Saturday, October 23, 2010

Day of the Dead Activities for Kids

I dread sugar holidays.  I was happy about having an autumn baby until I learned about the industry around childrens' birthday parties and the difficulty of getting inside the Party Store during the Halloween season.  A smarter, more systems-thinking mother would have taken American marketing cycles into consideration when conceiving.

LA is full of so much culture, that visitors cannot take it all in.  Many hit just the highlights, like the Getty Center and Disneyland, but we also love the smaller venues.

One such gem is the Fowler Museum on the UCLA campus.  It's free, though you pay for parking in lot 4.

It's not an ART museum; it was founded as the Fowler Museum of Cultural History. It's also home to the Cotsen Institute of Archaeology (yes, that Cotsen).  The level of curation at the Fowler is extraordinary.  Take some time, read the exhibit materials, watch the multimedia content and TAKE THE AUDIOTOUR.

Actually, pick up both the adult and children's audiotour guides.  They're both free, as is admission.  Unlike other museums, the childrens' audiotour is not a dumbed down version of the adult one.  It repeats very little information, focusing instead on the things that children might notice and care about.

Our daughter can spend a long, long time listening to the audiotour and examining the objects.  The museum curators at the Fowler know their stuff, and understand children.  I cannot recommend the place highly enough for families.

Anyway, for a deeper exploration of Halloween, Day of the Dead and death rituals, take your kids to tomorrow's Kids in the Courtyard event, Life Drawing Meets Dead Dancing: A Day of the Dead Celebration.   The kids can have fun, learn about Mexican and Korean cultures, and make some arts/crafts.

Get them the audiotour for kids and that might even buy you enough time to sneak in a lecture about African Art while you are there.  Or at least that is my fantasy.  The lecture is in the basement and the kids' activities are on the first floor.  You can't expect to leave younger kids alone for that long.  Teenagers, perhaps?


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