Kid and Play

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Ben and his son Emerson watching a break-dancer do a handstand in the IMA's Pulliam Family Great Hall. - PHOTO BY BEN SHINE
  • Photo by Ben Shine
  • Ben and his son Emerson watching a break-dancer do a handstand in the IMA's Pulliam Family Great Hall.

Last weekend I went to two amazing events with my son. Saturday morning the IMA hosted Hip-Hop Family Day, a totally immersive dive into the world of hip-hop for kids, replete with break-dancing demos and lessons, Deckademics deejays teaching kids to scratch, art fashioned from old records, and there was even a screening of Breakin' 2: Electric Boogaloo. On Sunday the Central Library hosted Hot Jazz for Cool Kids, the last of their monthlong, kid-size series of jazz concerts in their awesome auditorium space. The program's final performance of 2014 featured the young Joel Tucker Band, and they were a blast. Hopefully that program comes back next winter for another year.

I know that I say this a lot, but Indianapolis never lacks something great to do these days. It's given my family weekends filled with hard choices, selecting which intriguing program or event to attend -- and schedule around naptime. Born and raised in this town, I don't remember having so many interesting, fun child-relevant and still parent-pleasing activities to attend as a kid. And I think it's paying off. My kid loves music and is obsessed with songs much like I am (his current picks include the Bum Bum Song, Jump In A Fire and E song. He regularly asks to see pictures on my wife's phone of him playing the drums. He talks about the art on our walls as excitedly as he asks to watch Yo Gabba Gabba videos.

Want to go on your own parent-plus-one cultural voyage? Here are a list of upcoming opportunities that you might see me and my Arrow at in the coming weeks.

Ben and his son Emerson perform one of Erwin Wurm's Euclidian Exercises at the IMA. - PHOTO BY BEN SHINE
  • Photo by Ben Shine
  • Ben and his son Emerson perform one of Erwin Wurm's Euclidian Exercises at the IMA.

March 15 -- Symfuny Sundays with the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra offer more kid-size classical music experiences for families in an entertaining and casual environment. This weekend's The Orchestra: Working and Playing Together will demonstrate how all of the members of an orchestra come together as a team to play a symphony.

March 20 -- I'm not sure my 2 1/2-year-old will put up with 3D glasses, but I'm sure he'll love the massive color and beauty of Jean-Michel Cousteau's Secret Ocean 3D at the IMAX Theater at Indiana State Museum.

March 21 -- Kids Rhythm Club Jam as a Fam at Bongo Boy Music School is a weekly rhythm jam sessions designed for kids to explore movement and percussion in a community setting. Parents and older kids play steady rhythms, while the younger kids explore and experiment with different instruments.

March 28 -- Saturday Listen Hear features weekly sound experiments and hands-on audio projects for all ages at Big Car's Listening Room.

March 29 -- Indy CD & Vinyl holds a monthly kids music showcase on the last Sunday of every month featuring children's music-maker Mr. Daniel. This in-store event for tiny rockers gives adult music aficionados the chance to flip through the store's diverse vinyl selections.

Emerson, Ben's little Arrow, enjoys taking a kid yoga class in the Rise of American Modernism gallery at the IMA. - PHOTO BY BEN SHINE
  • Photo by Ben Shine
  • Emerson, Ben's little Arrow, enjoys taking a kid yoga class in the Rise of American Modernism gallery at the IMA.

April 4 -- Following up on Hip-Hop Family Day,  the IMA's monthly Family Day for April -- Museum Madness -- is perfect for Hoosier parents who want to instill in their kids a lifelong relationship with the arts, but also a proper jump shot. I know my little guy will be working on dribbling with his left hand before we go see the Tara Donovan sculpture.

April 14 -- Let your little ones grab their teddy bears, and then head to the Central Library to listen to members of the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra as they perform excerpts from Camille Saint-Saens's Carnival of the Animals.

May 2 -- Bilingual children's author and classical guitarist Jose-Luis Orozco visits the Central Library for a fun journey into Latin American culture and history. The first 100 children will receive a book by Orozco.

This wealth of family-friendly arty events is also a testament to our growth as a city that places high value on culture. And, hopefully, it's building the next wave of culture hounds.
What artful, creative and fun places are on your regular to-do list?

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