A friend with young children thinks, at this stage of summer, that my impending “empty-nest” life stage sounds like a slice of heaven. Our youngest child flies the coop for college in just eight short days. As for my harried-mom friend, she’d like to be the one to fly over the cuckoo’s nest.
I well recall that for young families, mid-August often can be a limbo land of loose ends. Children get restless with the more slack summer routine and are overflowing with anxious energy about returning to fall classrooms. The resulting behavior can be enough to drive even the most patient parents bonkers. When my own kids started bouncing around the room like Ping-Pong balls, I sought out a change of venue with family-friendly activities. Parents, as a wall-crawling alternative, here’s a suggestion that you’re sure to enjoy, too: drop in, 9am-4 pm, today and tomorrow for Family Fest at the Woodson Art Museum.
Printmaking is the theme of the Museum’s fourth-annual Family Fest, complementing “Purely Prints” exhibitions on view through August 24. This print palapalooza launched yesterday with an Extra-Terrific Toddler Tuesday that included little ones sampling art making and participating in family yoga led by River Flow Yoga instructor Mary Hilliker. Throughout the day, visitors swirled liquid color through shaving cream used to create dreamy, tie-dye-like prints. Today, try using vegetables and flowers, and tomorrow draw patterns in foam board to make ink stamps and original creations.
The Museum’s goal with Family Fest is to encourage families to practice healthy habits together, including art making and museum visiting as well as being outdoors, exercising, and eating well. Family Fest, sponsored by Ministry Health Care and River Flow Yoga, is part of First Lady Michelle Obama’s national initiative, Let’s Move! Museums & Gardens, launched with the Institute of Museum and Library Services.
Interacting and sharing these activities with your young children is crucial for so many reasons: most brain development occurs in a child’s first five years, and strengthening emotional connections with your children equips them to learn and builds strong family ties. Plus, always-free Woodson Art Museum visits are fun for everyone – certainly reason enough!
I have more than two decades of fond parenting memories, finger painting and frolicking with our kids, and I’m so glad we seized and shared the days together. Drop in for Family Fest and return often throughout the year to the Woodson Art Museum to engage, play, and interact with your children in fresh and interesting ways. You’ll get to know and love each other in deeper and ever-evolving ways, through all of life’s stages. What many older, wiser souls have reminded me along the way is true: the days slip so quickly away. Soak them up and enjoy!
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