Category Archives: Arts & Culture Events for Preschoolers

Art Outside 2010

In case you’re looking for something a little more intimate or local (or just don’t want to deal with all the crowds and parking issues at the St. Louis Art Fair in Clayton), be sure to check out Art Outside 2010 in Maplewood this weekend. This art fair is a juried event, organized by Schlafly Beer at their Bottleworks location, 7260 Southwest Avenue, at Manchester. The fair’s mission is to increase public knowledge and appreciation for the local art scene by creating opportunities that connect artists, musicians, performers, and the community.

Admission to the event is free. Sunday hours are noon to 4 pm.

My favorite artist booths to visit:

Sarah Giannobile, Booth #41

Teriko, Booth #43

Alicia LaChance & Amanda Verbeck, Booth #17

If you bring the kiddies, The South City Open Studio and Gallery and Yucandu Art Studio will provide art activities.

Choice September arts events in St. Louis

September ushers in some incredible arts events in St. Louis. Here are a few recommendations:

FORM 2010

Be sure to check out The Luminary Center for the Arts‘ contemporary furniture, object, and architectural design exhibition August 13 and 14. On August 14, there will be several do it yourself design workshops as well.

FORM 2010 is a fundraiser for The Luminary Center for the Arts, a nonprofit artist resourcing organization that that seeks to provide meaningful support to emerging artists, audiences and appreciators in the St. Louis area. Proceeds from FORM will be used for a new artist equipment library at The Luminary, which will provide area artists and creative professionals with access to specialized equipment such as a woodshop, media lab, film and video equipment, and large format printers.

VIP Preview Night tickets for August 13 (7 to 10 pm) are $25 in advance or $30 at the door.

General tickets for August 14 (11 am to 4 pm) are $7 in advance or $10 at the door.

Some of the featured exhibitors include:

SPACE Architecture + Design
DesignSpeak STL
Studio | Durham Architects
CONFLUENCE Design | Fabrication
Mails Woodwork
Designer Jordan Hicks
Designer Jill Nichols

Ideas for socializing your child

The hiding behind the leg, looking down at the floor, the sudden interest in a nearby leaf… Would you say that your child is shy? Just don’t call her/him that too much or it will become a label to hide even more behind.

In case you haven’t yet explored ways to get your little one socialized or are looking for some new approaches (some of us don’t have kiddies up and down the block or loads of  nearby cousins in our backyard), here are some ideas.

1. Kindermusik classes: Look for teachers in your area who have received the “Maestro” Award from Kindermusik International. They are usually exceptional teachers. Kindermusik’s curriculum makes a lot of sense, integrating movement, rhythm, singing, dancing, patterning, socialization, and more. The only drawback is the cost. Kindermusik classes are often $18+ for a 45 minute session. It’s worth it though if you can only afford one paid class.

2. Music Together classes: I haven’t personally tried these classes before, but several of my “cool, urban” parent friends who have their kids listen to Hendrix love them.

3. Gymboree classes: If you live in a super cold/hot location, Gymboree classes can be good indoor socialization environments. The Play and Learn classes are usually excellent (although I’m sure the consistency of them differs from location to location). I have not been impressed with the Music or Art classes though. Gymboree classes are about $65/month depending on where you live. They have flexible make-up classes.

4. Storytimes at local libraries, Barnes & Noble, and Borders

5. Moms Groups: Join to meet new people, help introduce your child to group play settings, and discover new play areas of your city. Many of the local chapters offer 3+ events a week and you are free to go to as few or as many as your schedule allows. We’ve gone on tours of the fire station, Trader Joe’s, egg hunts, theater events, and more. Many of these organizations often charge a fee of around $25 for the year. Well worth it!


The Mommies Network

MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers)

6. Parents as Teachers (PAT): Local affiliates of this national organization can be found across the country and vary in scope and funding. PAT is a good place to learn about early intervention assessments, preschools, play groups, kids classes, and more.

7. Your local mall: many have indoor play areas (often right next to a tempting Starbucks) where kids can climb, spin, run, and roam. I’ve met many interesting Moms and Dads in the play areas.

8. Local museums and zoos (even better–a children’s museum if you are lucky to live near one): Many museums, botanical gardens, and zoos have extensive education programs for toddlers, preschoolers, and school age kids.

9. Whole Foods: Many Whole Foods locations have Kids Club Coordinators and offer storytimes, crafts, and even yoga classes. For some events, advance registration is required. After you find your local Whole Foods store, go to their events calendar for details.

10. Universities: Many universities offer continuing education courses that feature cooking, dance, yoga, art, music, gardening, and more for toddlers, preschoolers, and school age children. These classes are usually reasonably priced and frequently taught by incredibly over qualified people.

11. Water spray parks: When it is HOT outside, these water spray parks (usually city or county parks) are fun opportunities for your quiet child to see kids going crazy. These parks are generally free and don’t take as much planning or preparation as a trip to the pool.

Things to Do | July 9-11

Looking for something FREE to do this weekend? Here are a few of my favorites.

Ann Hamilton’s Stylus piece at the Pulitzer Foundation for the Arts |  Opening reception Friday, July 9 at 5 pm OR Saturday, July 10, 10 am to 5 pm*

I have yet to read anything that makes much cohesive sense as to what this work is really about so just go and experience it in person. Ann Hamilton is an internationally known artist whose multi-media installations have addressed ideas of process, time, place, and voice among other themes. There is always something startlingly evocative, beautiful, and memorable about all of her work. The opening reception is the evening of July 16 but the exhibition runs through January 22, 2011. Read more about Stylus at the Pulitzer Foundation for the Arts blog (shared with the Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis).

The Pulitzer Foundation for the Arts hours and location information

*The Pulitzer Foundation for the Arts is only open Wednesdays and Saturdays to the public.

Citygarden Fabulous Flamingo Festival | Saturday, July 10, 2 to 4 pm (not good for those with afternoon nappers unfortunately!)

If you want somewhere to cool off, St. Louis’s Citygarden is the perfect place. Clean designs, beautiful and playful fountains, sculptures, and fun people watching, this park area/sculpture garden is great for kids and adults. In celebration of its first birthday, Citygarden presents its very own “Flamingo Festival,” filled with a costume parade and contest (come dressed as a flamingo), prizes, refreshments, story tellers, live music, and a stilt walker. Note: the nearby cafe, The Terrace View, is super convenient, has great service, and is reasonably priced. Too bad the food is so blah.

Read about Tom Otterness’s sculpture and other works in the garden.

Citygarden hours and location information

Tilles Park Children’s Playground |  10 am to 8 pm daily

Tilles Park has a wonderful children’s playground and a water spray park. There are two separate age appropriate playground structures, a swing set, lots of objects to climb on, pretty clean bathrooms, outdoor musical instruments, a sand box, and some seating areas. The water spray park area is excellent for hot days. Just don’t forget towels and lots of sunscreen. There are limited shady areas in the children’s park. Ample parking is a plus.

Read it again!

There are an enormous number of free story times (or story based events that also incorporate songs, movement, and/or crafts) in the St. Louis region, specially tailored for toddlers and preschoolers. These events are a great way to meet new people, socialize your child, learn about new books, and well, get out of the house. Here are a few resources for this summer and beyond.


St. Louis County Libraries

St. Louis Public Libraries

Kirkwood Public Library (Note: They will open at their renovated location on July 17)

Webster Groves Public Library

Rock Hill Public Library

University City Public Library


Missouri History Museum’s Summer Family Fun Series

Missouri Botanical Garden’s Little Sprouts Classes (class session, not drop-in)


Borders: Sunset Hills

Borders: Brentwood

Borders: Creve Coeur

Borders: St. Louis South County

Barnes & Noble: West County Mall

Barnes & Noble: Crestwood

Subterranean Books

June 19-20 Weekend Events

It’s oh so hot and humid in St. Louis right now. Here are some cool events for the weekend of June 19-20.

Bill Viola’s Visitation video installation opens at the St. Louis Art Museum on Sunday, June 20. The work was inspired by devotional art of the Middle Ages and explores universal themes of life and death, faith and sorrow, heaven and earth. Bill Viola’s pieces are often mesmerizing, a little disturbing, and meditative. Take the time to ponder this one. (Hm… and don’t bring your 10 and under child to the Viola installation. Probably a bit on the nightmare feeding side of things.)

Vatican Splendors at the Missouri History Museum. This exhibition features rare paintings, mosaics, frescoes, maps, artifacts, and other historical documents from the Vatican–many never seen outside of Rome. When I was at the Vatican Museum a few years ago, I was swept along by the swarms of people trying to get to the Sistine Chapel that I never did get to see most of the museum’s artifacts up close. Here’s a wonderful opportunity to experience a bit of history.

KIDDIE FRIENDLY: The Magic House opens their new exhibit space, Children’s Village Hospital, this Sunday, June 20. My daughter is infatuated with giving all of her stuffed animals shots and then putting painter’s tape (band-aids) on them that we’re sure to visit this exhibit soon. Let your little doctor explore a pretend hospital nursery and get decked out in scrubs and lab coats. No insurance required.

A Little Lunch Music (FREE)

Opera Theatre of St. Louis presents free Monday concerts that feature some of the young artists in the company’s current productions. Since it’s free, no worries about leaving early if your preschooler gets squirmy.

June 14, 2010 at 12:30 pm
June 21, 2010 at 12:30 pm

Summer Fun at the Missouri History Museum

The Missouri History Museum is offering free family activities June 11 through July 30. The kids series includes performances, storytelling, and arts/crafts related to the museum’s current exhibitions. The programs start at 10:30 am and 11:30 am on Tuesday and Fridays. The earlier one is perfect for preschoolers before (hopefully) nap time.

Be sure to catch performances by Babaloo on June 15 and Radio Disney on June 22.