By Emily Harrington
I love when my son can sit still while becoming engrossed in a project. He always takes such pride in the end product, and he loves showing it off to friends and family—strangers even.
There are many businesses in our area that provide families the opportunity to make art together. You can join in on the fun, too. Alongside your little one, create a keepsake worthy of a special spot in your home.
Champaign Park District, Springer Cultural Center, 301 N. Randolph St., Champaign
In the Parent and Child Pottery class for kids 8 and older, you and your little one will learn to throw pots on the wheel, sculpt, coil and build. Make tiles, cereal bowls, magical creatures and more in this weekly class. The cost is $68/resident/family member. Register online. You can also book an art-themed (birthday) party!
Hobby Lobby, 2102 N. Neil St., Champaign
An art instructor comes on Thursday mornings, and she offers project help. Hobby Lobby provides the classroom. You just need to buy any used supplies at Hobby Lobby. Bring in your kiddos, and you can use the free space/help!
Home Depot, 820 Bloomington Rd., Champaign
The home improvement store offers kid/parents craft workshops (one Saturday a month, 9 a.m. to noon). Bird houses and windmill planters are among the crafts they teach. Build and then decorate your masterpiece. Kids get to keep their craft, receive a certificate of achievement, an apron and a commemorative pin (while supplies last). Register online. The classes are free!
JOANN Fabrics, 722 W. Town Center Blvd., Champaign
The craft store offers classes geared towards kids 5 and older. Cookie decorating, knitting, crocheting and basic sewing are among the class offerings. Parents are encouraged to learn alongside the kiddos. Sign up in store, online or drop in. You can also use this classroom for projects. The classes range from $35-$45 (plus some needed supplies).
Krannert Art Museum and Kinkead Pavilion, 1500 East Peabody Drive, Champaign.
Families can create art together at “Kids at Krannert“—featured Saturdays during the University of Illinois academic year. From art talks to messy art fun, Kids At Krannert is FREE and is focused on kids ages 3-8, but all ages are welcome. See why we think KAM is a CU Essential here.
Lola’s Brush, Jupiter’s At The Crossing, 2511 Village Green Place, Champaign
Art teacher, Mandy, brings the paint-party concept in a kids/parent format. (I would not recommend this format for kids younger than 4.) She walks you through a painting step-by-step via a Smart Board. A parent and a child can eat Jupiter’s pizza, drink assorted beverages and work together on the kid-themed work of art. Polar Express, Star Wars or spooky spider themes provide seasonal or relevant subject matter. The class is $40 for a painting duo. This mom gives it two brushes up!
Michaels, 2109 N. Prospect Ave., Champaign|
The craft store offers “Kids Club” classes geared towards kids 3 and older (Saturdays, 10 a.m. to noon). Yarn work and baking are among the class offerings. Parents must stay! Sign up in store, online or drop in. Parents must stay! The club classes are $2 per kid.
Pottery Place, 1808 Round Barn Rd., Champaign
Pick a piece of unfinished ceramic pottery. Choose paints. Sit down with your family while creating a keepsake that you will keep forever. Each piece runs from $8 to $40. Most pieces fall on the lower end, though. We painted four pieces totaling $62. This included studio fees—$7 for adults, $5 for children and $10 for a parent/child combo. This mom gives it two brushes up! See our review.
Pretties by Paris, 2004 S. Neil St.
On a piece of wood, paint one of many kid-friendly stencils. Hanging hardware is installed on the back before you leave. Visit during their workshops for kids/parents, or you can visit with your littles during any of their open paint times, see their online presence. Just keep in mind that Thursdays evenings are adults only. Just $10 buys you a memory and a cute keepsake. They also have great parties for little ones!
Texas Roadhouse, 204 N. Country Fair Dr., Champaign
Combine food, games, activities and arts and crafts on “Kid’s Night” (Tuesdays, 4 to 8 p.m.). Make things like monster bookmarks, decorated cookies and butterflies. Free. Just show up to eat!
Get glitter, paint and hot glue all over someone else’s table! Get out and MAKE ART—together.
Emily Harrington is a Chambana townie. She left her 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. job in communications so that she could be a 24/7 mom to two busy boys. Still interested in writing, Emily uses some of naptime to practice her passion and keep her mind right. Emily is a happy wife with a happy life because she fell for a fellow townie. Emily usually finds herself engulfed in balls, blue and belly laughs.