What happens when an artist welcome kids into his studio? A little chaos and a lot of inspiration. Every July and August, Dan Falt opens his doors to neighborhood children. Yesterday he offered four activities, playing with clay, stringing beads, painting wood blocks and everyone's favorite, painting your own wooden fish. But the experience is almost more about the place than then activities. As kids wood on the floor, they are surrounded by Dan's whimsical wooden animals in the same space where Dan spends his time creating these fantastic works of art.
My husband and I often struggle to get our kids outside. We love to hike and they tell us they don't. In the past, we have tried going on easy walks so they don't complain too much. However, recently we found that really challenging adventures are more to their liking. Last week, we scaled a rock face in the rain one day and biked 18 miles the next. No one complained once.
Why? I think they like the challenge. Turns out challenging them is important to their development. It provides the opportunity to test their limits, motivates them take risks, and makes them feel good about themselves when they succeed. You can read more about why we should all challenge our kids, and probably ourselves, more via the link below.
I was shocked last week when we picked my daughter up from her first sleep away camp. My strong-willed, spirited 9-year old, was quiet at first. She just gave me a quick hug and then looked away. When we got into the car, she burst out into tears. "I missed you so much!" she cried. She said, "Camp was fun. I liked everything... except the food. It just would have been better if you were there.".
I both felt crushed that she had been so homesick over the last week and relished in the knowledge that she missed us. Clearly, kids this age want some independence, but also want to know their parents are close. That is just one of the reasons we want WOWtopia to be a place kids and family play together. We strive to make an attraction that appeals to all ages.
And to relieve me of any guilt, it is good to remember what the latest studies about family time say... it is not the quantity but the quality that matters. Read more here - https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/making-time-for-kids-study-says-quality-trumps-quantity/2015/03/28/10813192-d378-11e4-8fce-3941fc548f1c_story.html
I went to go see the Hunger Games exhibit yesterday at the Palace of Fine Arts in San Francisco. The quality of display and content was quite high. Beautiful photography! And there were a number of interesting interactives - knot tying, learning choreography, voting on moral choices the characters had to make, making your own video, etc. In addition, there was a nice homage to the fans at the end... showcased fan art about the franchise.
Bottom line, if you are a fan of the brand, particularly the film, I think you would have a rewarding experience. The guides said audiences have been happy… and here is a nice review that backs them up.
There’s nothing quite like standing at the top of a mountain, being surrounded by extraordinary beauty. At least not for me. Knowing that I am about to have the rush of skiing down the slope, makes the moment that much more exhilarating. Skiing with my family in Lake Tahoe this weekend gave me many of those moments. But this time what struck me even more was the WOW of empowerment and independence as my 9 year old and 11 year old spent hours on the mountain by themselves. They felt so cool, so proud, so independent - mapping out their routes, trying new things, making their own paths through the trees…
I remember years ago visiting friends in Canada, whose 7, 9, and 11 year old girls were zipping in and out of the lodge while we grown ups did our own thing. It struck me then, as it struck me this weekend, how rare it is for kids today to experience that kind of freedom. I wish they had more such opportunities!
Get transported into a field of flowers, outer space, under the sea and other amazing places. My family loved the magic of immersive and interactive technology currently on display at the Pace Gallery in Menlo Park, CA. The exhibition was put together by teamLab, a group of Japanese "ultra-techonologists." These amazing artists seamlessly combine traditional Japanese art, technology, design and the natural world. It is beautiful, inspiring, exciting AND interactive. Perfect for all ages. Learn more here: http://exhibition.team-lab.net/siliconvalley/
On our way home from vacation we made a quick stop in Mexico City specifically to see Kidzania. We have heard a lot about Kidzania over that last few years. It is a good comp for WOW because it is a kid-targeted attraction with a focus on quality participatory activities. I learned it is an extremely well thought out, authentically designed attraction. The attention to detail is amazing and the amount of content is quite impressive. My kids definitely got into the KIDZOS, their money, and wanted to earn big bucks! They delivered packages, got their driver's license and worked in a bakery making cookies. Other kids were busy putting out fires, policing the grounds and working in the hospital.
Kidzania is now in 20 locations around the world. You can learn more here. http://www.kidzania.com
Dash and I went to China today. Children's China is at the Bay Area Discovery Museum until May 18th. Perfect for pre-schoolers and early elementary aged children. Dash really liked the yellow motorcycle. Personally, I was more interested in participating in the traditional tea ceremony and snuggling up with pandas.
You can find out more at : https://www.baykidsmuseum.org/visit-us/exhibitions/
What do you do with a random school vacation day in November? I just spent it playing with M & P at San Francisco's Steam Carnival. What a blast! So great to see activities that 3 year-olds, 20 year-olds AND 65 year-olds can enjoy together. My kids loved the rocking horses and playing with robots. They built mother boards, constructed race-ways, ran through mazes, tested their reflexes and so much more. They even collected enough tickets to get a free t-shirt!
I know the Two Bit Circus is taking this show on the road. Can't wait to see where they pop-up in 2016.