Some of the most fun things to do this holiday season in Dallas, with your family. GIVEAWAY for a stay at the Hilton Anatole and more. Click, read, comment, and share!Read More
Life in DFW
My life as a wife and mom in the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex and all things fun about it!
Filtering by Tag: dallas museum of art
Summer at Dallas Arts District is always fun. You can start the day pondering upon incredible artworks at the DMA and then chill at Klyde-Warren park both without paying for admission! Here's a look of what these two downtown gems have got to offer!Read More
One of the first places that we visited when we first got to Dallas last year was the Dallas Museum of Art. In fact we visited the DMA on our 3rd day here, carrying J around without a stroller, riding a bus and a train from Irving to downtown Dallas, sweating under the blazing Texan sun. What drew us to the museum? Its free admission of course :) Not gonna lie, for a young family who had just moved to another country on a tight budget, we needed something fun and free to do ( and I think we still do, haha, no matter how much money we make). We signed up for the 'DMA Friend' program rightaway and since then, we've been coming back for more, why? See, it's really not that easy to find 'something to do' for kids that are in J's age group. Programs offered at museums, libraries, and parks are usually for kids who are 3 years old and up. So when I found out that DMA offers a program called 'Art Baby', I was thrilled!
I didn't know that early learners like J could be inspired, stimulated, and taught in a museum through art works created by legendary artists whose names I can't even pronounce! That idea itself seems so fancy, but it actually works!
I have posted a little story on the experience a few months ago, but I felt like I needed to know more. And last week, I finally got the chance to meet the brilliant and kind-hearted lady behind the museum's early learning programs, Leah Hanson.
"When I started working here back in 2008, we've only had programs that were designed for pre-schoolers. But I had noticed that these kids would always come with their younger brothers or sisters that were also curious and eager to learn. We then created a toddler class in 2009. But then again, they would also come with their younger siblings who were eager to learn but had no programs designed for them. So in summer 2013, we decided to do a trial class for babies. We announced it on facebook and got positive response, with about 100 people signing up. The program was then officially launched in January 2014."
As I recalled, the classes were focused more on exploring the artworks in one particular exhibition of the museum. I remember observing the sculptures in the Asian exhibition and doing yoga with J, 1 hour in total. But the class' format changed in fall 2014. We started to spend only 30 minutes in the gallery and the remaining 30 minutes playing it the art studio. Sounds more fun right? J loves it!
He gets to play with lightbox (in the pic above), exotic musical instruments, and even edible paints made of yoghurt!
Yeah, he got the yoghurt all over his pants (and my sweater). Anything for the sake of learning right? Laundry can wait.
Anyway, what changed the format of the class? What inspired Leah to do things differently in the baby class?
"A trip to the UK," Leah said, where she gathered inspiration from local museums. One of the most inspiring ones was a museum in Manchester where they carry out the Reggio Emilia approach.
Say what??? What is that? Okay in a nutshell, Reggio Emilia approach is an approach (well duh, well it's important to call it an approach because is not a curriculum) that was founded by Loris Malaguzzi in the Italian city of Reggio Emilia after the World War II. It focuses more on getting children to learn through experiences of touching, moving, listening, and observing. Those who practice this approach also believe in the "100 languages of children" -- which refer to the many ways of children expressing themselves.
"In this approach, children are taught with natural light, colorful objects and art is a big part of it," she continued. "Keep in mind that kids understand way more than they can express. And even when they can't verbalize their thoughts, they can still express it through other things like art (their doodles, for example)."
One of the ways to practice Reggio Emilia approach is also by letting the kids play with the real stuff that we actually use on our daily life, and not the plastic version of it. "That's why we place real bakeware sets on the studio floor so the kids can play with them at the Art Baby class," she explained.
Through exploring art, kids can develop fine motor control. And you can see their progress not just on what they make but how they make it. Leah, who graduated from George Washington University's Museum Education program, also encourages us parents to "pay attention to what your kids are drawn to". Look for the color and object (in paintings or other artworks) that catch their attention the next time you take them to the museum or any other cultural places.
Children are so curious, everything they do is learning. It is us who think museums are not for them. The truth is, they are! We just have to know what to look for and what to do, and most of all, to have fun whenever we visit these cultural places."
Wow, I am so glad that I talked to her. How amazing was that quote above? It is us adults that often limit our kids and the places they can visit. They are not too young to observe and learn. Remember that :)
Besides, Leah also mentioned that taking babies to cultural places will teach them to build the connection between the real thing and the idea in a picture. So describe the objects you find in artworks especially the ones that are familiar to your kids (like trees, flowers, animals, or people). Even if they don't say anything back, keep talking, using grown up words like "turquoise" and "fuschia" when you describe the colors, instead of just saying "green" or "pink".
How about the busy toddlers? How do we handle them? The former highschool teacher told me that the key is to slow them down. "Make a game out of your museum visit! Tell them to look for their favorite color or their favorite piece in the exhibition." she suggested.
As for the Art Baby Class itself, there are more exciting stuff coming up so if you are a Dallasite or planning to visit the city, please check the DMA web or their blog and join the class! We are going to explore different materials, artworks and installations this year (she even told me that there will be an installation with balloons, coins, and other interesting materials exhibited soon)!
Growing up mostly with Disney's interpretation of the story, kids would normally be surprised when I told them that this is a painting of Cinderella. I heard one kid actually said 'but her hair is not yellow!' But it's actually pretty obvious, because you can see her step sisters getting dressed right there on the left side while she is just sitting there in front of the fireplace (from which she got her name, Cinderella). I usually ask the kids, 'When did this take place? before or after the ball?' It's interesting to hear their answers.
How about you? What do you think?
Heard about the event at the last minute (thanks to Karen & Caesar), we are definitely glad that we came to the 2014 Art District's Fall Block Party despite the Friday night's traffic. It took us about 20 minutes to get here, and by then, North Harwood Street was already packed with visitors who were in line for the food trucks. I'm talkin' bout Nammi Truck, Guava Tree, Ruthie's, Paciugo Gelato, and tons of others, including the ones that had already parked at Klyde-Warren Park.
Good thing was, the public parking area on Ross Ave & North Olive St still got enough space for us charging only $5 for the whole evening. When we arrived, there was a group of Latin musician playing in front of the DMA's Flora st entrance. People were dancing, eating, while waiting for the Dallas Maverick's drumline performance to start.
There by the fountain on the right, the Mavs street team, dancers, and drumline squad gave an entertaining performance. We enjoyed it with a cup of Paciugo's vanilla & panna cotta gelato. HEAVEN!!!!
We then met up with Karen, Caesar and their son Benjamin at Nasher Sculpture garden, where popsicles were being sold, French & European music was spun by DJ Wild in the Streets, and string lights were being lit up. There's just something so magical about string lights that never fails to mesmerize me. Aaahhh...what a perfect setting. (I haven't been out this late on Friday night since the baby, na mean? so I got pretty excited).
This is the "Spun" chair. Designer Thomas Heatherwick's interpretation of a lazy-boy chair. They were displayed as a part of his exhibition that goes on till January 4, 2015. It kinda reminds me of that thing Leo Di Caprio spins on the movie Inception. Right?
When it got darker, more people came and claimed their 'picnic' spots. Meanwhile their instagram feed with the hashtag #tillmidnight, #dmanights, and #heatherwick were displayed on a huge screen. Later that night, there was also a movie screening of the 2010's The Illusionist. We didn't make it to the screening, cause it was at 10 p.m. and J's got an early morning swim class the next day. So we decided to stroll around the beautiful One Arts Plaza.
There by the entrance, we enjoyed free jazz music, some good talk with our friends, and a wet quality time with J (as always). He couldn't help but to get on the water as soon as he saw it.
Benjamin (the boy on the right) was loving it too. Ah boys :)
Heading back to the parking lot, we took a walk through Ross Ave., staring at Mr.Man's potential future office, praying that one day, when the time is right, we'd get to move downtown. But until then, Las Colinas is more than enough for us.
Next stop, Plano Balloon Festival :)
A museum! At least for a Texan summer playdate that is. Last week the heat was up to 104 degrees F, and it was becoming such a pain to spend time anywhere outdoor. So I decided to take my parents to one of the best museums I've been to so far, Perot Museum of Nature & Science. Loaded with tons of educative information that are showcased in a fun and interactive way, the 4-floor museum is suitable for anyone from babies to grandparents.
They got this little cafe on level 1 (where the entrance is) with both indoor & outdoor area.
Facing the cafe, is this little garden with man-made streams flowing around it (kids love to get wet here!) and a leap frog play area. They also got a little outdoor music pavilion where visitors can play their little song.
Origami hanging garland at the entrance area.
Get ready to queue and pay $15/person. Thanks to my friend, Ivana, we got to enter for free (she's a member, she pays about 100 dollars per year to get it as often as she wants for free). If you're bringing a baby or a toddler, head straight to the lower level (LL) and play around the awesome Moody Family Children's Museum, where you can find a miniature of the city of Dallas.
This is where my baby makes friends. Once he's old enough, I get to bring him to the sand pond outside (in front of the stairs on the background of the pic).
J playing architect with Dad and my brother. He loves stacking blocks and throw them around.
And another making friends moment :)
If you are into art, you can definitely check out one of our favorites as well, Dallas Museum of Art where the entrance is FREE!! We are soo excited to join its art class for babies and toddlers next month! Details click here.