The girls are finally at the point where we have stopped making up silly explanations and are instead explaining things as plainly as possible. Wikipedia describes Labor Day as “a United States federal holiday observed on the first Monday in September (September 5 in 2011) that celebrates the economic and social contributions of workers.” We described it to the girls, as a day off from jobs. As they get older, we will go more into the history behind the day. We both love history and I hope to instill that love in them too.
As a goodbye to summer, we took a mini break and drive to Kansas City Saturday so we could use my media passes to Schlitterbahn KC. The park is still under construction but I imagine next summer it is going to rival the original one. They have the relaxation/thrill balance down pat. We spent most of our time in the kid areas splashing and sitting on lawn chairs eating snacks (you can bring your own in, major bonus!)
The girls did go down the lazy river with us a few times and then we braved the Torrent river which adds in curves and waves. Calamity Jane wanted to brave the Storm Blaster uphill water coaster but her dad vetoed due to the line. We felt secure taking them out with us since Schlitterbahn provides free usage of life jackets and there are plenty of eagle eyed life guards.
Even our first car sick incident on the way to the hotel couldn’t spoil the day. We spent the rest of the afternoon watching movies and doing absurdly expensive hotel laundry. Then we split up, my husband out to the Yard House to drink beer and watch football, the girls to bed, me to the couch to read. Props to Comfort Suites: the extra room gave us enough space to spread out and the half wall between the areas was enough to make the girls actually go to sleep.
The next day we opted for some frugal family fun. A trip to the Nelson-Atkins museum and lunch at Winstead’s. Admission to the museum is free, we parked on the street for free, and lunch was only $23 for the four of us including shakes. Our Winstead’s strategy includes burgers and onion rings (two orders, they are too good to share) for the adults and one kids meal for the twins with the shake split between them (they will put it into two cups for you.)
This was our first foray into an art museum since they have been out of the stroller.
A few tips for visiting museums with kids:
1) Split your visit! We did the sculpture garden first, went for lunch (Winstead’s is a nice walk), and came back for the art. And don’t do too much. We skipped the antiquities and older paintings in favor of the modern art wing. now we have a reason to come back.
2) Explain why they can’t touch the art (and keep them within grabbing distance.) Instead of just saying, “don’t touch” we explained that the oils on our fingers could damage the art and that the sculptures were delicate. We hovered just to be sure though.
3) Let them be kids. It’s a museum not a library. We used our inside voices but we also didn’t shush them when they got excited about the art and let them get close to it.
4) Take home a cheap souvenir. We told the girls to pick some favorite pieces and then we went to the museum store and got postcards of the prints and of the museum for them to keep. Postcards are awesome kid souvenirs.
Parent tip: if you have a smart phone, snap pictures of your kids looking at the art and caption what they were doing or ask them what they think the art is.