License to Entertain

Comedic License teaches kids to make 'em laugh

Soon school will be out for the summer, and class clowns will be left without an audience. Three months of goofs unmet by guffaws? What ever will they do? Some parents will try various doses of Ritalin. But other ones, who see promise in their progeny, will take a different approach with their kids: acting classes. Donna Howell-DePew has been acting since she was a toddler. Now all grown up, she offers a six-week course called Comedic License to kids between the ages of seven and 17. Students will explore sketch comedy, improvisation, dance and singing; by the end, they will have developed a full-blown comedy performance. Along the way, the fledgling comedians will learn basic stage presentation skills and get a boost in self-esteem. And improved self-esteem is better than a few more milligrams of Ritalin any day. 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. Sundays from April 27 to June 1, with a June 6 performance. 13 Town Oaks Place. To register, call 713-432-7620. $175. -- Eric A.T. Dieckman

Kids Rule
Traditionally celebrated on April 30, the Mexican holiday Día del Niño honors kids with family activities they enjoy. The Children's Museum of Houston is dedicating four days of craft activities and piñata-whacking to the holiday. And Saturday at the Magnolia Multi Service Center parents can receive a free Red Cross cholesterol screening while their kids play, blissfully unaware of things like heart disease. Museum: 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. Thursday, April 24; 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, April 26; noon to 5 p.m. Sunday, April 27; 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday, April 30. 1500 Binz. For information, call 713-522-1138. Free. Red Cross event: 9 a.m. to noon Saturday, April 26. Magnolia Multi Service Center, 7037 Capitol. For information, call 713-921-4474. Free. -- Troy Schulze

Exploring History
No celebration of "great European and American explorers" would be complete without a little investigation into how Native Americans were affected by white folks encroaching on their lands. At Great Explorations, hosted by the Museum of Fine Arts' Bayou Bend Collection and Rienzi, kids will learn about the Lewis and Clark expedition of 1803, which celebrates its 200th anniversary in April. But they'll also take in a musical performance by Bobby Bridger about the relationships between Europeans and Native Americans during the fur-trade era. And the Eagle Wind Dancers will demonstrate Native American dances. Families can take trolleys from Bayou Bend to Rienzi, where they can make flags to mark their "expeditions" and explore Rienzi for undiscovered treasures. 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday, April 27. You may park at Bayou Bend, One Westcott (there is no parking at Rienzi). For information, call 713-639-7800. Free. -- Cathy Matusow

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