Name: Carrie Seibel
Education: Student in the Journalism Department at UW-Milwaukee
Works: Intern with the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Marketing & Events, Reporter for Waukesha Patch, Seasonal nanny
Most looking forward to at KIDSfest: Seeing all of the kids exploring with some of our hands-on activities; getting creative and discovering new things.
Name: Betsy Foss-Campbell
Kids: Sons, ages 18 and 14
Works: Intern, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Marketing & Events, in process of a career change
Favorite part of being a mom: Watching each son grow into his own unique self
Least favorite part of being a mom: Filling out the never-ending financial aid forms for college
Famous for: Prepackaged frozen dinner kits (at least they benefit the PTO)
The most amazing part of KIDSfest last weekend, as an adult observer, was seeing the looks on kids’ faces. Metroparent’s 9th Annual KIDSfest, presented by North Shore Bank, made kids smile, laugh, ooh, ah, and more. Here are some glimpses of the expressions I saw, walking through the Expo Center.
As I walked past the pony rides, I saw a boy with an amazed smile that silently shouted, “Look at me! Can you believe I am riding this animal?! This is the best moment of my life!”
In the middle of the festival, kids were jumping and laughing with glee as they tried to pop the big bubbles that the man at the HI TECH TOY booth shot out of his bubble blower. And just beyond that, babies laughed and clapped as they got ready to race each other in the Diaper Derby.
Looks of concentration marked the faces of kids looking at dinosaur bones at the Milwakee Public Museum’s booth and making Zoobs creations at the Time Warner Cable Connect a Million Minds area.
In the Book Nook, a girl’s jaw dropped in amazement when her mom told her, “This woman drew the pictures for Chicka Chicka Boom Boom,” before Lois Ehlert’s book reading.
Since a picture is worth a thousand words, I won’t go on. Just look at these few thousand words!
I have fond memories of my oldest son’s bedtime routine when he was little—the routine of a family that loves to read. About an hour before he went to bed, he and I stacked up our favorite children’s books from home and the library into a tall pile and settled onto the couch for stories galore. Some of the books I could have read with my eyes closed after awhile because I knew the words by heart, like Chicka Chicka Boom Boom.
So I am thrilled that the illustrator of Chicka Chicka Boom Boom, Lois Ehlert, will be in the Book Nook at KIDSfest for a book reading. There is something special about hearing authors and illustrators read their own work to kids, sharing their passions with the next generation. Ms. Ehlert’s passion is clearly for her artwork, which is so appealing to children and adults alike. Her work has received awards from the Society of Illustrators, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the American Institute of Graphic Arts.
And as if hearing her read her stories isn’t enough, she’ll then be giving away autographed copies of two of her books, thanks to generous donors. Compliments of Scholastic, 70 lucky kids will receive copies of Chicka Chicka Boom Boom, which was an American Library Association Notable Children's Book and received a Boston Globe-Horn Book Honor Award. Ms. Ehlert will also sign and give away 70 copies of her Caldecott Honor Book, Color Zoo, compliments of HarperCollins Children’s Books. Kids that come to the Book Nook at 2 pm on Sunday, April 15 will receive tickets to exchange for one of these books, while supplies last.
Opportunities abound that weekend in the Book Nook for kids to hear authors read their own books and to receive books. I can’t do all the authors justice in one blog post, but here’s the rest of the lineup:
Some of your kids’ favorite book characters will also appear throughout the weekend in the Book Nook—Clifford the Big Red Dog, Curious George, Little Critter and Brother and Sister Bear (from the Berenstain Bear family). And they will be giving out even more books throughout the weekend—200 books from the Clifford the Big Red Dog series, compliments of Scholastic, and approximately 35 copies of a variety of titles donated by Usborne Books & More. So when your kids get home, they can add a book to their pile of favorites, or maybe get a pile started.
For the detailed schedule of Book Nook offerings, go to pages 28-29 of the current issue of metroparent.
Last weekend, we could watch the madness while NCAA teams played head to head, and this weekend we can watch Gallardo throw the first home pitch at Miller Park Stadium. But what’s the next exciting competition?
I’ll bet you didn’t think you would have the opportunity to watch ROBOTS take on each other in an underwater challenge!
UWM-Great Lakes WATER Institute and School of Freshwater Sciences will be at this year’s KIDSfest in the STEM Zone.
Exciting competitions will be held between future engineers from Rufus King and Bradley Tech. You and your kids will have the chance to see robots submerge underwater; moving forward and backward, and also driving through a hoop. It’s no basketball or baseball, and it’s nothing you want to miss. You can test and develop the robotic skills your child may have, and who knows? It could lead into a future degree in math or science!
Our extended STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) Zone will offer hands-on displays and experiments, along with the robots, Growing Power, Urban Ecology Center, Discovery World, the Kohl’s Design It! Lab, and the Girl Scouts of Wisconsin will be participating. You also get the chance to ride an energy bike—which is the perfect demonstration of conservative energy, with a workout! I’ve used one of their bikes before, and it is amazing to see how it all works. You can turn on a light with the energy released from pedaling. It is the ultimate, stationary bike that will help you teach your kids the importance of conservation and energy. And it just might get them to turn off the light when they’re leaving a room…
The STEM Zone is really a great way to develop and explore the math and science skills within, while touching base with your family’s knowledge on technology and conservation. Take the time off from cheering on your sports team next weekend, and come cheer on one of the STEM Zone robots! It’s a handful of Milwaukee’s best activity attractions in not only one location, but working together in one zone to enhance the STEM in your child!
I’m sure you’ve seen your kid’s jaw drop to the ground before; maybe out of shock, surprise, or out of total astonishment? Or maybe you haven’t. Well this year, not only will their jaw drop, but yours will too!
David Seebach has magically reappeared on our list of entertainers. David will be bringing entertainment, drama, humor, surprise, and mystery for you and your family. After a lot of thought and head-scratching, you might find yourself trying to spread the magic back at home. Magicians are great for all ages and can bring the family together for fun and entertainment.
David has been coming to KIDSfest for years, but this year, he’s bringing a friend! The name: Ardan James. Ever heard of him before? He’s been to Europe, Japan, Australia, Canada, and 48 states, but Milwaukee brings him home. Performing professionally for over 15 years, Ardan writes his own material and brings a unique act to the table. He combines comedy illusions, magic illusions, ventriloquism, music, dance, and my personal favorite—audience participation. The show is guaranteed to be 100% appropriate and packed, like a rabbit-in-a-hat, with laughter.
I remember a time when I was younger and my family was out to dinner in Wisconsin Dells. We did a week’s vacation which, for my siblings and I, meant doing every Dells activity we possibly could while we were there. We did Noah’s Ark, downtown shopping, Ripley’s Believe it or Not, and I think we even did a haunted house that year. But there was one part of the trip I could not forget, and it was a magician.
During our dinner, a street magician came over to the table and performed a simple card trick. I wrote my name on the card of my choice with a permanent marker and the magician made it disappear. There I sat—mouth wide open and amazed. It was, well, magical!
Now, as I look back, I remember my dad’s face. He didn’t know what to expect and it drove him to hilarity. He wanted to know exactly how to do it. It was the street magician who told him, “its magic!” I felt a whole new connection with my dad as we sat at the table, pondering and laughing.
I don’t know if I could tell you that I believe in magic, but I can tell you one thing for sure, that it is magical. Magicians like David and Ardan can bring a family to the same level. It is not only entertainment, but this bonding experience can be a part of your child’s favorite memories.
And the best part—it’s all included! David Seebach and Ardan James will be performing on our Main Stage for free. David performs on Saturday, April 14th at 12:30pm and Sunday, April 15th at 1:30pm. Ardan is scheduled for 3:30pm on Saturday. Check them out! Visit their websites and come see them live.
Along with our amazing magicians, we have juggler and unicyclist, T.J Howell coming to the Main Stage both days and the comedy juggler, Truly Remarkable Loon on Sunday at 3:00pm. Again, all included with admission!
Our magicians along with our other performers will paint the smiles, the memories, and the laughter on your family’s faces.
But wait—the Main Stage does not stand alone! You can find the whole program guide in April’s edition of Metroparent Magazine. Our Kids Stage, World Music Stage, and Animals & Nature stage will fill your family day with entertainment and bring that magically moment to you all! Bring it all together this year’s Metroparent KIDSfest & Baby Expo, presented by North Shore Bank.
There’s a commercial out right now that makes me laugh whenever I see it. Two boys are putting mass quantities of dollar bills into a toy crane game, cheering wildly when the claw finally grasps a tiny, cheap toy for them. I laugh because I’ve been there with my two boys in their younger years, shelling out the bills for the first few tries and then watching them keep going with their own allowance funds.
It’s okay for kids to occasionally blow a few dollars on something that gives them that feeling of succeeding at a quest, however ordinary the object of their desire. But we as parents do want to teach our kids the value of money and how to use it wisely. KIDSfest and Baby Expo, on April 14-15 at the Expo Center at State Fair Park, can start to teach these lessons in a fun way.
The presenting sponsor of KIDSfest, North Shore Bank, will have a booth filled with fun learning activities. Kids can participate in “Scoop & Save”—scooping up coins and putting them into a coin counter. Whatever amount they scoop, North Shore Bank will add to a new Seymour Savings kids account when they stop at their local branch to get started saving. Kids can also decorate a bank to take home with the words “Save-Spend-Share” on it. The bank will help kids remember that money is for saving, spending on themselves and sharing with others (through birthday presents or donations to good causes). North Shore Bank will also have a free photo booth so you can take home a fun family photo to remember your great day at KIDSfest.
North Shore Bank and other exhibitors at KIDSfest can help us parents to learn more about money, too. You can pick up information from EdVest, Wisconsin’s state-sponsored college savings plan, about investing wisely for college costs (which come around faster than you think they will!) AAA can help you prevent financial calamity through life, home and auto insurance. And you can find out about membership in Modern Woodmen of America, a fraternal financial services organization. Fraternal benefit societies are nonprofit organizations that provide insurance and other financial member benefits, plus social and volunteer opportunities.
You can also find future opportunities for teaching kids about money while at KIDSfest. You can sign up the kids for UWM College for Kids or College for Teens, hands-on summer classes on a variety of topics including money matters. Kids in K5 to grade 2 can take “Money Does Grow, but not on Trees,” while older siblings (grade 3-5) find out more about “Money Magic.” All these opportunities can help balance out those toy-crane moments with positive overall saving and spending habits for you and your kids.
For more information on KIDSfest, find us on Facebook and Twitter and visit our web site.
The temperature today did what we knew it inevitably would—returned to the 40s. It’s been so nice lately that it’s hard to go back to weather that’s more typical for this time of year. The kids are back inside, either getting antsy or exceeding their allotted video game time. One thing you can do is to make plans to get them moving at KIDSfest & Baby Expo on April 14 or 15, which may be over your kids’ spring break time, when you’ll really be looking for an outlet for their energy! At KIDSfest, the opportunities for harnessing all that youthful vigor abound.
The kids can climb Adventure Rock’s climbing walls for $6 for two climbs up, and visit five assorted inflatable offerings, including two bounce houses, an obstacle course and a giant (24-foot) slide. The cost for these active ventures will be $3 each (for two sessions of bouncing, for example). In addition to getting the kids moving, you can feel good about contributing to a worthy cause because a portion of the proceeds from KIDSfest general ticket sales goes to the Children’s Miracle Network, which benefits Children’s Hospital’s programs and research. In addition, a contribution from KIDSfest general ticket sales goes to Childhood Cancer Research at Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin in partnership with Mike Juneau’s Arrow Hyundai.
Other lively options are included in the KIDSfest & Baby Expo ticket price, such as learning Irish dance steps from Trinity Irish Dancers and engaging in assorted activities in the SportsZone. There kids can go through the Green Bay Packers Rookie Camp Obstacle Course, shoot some hoops at the Bucks area, and toss bean bags at the UW-Milwaukee Panthers booth. Younger kids (up to age 8) can also climb on Turkeypants Playground indoor playground equipment. And really young ones—those in the crawling stage—can participate in one of two Diaper Derby races each day!
So don’t despair as the temps are dropping. Just put KIDSfest & Baby Expo on your calendar. It’s Saturday, April 14 from 10 am to 5 pm and Sunday, April 15 from 11 am to 5:00 pm at the Expo Center at Wisconsin State Fair Park. You can pick up a Family Pass from now through April 13 (at 5 pm) for only $5 (for up to two adults and four kids) at any North Shore Bank location. Tickets are also available at the door ($3 for adults and $2 for kids ages 3-17).