The Kids’ Lab

Kids, teens, and families can create art, play games, dance, learn from professional pop culture creators and other experts. This 9,000 square foot space on the FAN EXPO Denver show floor. In 2023, the area featured 18 community organizations.

Kids’ Lab and All Ages Stage Attractions

The Kids’ Lab and All Ages Stage at FAN EXPO Denver is a place where kids, teens, and families can learn, play, and connect through comics, gaming, tv and film, and other pop culture.  

Located on the main show floor, the Kids’ Lab:

  • PROVIDES hands-on opportunities for families and fans to engage with diverse pop culture-based media
  • HIGHLIGHTS the value of pop culture-based education in the 21st century
  • BRINGS TOGETHER a diverse mix of community partners, creators, and special guests throughout the weekend
  • OFFERS a one-of-a-kind opportunity to engage and make lasting memories with a uniquely passionate, diverse audience of thousands of families, educators, and kids at the event.

2024 Kids’ Lab Applications are now closed.

2024 Application are now closed. This year’s schedule will be announced in June.

Looking Back: 2023 Attractions

Make great memories, as you learn and have have fun Pop Culture Classroom’s Kids’ Lab and All Ages Stage. 2023’s attraction included:

  • A fantastical expedition to find a magic portal leading to another realm! Solve puzzles to successfully navigate through a magical world.
  • The Explorer’s Guild! Visitors will learn about the biomes of the world and what plants and animals live in each, and then make a fantasy map and start imagining new adventures.
  • Celebrity Guests. Surprise stage guests from previous years include Anthony Daniels (Courage the Cowardly Dog), the voice of Cartoon Network’s Courage the Cowardly Dogs, Marty Grabstein, authors, professional artists, and from anime
  • Arts activities, gaming, learning, and more with community arts, education, and culture partners in the Kids’ Lab, and

Join the Epic Portal Pursuit

Take part in a role-playing puzzle-room adventure,
racing to solve puzzles and reach a fantastical portal before it closes!

Explorers' Guild Quest: The Epic Portal Pursuit

Make Fantasy Maps in the Explorers’ Guild

Learn about cartography and biomes, and then create your own artistic fantasy map to take home!
Sponsored by Meininger Art Supply

2023 Schedule

Updated 6/28/2023

The All Ages Stage – 2023 Schedule

2:15pm5 Tips for Drawing in a Manga StylePop Culture Classroom: Terra Necessary, Midori ProperProfessional artists from Pop Culture Classroom will give you essential tips and tricks for adding Manga-inspired flair to your art! Draw along with the artists and add new tools to your artist’s toolbelt. 
3:00pmProp Making for Film and VideoTomorrow Makers Studio
3:45pmMaking MoCap with Deck Nine GamesDeck NineSee a live demonstration of motion capture for video games from the award-winning game designers at Deck Nine (Life is Strange, The Expanse: A Telltale Series).
5:30pmMoral Theory, Script Writing, and Miyazaki FeminismAngelica Kalika, University of Colorado BoulderA panel for teens and anime fans, this workshop will explore feminist theory in the films of Studio Ghibli and filmmaker Hayao Miyazaki (My Neighbor Totoro, Princess Mononoke, Spirited Away). 
6:30pmWarfare in History and Fantasy James ShipleyFor teens, history buffs, and fans of fantasy! Many fantasy novels and role-playing games are clearly rooted in the late-medieval warfare tradition. Knights gallop across the battlefield on warhorses wearing chain-mail or plate armor, wielding swords and bows. Catapults bombard castle walls. In fiction, creatures like dragons and magic suggest a more modern kind of warfare — one with air support, soldiers in camouflage (or magic) to hide from enemies, and spells that affect a large areas and devastate troops. See other ways history has shaped fantasy and find out how, In each era of human history, new weapons, defenses, strategies, and tactics have appeared, flourished, and declined as they were replaced by more effective versions.
7:30:00pmDungeon Master Academy: Tips for Running Tabletop Role Playing GamesPop Culture Classroom: Faith Ojebuoboh, Terra Necessary Are you a new or aspiring game master for Tabletop Role Playing Games like Dungeons & Dragons, Pathfinder, or others? Have you played a TTRPG, but never run your own campaign? Whether you hope to run your first campaign or your 100th, Join Pop Culture Classroom’s professional Dungeon Masters to learn tips and tricks for running an engaging campaign. We’ll talk about storytelling, game management, creating good player interactions, and more! 
8:15pmRock Out!School of Rock BoulderLive music from the 60’s to today, including pop culture icons and their songs! Plus, use basic music theory to create a song or songs in the moment on stage. Attendees will be able to pick random numbers representing musical chords in a scale and pick from genres of music. School of Rock students and staff will then create and play something based on their choices. 
10:00amSuperhero YogaMichelle Leachman LLCMovement is the key to a healthy lifestyle! So, take a movement break and join us at the Kids’ Lab All Stage as we get stretchy through 30 minutes of awesome Super Hero Yoga. Kids will learn a variety of fun, yoga-centered, movement patterns and leave feeling boosted, ready to take on anything that may come their way.
10:45amGo Aqua-Wild!Denver Downtown AquariumMeet ambassador animals from the aquarium and learn about what makes them unique, their adaptations, and their natural habitat.
11:30amColorado Dragon Boat Festival 
12:15pmPixel Art TutorialPop Culture Classroom: Erik Jacobsen, Will WhitakerLearn how video games of the past have inspired one of the most popular art styles of today, and practice creating your very own pixel art! This hands-on session is perfect for creative kids and their families, regardless of artistic skill or experience. 
1:00pm United Capoeira Association of Colorado
Check out a capoeira performance onstage where performers will play and sing music and demonstrate the capoeira, a dance-like martial art from Brazil. Our presentation incorporates capoeira games of varying intensity, takedowns, and acrobatic throws and jumps. you can also learn about the maculele, a rhythmic stick-fighting dance from Afro-Brazilian history.
1:45pmThe Superpowers of AnimalsCity of Aurora – Open Space & Natural Resources DivisionWondering where your favorite comic book heroes got their super powers from? Well, wonder no more! Come hang out with a naturalist and learn about the nature-inspired origins of some of your favorite hero’s super powers.
2:30mTrackers Earth
3:15Paper Airplane OrigamiWings Over the RockiesHave you always dreamed of the perfect paper airplane? Paper Airplane Origami is a practice rich in tradition. Learn to fold between 3-5 paper airplanes that you will be able to fly further, higher and with more acrobatics than you ever imagined. Participants will understand the four forces of flight and be able to fold 3-5 paper airplanes. Participants will fold their own airplanes under the visual and audible step-by-step directions of the instructors. While folding, the instructor engages the crowd with stories, legends and information on the four forces of flight
4:00pmPlant Yoga and Sci-Fi Plant CreationDenver Botanic GardensCome learn about the wonderful world of plants. Use your senses to explore plants from all over the globe and play some plant matching games. Spin the plant trivia wheel and answer a question to win prizes.
4:45pmCreating New Worlds for Stories, Games, and ComicsPop Culture Classroom
10:45amEscape the Giant Rolling BoulderHistory Colorado
11:30amCreating Cool Fan ArtPop Culture Classroom
12:15pmTHERE’S A ZOMBIE IN THE BASEMENT Book Reading and Monster DrawingSociety of Children’s Book Writers
and Illustrators, Rocky Mountain Chapter
The Rocky Mountain Chapter of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators’ co-regional advisor, Cuddlefish Academy kidlit art school professor, and THERE’S A ZOMBIE IN THE BASEMENT Author/Illustrator host a reading of his picture book and fun and interactive monster drawing demo based on suggestions from the audience! What are YOU afraid of?
1:00pmAddams Family Dance OffColorado Ballet
1:45pmDrawing Cartoon AnimalsPop Culture Classroom
2:30pmRocky Mountain Fiction WritersHave a great story in mind, but at a loss of how to begin? Overwhelmed by the idea of creating your own fantasy/SciFi world to fit into your story? Attend this presentation to find out these questions and more from an award winning, bestselling author and let your world take flight!

Kids’ Lab Rotating Space – 2023 Schedule

2:00pmLocalHost (2pm – 5pm)Get your hands inside a PC and handle the pieces and parts that you normally couldn’t! Learn what goes into building a gaming PC and how the different parts come together to let you play amazing games!
5:30pmLighthouse Writers WorkshopStop by Lighthouse Writers Workshop to write your own comic book strip and try your hand at blackout poetry, among other fun writing exercises! 
11:15amDenver Downtown Aquarium See and touch a shark jaw, an endoskeleton, a giant sponge skeleton, and much more. Learn about the importance of animals and ecology, and what we can all do to help out!
1:30pmUnited Capoeira Association of COCapoeira is a dynamic Afro-Brazilian art that involves music, dance, martial arts and acrobatic movement. It has gained visibility from fight scenes in Only the Strong, Catwoman, Hellboy II, The Rundown and The Mandalorian, and it is a popular fighting style among actors and stunt-people portraying characters in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. It may look hard, but anyone can learn capoeira – join UCA Colorado for an introductory lesson and try some of the awesome moves that make capoeira so much fun!
• see a capoeira performance

• handle & play Brazilian percussion instruments

• get instruction in basic movements from our teachers – kicks, defenses, cartwheels, handstands and more

• participate in a mini-class

• interact with capoeira practitioners & masters
10:00amArapahoe LibrariesLearn the basics of sublimation printing and create your own custom bookmark or coaster. Try out some non-traditional musical devices (Free Drums, Specdrums, LittleBits Music Inventor, and Boomwhackers) and learn how STEAM and music can intersect. We have two planned activity options for the rotating space, one experiential and the other a hands-on activity with a free takeaway. Kids and teens will have opportunities to create their own art that we will transfer to metal bookmarks or coasters using our sublimation printers. We will also offer an experiential activity allowing them to try out various non-traditional musical devices: Free Drums (a virtual drum kit), Specdrums and LittleBits Music Inventor from Sphero, Boomwhackers, and an electronic keyboard. We’ll provide headphones for each device that the participants can keep.
1:30pmColorado BalletAvengers Dance Battle: Try out different dance moves with Colorado Ballet’s session, Avengers: Dance Battle! This session will include instruction from a Colorado Ballet Education & Community Engagement Teaching Artist and participants will explore the wide world of dance and movement through the lens of the Avengers superheroes.

Can you get as small as And Man and as big as The Hulk? Can you balance on the Infinity Stones? Can you move as smooth as Black Widow or as sharp as Iron Man? We will answer these questions and more in our session – see you there! 

Ballet Heroes: Try out different dance moves with Colorado Ballet’s session, Ballet Heroes! This session will include instruction from a Colorado Ballet Education & Community Engagement Teaching Artist and participants will explore the wide world of ballet and the heroes within the ballet world. Do you know who Misty Copeland is? Have you ever tried a plié or tendue? We will explore ballet hero , movement, and more!
3:00pmRocky Mountain Fiction WritersHave a great story in mind, but at a loss of how to begin? Overwhelmed by the idea of creating your own fantasy/scifi world to fit into your story? Come visit our exhibit booth at Fan Expo/Pop Culture Classroom, offered by award winning, bestselling authors, and get hands-on ideas, outlines of what to include/not to include, a forum to ask questions, and let your world take flight! It will be a hands-on, materials-based exhibit designed to inspire creativity in fully developing fantasy and SciFi worlds for storytelling. It includes world creation: location on or off planet, other planets, fictional planet -vs-reality. Other areas presented and available for exploration include transportation, monetary systems, communication, health/well-being/medical, governing class and working class, family/friends/loner, food and its sources, clothing, pets/animals/creatures, and terrain/weather/surface conditions. Various materials used will include a wide variety of cloths, items, and illustrated books.

Visit Our 2023 Kids’ Lab Partners