One of the greatest gifts my parents gave me is an appreciation for art. My childhood was filled with trips to museums and galleries. But keeping very young children occupied in front of a masterpiece can take some creative thinking. My parents used to dress me in pajamas for art openings, knowing I’d fall asleep in the gallery. I often hid under the hors d’oeuvre table. At one opening, the daughter of an artist got a hold of some bandannas and we amused ourselves making costumes. Wouldn’t it be great if going to the museum was as fun as say a trip to the circus? Maybe it can be at the Taft Museum of Art.
Every third Sunday of the month is a Funday at the Taft. In June, I took my son Dorian for a day of circus-themed activities. The festivities began on the museum terrace. It’s a lovely outdoor space shaded by a tent so we truly were under the big top. Performers with My Nose Turns Red youth circus dazzled the kids with tricks. Dorian perched on his dad’s shoulders watching with bated breath as two boys juggled clubs. Like many young children, he often seems awestruck by the abilities of older kids. They peddled around on unicycles, balanced on stilts and spun plates. Best of all, they taught the audience tricks. Some of the children tried their hand at the juggling balls, or balancing plates on a stick. Dorian mostly dragged around a Hula-Hoop.
In keeping with the spirit of art appreciation, each Funday includes a craft. Museum staff provided us with supplies to make a circus animal out of construction paper. For some reason Dorian chose to make a keyboard (with help from dad). Perhaps he wanted to play in the circus band. There was also face painting and although Dorian didn’t sit still long enough to participate, he enjoyed watching other children transform into lions, tigers and clowns.
Funday activities are probably best suited for younger children, but older siblings will find plenty to enjoy at the Taft. Downton Abbey lovers will want to check out Dressing Downton: Changing Fashion for Changing Times. The exhibition runs through September 25. Tickets must be purchased in advance. Visiting on a Funday is a great way to explore the museum’s exhibitions and permanent collection while taking timeout for fun.
Upcoming Fundays promise to be full of magic and Olympic feats. Sunday, July 17 features Magic in the Air with magician Brett Spears. Sunday, August 21 features the Summer Art Games with competitions to get you in the Olympic spirit and a performance by Wump Mucket Puppets.
Third Sunday Fundays are from 1-4 p.m. on the third Sunday of each month at the Taft Museum of Art. Funday admission and parking are free.
Selena Reder is a mother, writer and part-time video producer living in Cincinnati, Ohio with her son Dorian and husband Tim. Dorian loves chasing Selena and Tim’s tailless cat, making messes for dad to clean up, squealing loud enough for the neighbors to hear and staring at strangers until it’s uncomfortable. Tim loves Dungeons and Dragons, Margaret Atwood and writing meticulous grocery lists.
Selena loves washing cloth diapers, binging on British TV (Top Gear, Only Fools and Horses, Doc Martin, etc) painting and knitting super fancy baby sweaters. She also loves working part-time with her video editor husband (special shout out to her parents and in-laws for being great babysitters!).
If Selena were stranded on a desert island with only one thing to do for the rest of her life, she would nurse her son in their favorite chair. It’s the best thing in the world right now.