Festivals of fun

I’ve never considered taking my children to an art festival. When I look at art, I want to enjoy it, not be peppered with comments like,"Are we done now?” or"This is sooo boring, Mom.”

But taking kids to an art festival can be a great learning experience, says Amy Amdur, mom of two and president of Amdur Productions, which produces many art festivals throughout Chicagoland (a full schedule can be found at www.amdurproductions.com)."With parent interaction, kids can have a great time at an art festival,” she says.

Before attending an art fest, work with your youngest children on their basic colors. Once they have them mastered, move on to more creative colors like raspberry or periwinkle.

“Have your child pick a favorite color and point it out as you walk through the festival. It keeps them physically involved. And if they get bored, switch to a new color,” Amdur says.

“Another fun game at an art festival is I Spy,” says Rachel Weaver Rivera, mom of two and owner of Imagine Art Studio in Hinsdale. Play at each booth so your kids are really taking in the items the artist has to offer.

Or use the festival to conduct a scavenger hunt. At all of the Amdur Production art festivals, kids can pick up an Art Fest Bingo card. Once the card is filled, kids can enter a drawing to win an art book.

Many art festivals have interactive booths. Take advantage of this great opportunity to teach your kids about art and make it real for them.

“Kids get inspired by art and want to make it,” Weaver Rivera says.

Encourage your kids to ask the artists questions. Do they want to know how a particular piece was created? Engage the artist, who will be more than happy to share their craft."But remember to ask the artist first before touching a piece,” Amdur says."It’s good art etiquette.”

If your kids are interested in art, follow up with a class or two. Even a little exposure will increase their visual acuity whether or not it becomes a lifelong passion.

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