January’s gray can be hard to handle.  Good thing we’ve got plenty of distractions to keep you and the kiddos busy in all sorts of venues.  There are movies galore (thanks to the 5th annual Children’s Film Festival Seattle), a puppet show, and a super-fun juggling performance. And at the museums and parks, it’s all about crafting, artifacting, and tracking…oh my!

SEATTLE

Better Than TV

Auntie Lena’s African Stories at Magnuson Park These wonderful stories, told by Thistle Theatre in the Bunraku-style of puppetry, focus on the bonds of friendship. Sat.- Sun., 1 and 3 pm, Seattle, $7 to $9. Read more.

Festivus for the Rest of Us

Children’s Film Festival Seattle This weekend kicks off Northwest Film Forum’s annual kids’ flick fest, which shows 100 films in 10 days, and includes a wonderful collection of animated shorts, live-action films about kids around the world, and more. Various shows and times, Seattle, $6.50 to $9 per film. Read more.

Museum Madness

Artifact ID Day, Burke Museum Young adventurers can bring their unidentified treasures and have Burke curators explain where they came from and the stories behind them.  (Due to this event’s popularity, each child can only have three items examined.) Sat., 1 to 4 p.m., Seattle, $6 to $9.50; Free for 4 and under. Read more.

EASTSIDE

Better Than TV

Gizmo Guys at Kirkland Performance Center The kiddos will be nothing-but-mesmerized by this hilarious duo and their world class juggling skills. Sat., 3 pm, Kirkland, $10 – $15. Read more.

Out and About

Winter Tracks at Lewis State Park Think all animals hibernate this time of year? Think again, and join a ranger to hunt for tracks that indicate what animals are living in the park and adapting to winter surroundings. Sat., 2 to 3 pm, Bellevue, Free. Read more.

Artsy Fartsy

DIY Workshop at Kids Quest Museum Got a few quick Saturday morn errands to do? Kids ages 5 to 10 can be dropped off for this entertaining class where they’ll make gorgeous Rice Paper Lanterns as part of the museum’s Celebrations Around the World exhibit. Sat., 10:30 to 11:30 am, Factoria. $10 to $15. Pre-registration required. Read more.

–Kavita Varma-White