Monday, 26 August 2013 08:50

Back At It: Here are some fun things to do even after the kiddies have returned to school

Written by  Missy Black
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Pop quiz: School has started so the party is over, right? Not so. We gathered some activities that are fun (and snuck in some schoolin').

Live Mannequin Night

Downtown Holland
Sept. 20, 7-8:30 p.m.
Free, (616) 796-1210

This year's super cool Children's Literature theme is sure to get kids inspired to read more while mommy is inspired to shell out the cash and shop. Taking the "two birds with one stone" approach, Downtown Holland businesses connect literature with their specific store and add in live models for a hoot of a time peeking through windows. Kids will love the creative process and art form. "There are so many opportunities with children's books," Event Planner Cynthia Hagedorn said. "It's like curating a gallery showing that just happens to be downtown." Put on by the Principle Shopping District, you can expect anywhere from 40 to 50 stores that get in the spirit with 100 to 150 live models (wait 'til the kids figure that one out) that culminate into quirky commerce and exposure for stores with a wacky twist of entertainment. Moynihan Gallery, Alpen Rose Restaurant and Tip Toes are just a few of the venues to visit. Go as a family and fall in love again with some of your favorite stories, characters and settings. 

Family Art Day
Downtown Grand Haven
Sept. 21, parade starts at 10 a.m.

It's a day for the family and the arts at the Waterfront Stadium, where canvas painting, live entertainment and free food are offered. This event features interactive painting for children with participating ArtWalk artists—and let's get real, what child isn't into art? Children's works will be displayed for the community, but the big kickoff to all this creativity starts with a bike parade. Bikers "artistically modify their bike," says Allison Revell, marketing and promotions coordinator. "Kids will love doing up their bike prior to the parade and check out what everybody else has done." At the end of the parade, the community votes in different age groups all the way up to an adult category—so no slacking, moms and dads. Event organizers ask that you register your bike so they can get an idea of how many people are planning on joining the fun. This event is all about "teaching the younger generations to appreciate the artistic community and artistic works. It's a platform they can easily understand and work on themselves."

Grandmother Power: A Global Phenomenon
The Grand Rapids Public Museum
272 Pearl St. NW, Grand Rapids
Sept. 6-Feb. 2
$8/adults, $3/ages 3 to 18, free admission/ages 2 & under, (616) 456-3977

We learn a lot from our grandmothers. The Grand Rapids Public Museum knows this and shares the powerful role of the grandmother at large around the world and right here in our city. The grandmother photography exhibit showcases images and stories of grandmothers worldwide who are acting courageously and effectively to create a better future for grandchildren everywhere. "It's something totally different," said Kate Moore, director of marketing and public relations. Highlighting grandmas as part of an activist movement is "taking a little bit of a risk with topics that aren't mainstream, but barrier breaking to the museum." Issues are real and powerful and a great learning experience for students as these wise grandmothers make a huge difference in the world. One example is grandmothers in India that are becoming solar engineers making it safe to walk their village at night and providing light so midwives can effectively deliver babies at night. Look for related programming such as lunch lectures about education, health issues, the environment or the arts.

Pets & Kids: A Happy and Safe Relationship
Kent District Library, Caledonia Township Branch
6260 92nd St. SE, Caledonia
Sept. 17, 6:30-7:30 p.m.
Free, (616) 784-2007

Family time can be learning time, too with this information session at the Kent District Library's Caledonia Branch. This one-hour presentation from the Humane Society of West Michigan features a session for parents and a concurrent session for kids. Moms and dads learn how to read signs of stress in animals, find out what animal might be best for the family and discuss how to solve behavioral issues. Children play safely with an education dog and learn how to be safe around animals (including animals they don't know) and about dog bite prevention. "People coming are probably in the stage of getting a pet and it's a great chance to learn more," says Branch Manager Liz Guarino. "People often go into getting a pet without understanding the full responsibility—it's a lifetime commitment." Pre-registration is required for this fun and interactive program, and space is limited.

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