photo by Andrea Lahouze
A few days ago I took husband and two-year-old to the Minneapolis Institute of Arts for Family Day, a monthly, free event where families of all ages trek to the museum for a variety of art-making and art-viewing activities. We got crafty. We got silly. We got Sharpie on our arms. The pros and cons:
1. Pro: Free Coat Check. We dropped all our winter gear at the coat check so we could explore the museum without schlepping everything around. My arms breathed a sigh of relief. Genius!
2. Pro: Shiny New Coffee Shop. If you need a caffeine fix, Dogwood Coffee Co. just opened in the lobby area. It also offers baked goods from Rustica. Seating aplenty dots the main area, or you can retreat to the toy-stocked (and contained) Family Center to sip in peace while the kids construct Lego towers.
3. Con: Scissors and Sharpies. Our first craft was contributing to a community-made window collage by decorating a sheet clear plastic paper. The materials? Permanent markers and other colors of clear plastic paper, which required cutting with scissors. Walking into a room filled with kids, Sharpies and scissors, all freely and generously poured onto long tables, I felt parent panic. I've never seen a room of more engaged parents, all trying their darnedest to prevent marker and scissor mishaps. We escaped with a four-dot tattoo on my daughter's right arm. And, of course, a sense of pride in contributing to something bigger than ourselves.
4. Pro: Take-Home Art. We made our own play dough and constructed our own kaleidoscope. The kaleidoscope definitely required a lot of adult assistance, but our toddler had a blast mixing the flour, oil, water, and dye into play dough. All the art stations were neat, tidy, and spacious, with plenty of chairs, tables, and ingredients.
5. Pro: Wide-Open Spaces. There was plenty for crafting, exploring, or in my two-year-old’s case, twirling wildly in a rainbow tutu. Refreshing, given the nasty case of cabin fever that’s running rampant around here.
Bottom Line: Go and be artsy. This is a family-friendly way to soak up some culture (and some cappuccino) on a Sunday, regardless of the weather. Did we mention it’s free? Here’s a list of upcoming Family Days at Minneapolis Institute of Arts so you can plan ahead.