Summer in the City, Indoors

Too hot?  Rainy?  We’ve got you covered for some fun things to do with kids–inside!

Art

My approach to art education is to get kids in front of art early and often.  I’m always amazed at how my kids will respond to what’s in front of them, and, on one trip to the AGO, when they were given white play dough and coloured pencils to take inside, I got inspiration for how to approach museum and gallery visits: create the creations.

Now, whenever we go to a gallery, we take along our sketchbooks and the kids pick a picture, park and draw.  (Check with the gallery to see what materials are allowed.  I once had to buy an expensive set of pencils from the gift shop because our markers were not allowed!)  Having them occupied with their own creations means not only are they inspired to make their own art, but I get time to enjoy the art on display myself.

I can’t say enough good things about the AGO.  There is great programming for kids, and the current Emily Carr exhibit, From the Forest to the Sea, is a great one for families and is included with General Admission.  Younger children will appreciate the bold strokes and colours of her landscapes, and you can talk with your older kids about the haunting emptiness of so many of her paintings: the effects of disease and a mammoth logging industry that came with European colonization.

"Scorned as Timber, Beloved of the Sky" Emily Carr

“Scorned as Timber, Beloved of the Sky” Emily Carr

We recently went to check out the Andy Warhol: Revisited exhibit at a pop-up gallery at 77 Bloor Street West, where you can meet Queen Elizabeth, Marilyn Monroe, Mickey Mouse and John Wayne.  The exhibit will rotate over 120 of Warhol’s pieces from the Revolver Gallery over its run, which ends December 31, 2015.  Tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for students and kids.  Find out more at Warhol Revisited.

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Museums

Right down the street from Andy Warhol is the ROM, where you could spend all of a rainy day and more.  And it’s not just dinosaurs!  Follow up on seeing Emily Carr’s totem poles by seeing two of the real things, housed in the museum stairwell, a three-storey space designed to house them and allow you to get right up close to the amazing work.

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Movies

Next week, we will be reviewing a wordless picture book.  It’s not much of a stretch, really, but what about a wordless movie?!  I took the kids along to see a preview Shaun the Sheep without knowing very much about the series on which the movie was based.  I honestly did not notice that the movie was wordless until about half way through!  The visual gags are so great, and the Claymation so engaging, that I didn’t even notice the absence of dialogue.  We took along a friend who loves the tv show, and he found the movie to be a great extension of the franchise he loves, but, as my experience demonstrates, no previous experience is necessary!  Shaun the Sheep will be released in Canada on August 7.

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My Book About Me

imgres-1Spending time outdoors is a must during the fleeting summer months so when the rains come being stuck indoors with three boys can try the patience of a saint.

Much to the chagrin of my oldest son, I am not a craft mom.  Our craft cupboard is a sad collection of things I have picked up from the dollar store and anything that has been gifted to him over the years from his more creative aunts.  So crafting in our house only lasts so long.

Much to my chagrin, the boys don’t want to spend rainy days curled up with books for hours on end, reading silently.  In fact the only way for me to enjoy solitary, daytime reading is relaxing my “no Wii” during the weekdays rule and that is a slippery slope.

My Book About Me has proven to be this summer’s favourite rainy day past time.

My Book About Me is written by Me, Myself with some help from my friends Dr. Seuss and Roy Mc Kie.

That’s right.  Written my Me, Myself.  Or in most cases, by your child, about themselves.

The book starts off fairly benign.

First of all there is one thing you should know.

Am I a boy?

Or am I a girl?

Well, I’ll tell you.

I am a __________________ (write your answer here).

I weigh ____________ pounds.

How tall am I?  I am ______ feet, _________ inches tall.

Pages and pages capture information about the here and now of your child’s life but of course things quickly get silly in that delightful Dr. Seuss way.

I can make noises, (check all that apply)

Like a rooster

Like a dog

Like a cat

Like a goat

Like a sheep

Like a goose

Like a train

My family loves my noises. Yes or No?

The boys work away on their books independently, and every once in a while I hear a giggle or a rooster noise.

Once completed these books will hold a special place on our shelves as a snapshot of who my boys were when they were 5 and 6 years old . . .

And their wobbly, misshapen letters will continue to tug at my heartstrings long after they are too big to sit in my lap and discuss the merits of life as a giraffe.*

*I wish I were a giraffe/ I am glad I’m not a giraffe.  Check one.