it celebrates. (Through Nov. 30.) At 10:30 a.m. and noon, with an additional performance on Wednesday at 2:30 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday at 1 p.m. (Some shows are sold out.) 79th Street and the West Drive, Central Park, (212) 988-9093,; $8; $5 for under 12. Reservations required.

‘Skyscraper Smurfs’ (Saturday) First the Muppets took Manhattan; now it’s the Smurfs. To celebrate the opening of the new film “The Smurfs,” the Skyscraper Museum invites children 7 and older to examine some of the architecture featured in that movie when the little blue characters explore New York. This workshop will guide young visitors in using recycled materials to create their own skyscrapers that can be taken down and rebuilt whenever they wish. From 10:30 to 11:45 a.m., 39 Battery Place, Lower Manhattan, (212) 945-6324,; $5; free for members. Registration required by 5 p.m. on Friday via phone or an e-mail to

Stories at the Statue of Hans Christian Andersen (Saturday) Not everything that blooms perennially in Central Park is a flower or a tree. Storytelling also returns there each summer, as the city’s Parks and Recreation Department, the Central Park Conservancy and the Hans Christian Andersen Storytelling Center bring narrative performers to Andersen’s statue every Saturday. The series, for ages 5 and older, continues this week with Jeri Burns and Barry Marshall, who will tell Andersen’s tale “The Princess and the Pea.” At 11 a.m., inside the park at 72nd Street and Fifth Avenue,;; free.

‘Stories and Squirts!’ (Friday) If you were an aspiring young author and your literary mentor suddenly sprayed you with water while discussing your manuscript, you might think it was time to consider a different career. But when Jen Nails soaks her students, she doesn’t intend to douse their hopes — just to show them that a writing workshop can be cool and, in this case, cooling. Ms. Nails, a children’s novelist, will lead this program for ages 8 and older, concentrating on character development and the elements of a good story. Every 15 minutes she will also spray the participants with a Super Soaker. Interested parties should bring a notebook and pen and, if desired, a combat-ready water pistol. At 10 a.m., Greenwood Playground, East Fifth Street and Greenwood Avenue, Windsor Terrace, Brooklyn,; free.

Sunset Eco-Cruises to Harbor Heron Islands (Sunday) Herons, egrets and ibises are New Yorkers, too, and about 3,000 reside on the islands around the city harbor. These cruises from New York City Audubon visit the birds’ lairs and provide binoculars for close-up viewing. Gabriel Willow, a naturalist and storyteller, narrates the adventures, conducted via New York Water Taxi. (Sundays through Aug. 14.) From 7 to 8:30 p.m., Pier 17, South Street Seaport, Fulton and South Streets, Lower Manhattan, (212) 742-1969,;; $35; $25 for ages 3 through 12; free for under 3.

Teen Masters Bowling Championship (Wednesday and Thursday) Wheels won’t be the only things rolling at Grand Central Terminal next week. Vanderbilt Hall will be converted into bowling lanes for the 14th annual Teen Masters Bowling Championship. Eight high school boys and girls will compete over two days for places at the grand championship round and a chance to earn a $64,000 college scholarship. And when do you get a chance to see people bowling in a train station? Finals start on Wednesday at 2 p.m.; on Thursday at 4 p.m., with the grand championship match at 7 p.m.;; free.

Wild Water Weekend The Brooklyn Children’s Museum won’t offer swimming, but it does promise sand, shells, bubbles, boat building and live sea creatures during this three-day festival of water. The highlights include “Bubble-ology,” an examination of the science behind bubbles and an opportunity to make bubble wands (Friday and Saturday); investigating animals on all three days (with a meet-and-greet for sea life on Saturday); making ocean-inspired crafts (Saturday and Sunday); and playing a “Survivor”-inspired game in which children 6 and older learn about making boats and see who can escape a desert island first (Sunday). Music will also flow on Friday evening, when the museum hosts the Brooklyn Arabic Music Trio as part of its Free Friday Night Jam series. Activities start at 11:30 a.m.; schedule of specific events is on the Web site. Free Friday Night Jam is from 6:30 to 7:15. 145 Brooklyn Avenue, at St. Mark’s Avenue, Crown Heights, Brooklyn, (718) 735-4400, Free with admission: $7.50; free for members and under 1; free to all on Friday after 5 p.m.

‘The Wizard of Oz’ (Saturday and Sunday) In this version they won’t follow the Yellow Brick Road to “Follow the Yellow Brick Road.” This adaptation by Nicolas Coppola, artistic director of the Brooklyn company Puppetworks, features an original country-and-western score and marionettes playing the parts. But you can still expect a tornado and the melting of the witch. (Through Aug. 21.) At 12:30 and 2:30 p.m., Puppetworks, 338 Sixth Avenue, at Fourth Street, Park Slope, Brooklyn, (718) 965-3391,; $8; $7 for children; $6 for groups of 20 or more. Reservations advised.

‘The Yellow Brick Road’ (Friday, and Sunday through Thursday) Yes, it leads to Oz, but this time its inhabitants have a different accent. The latest free summer production from Theatreworks USA, “The Yellow Brick Road” features a young Latina heroine, Dora Inez Garza, and a score filled with salsa and merengue tunes. Dora is about to celebrate her 15th birthday and feels conflicted about the traditional quinceañera celebration her parents are working on. But then a tornado hits Chicago, and Dora is off to Oz with her dog: a Chihuahua, of course. (Through Aug. 19.) Weekdays at 10:30 a.m. and 1 p.m.; Sundays at 2 p.m.; additional Thursday performance this week at 6 p.m. Lucille Lortel Theater, 121 Christopher Street, West Village, (212) 647-1100, Reservations are accepted only for camps and youth programs and for those making a minimum $50 donation to the free summer theater program; one reserved seat for every $50 donated. Free tickets for the public are distributed first come first served, starting an hour before each performance, with a limit of four per adult per day.