October 30, 2008

Get out there and play

Tomorrow is Halloween, but it isn’t the only holiday to celebrate this weekend. Nov. 1 and 2 mark the celebration of the Day of the Dead—or Dia de los Muertos in Spanish. Families celebrate their lost friends and relatives during the holiday, dedicated to prayer and remembrance, by placing pictures, favorite foods and sugar skulls—called offeranda—on altars.

In honor of the holiday, the National Museum of Mexican Art, 1852 W. 19th St., Chicago, will host a Day of the Dead Community Night as part of the 22nd annual Dia de los Muertos exhibition,"La Vida Sin Fin.” The exhibit is meant to honor the students killed by the Mexican government 10 days before the 1968 Summer Olympics.

Part of the tradition of the offeranda is the offering of decorated sugar skulls for the spirits of the deceased. During Saturday’s event, the Mondragón family will make sugar skulls, a craft they have been practicing for more than 40 years in Mexico. The sugar skulls can be purchased, and names can be added to the skulls. Skull prices vary from 45 cents-. Another Day of the Dead staple is pan de muerto or Day of the Dead bread. The sweet bread is shaped in circular loaves with strips of dough across the top to resemble bones. Mexican hot chocolate will also be served.

Day of the Dead Community Night is free from 6-8 p.m. Saturday. For more information, call (312) 738-1503, or visit nationalmuseumofmexicanart.org.

Art courtesy of the National Museum of Mexican Art.

Get your tickets here

Meet Leopold Mozart, the father of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, this weekend when you win tickets to see“Leaping Leopold! The Mozart Show” at Chicago Shakespeare Theater on Navy Pier, 600 E. Grand Ave., Chicago. Three lucky Chicago Parent readers will win family five-packs to see the Chicago Chamber Musicians team up with Chicago Shakespeare Theater during the performance Saturday, Nov. 8 at 10 a.m. For more information, visit chicagochambermusic.org or chicagoshakes.com. To win visit our discussion board.

Get out there and play some more

Your kids love rocking out to the latest teeny-bopper tunes, so why not introduce them to the music that preceded it all—classical music. The Chamber Concert Series at Morton Arboretum is a great place to start and to teach your kids about the various instruments.

This Sunday, the series will kick off its“Winter’s Ballad” series with the CCM BRASS, a brass quintet featuring tuba, trombone, trumpets and horn. The quintet will cover selections from Johan Sebastian Bach, Verne Reynolds, Aaron Copland and Leonard Bernstein. Do a little research with your kids beforehand to help them pick out the different sounds the instruments make as well as a little background on the composers.

Upcoming concerts include a comparison of antique and modern music through violins with the Callisto Ensemble Dec. 7, a performance of period pieces ranging from Renaissance to contemporary with The Minneapolis Guitar Quartet Jan. 11, a look at English composers of the 17th century with the Chicago Early Music Consort Feb. 1 and a tour through Italian sonatas through harpsichord, pipe organ, fortepiano and piano with the Callipygian Players March 1. For more information on all upcoming performances, visit the Web site.

The Morton Arboretum is located at I-88 and Rt. 53 in Lisle. The concerts are best suited for kids 11 and up. Individual chamber concert tickets are , a series ticket is 0 and Arboretum members get discounts. For more information or to order tickets call (630) 725-2066 or visit mortonarb.org (under Events and Activities). Tickets are also available at the Visitor Center or via mail order.

Inside fun

If you’re a new Chicago parent, or just added a little bundle of joy to your family, head over to the Renaissance Schaumburg Hotel& Convention Center, 1551 N. Thoreau Drive, Schaumburg, for the American Baby Faire. The faire gives parents and grandparents a chance to check out the latest in baby products and services, as well as providing your little ones with some entertainment.

The faire hosts more than 100 exhibitors including StrollerFit, Babies“R” Us, Fisher-Price and Chicco. Learn how to use your baby to lose weight and make sure you’re properly using your car seat during free demonstrations. Visit the Kenmore Kids’ Kitchen to meet founder of MomAdvice.com Amy Clark and learn how to prepare family- and budget-friendly recipes as well as holiday craft ideas. Don’t forget to stop by the Chicago Parent booth #723 for a goody bag.

Test your little ones’ crawling skills at the Babies“R” Us Baby Derby, which occurs every hour. Winning babies will take home bragging rights while their parents will receive a Babies“R” Us gift card. Take advantage of a few quiet moments while your family watches as life-size books come to life in a storytelling musical of Pocahontas, Aladdin and Cinderella. Burn off some of that extra energy at the Chicco Rodeo where your little cowboys and cowgirls of the toddler variety will race toy horses around the‘rodeo track.’ Have your little ones wear their Halloween costumes to be entered into a prize drawing.

The 12th Annual American Baby Faire Chicago is 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Nov. 1 and 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Nov. 2. Admission is , children under 12 and grandparents are free. Discount admission coupons are available at local Babies“R” Us stores. For more information, call (877) 959-BABY (2229) or visit americanbabyfaire.com.

Piece of the prize

This week, three lucky Chicago Parent readers will win a My First Tool Kit from TONKA. My First Tool Kit is intended for children older than 18 months. For more information, visit hasbro.com/tonka. Read Chicago Parent’s product review in Parents Know Best, here. To win, visit our discussion board.

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