Thursday, 20 December 2012 11:28

Game On!: Keep the kids busy as we heard toward spring

Written by  Missy Black
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January has that NOW WHAT!? desperation to it. The holiday mania is over and there's a depressing slow creep toward spring. Keep the kids busy dreaming, doing and basking in that New-Year feeling with some activities that get them creating, crafting and experiencing highs. The Grand Rapids Symphony and the Kalamazoo Valley Museum reach those heights with video games set to breathtaking music and the wonders and mysteries of science. And at the UICA, a family time capsule workshop is a great bonding experience and the perfect spot to stick some photos, random items and knickknacks.

574 Ada Dr. SE, Ada
Jan. 5, 1:30-2:30 p.m.
$2/per person, (616) 856-5660

Bring some glam to a month that needs a little pizzazz. Part of Dreamspun's Glam Series, the Pearl Cuff Workshop features a tutorial on how to make an item with all the supplies you need. "Instead of running around town gathering all the supplies, we have it all ready for you. You just show up," said Owner Korrie Ottenwess. A fun and fashionable way for girls to spend time with their mothers, this workshop is also a low cost way to create something special. Cuffs are, "super in style and a girly project that's easy to make but really cute when worn." Workshops are geared toward elementary-aged children. In order for girls to be successful, basic craft skills such as making knots and using scissors are needed. Can't make the Jan. 5 date? Look for workshop dates in the future including Rhinestone Barretts Jan. 12 followed by Chunky Pearls Jan. 19 and Pearl Combs Jan. 26. Pre-registration is required.

DeVos Performance Hall
303 Monroe Ave. NW, Grand Rapids
Jan. 29, 7:30 p.m.
$32-$90, (616) 454-9451

The Grand Rapids Symphony brings the dramatic and mystical music from video games and synchronizes it with beautiful digital montages on three high definition screens. "We found the gaming industry really values music and holds it to high quality and standards and has discovered certain names within the composing world," said Jacalyn Wood with the Grand Rapids Symphony. "It includes visuals, which is very important for today's youth, to have that engagement." Music from "Final Fantasy," "Legend of Zelda," "HALO" and "World of Warcraft," combine interests of parents and children, while they take in an inventive and breathtaking performance. "These games are works of art, how they are animated and digitalized, and the music is a big part of that," Wood said. The namedropping fun continues with "Sonic the Hedgehog," "Super Mario Brothers" and "The Chronicles of Riddick."

Kalamazoo Valley Museum
230 N. Rose St., Kalamazoo
Jan. 19, 1-4 p.m.
Free, (269) 772-3370

A fun day of science awaits you at the Kalamazoo Valley Museum. Children can enjoy a combination of demonstrations relating to chemistry, biology and physics. This very hands-on event finds kids creating and exploring, making play dough and gak (a slime-type substance) and more. "Winter is always a great time to do science," said Annette Hoppenworth, programs coordinator. "People are looking at ice and cold and there's so much you can do with that in science." The museum also has a science gallery that's divided into three sections: the human body, technology and energy. "Parents get excited just as much as the kids. They remember doing experiments." Take a moment and enjoy all the mysteries of science.

Urban Institute for Contemporary Arts
2 W. Fulton, Grand Rapids
Jan. 5, 1-4 p.m.
$2/members, $5/non-members, (616) 454-7000

If you cannot bear the thought of another Saturday afternoon cooped up in the house with the kids, here's your ticket to something quirky and different. Bring in the New Year by commemorating the present and crafting up a family time capsule out of clay at the Urban Institute for Contemporary Arts. Families can explore the idea of building a time capsule together and "brainstorm different words and images they want outside the capsule that's meaningful to their family," said Becca Guyette, director of educational programs. The event ties into the Utopia/Dystopia exhibition, where artists imagine the future. Kids will love the chance (any chance!) to get their hands dirty with clay. "It's a medium that kids really respond to and being in the studio is a good experience too, having the family work together on a project." The big question? When will you open it?

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