Bonita Springs — In life, there are magic numbers.
For a teenager, it is usually 16 — the license to drive. For working adults it is 65 — the age of retirement. For the Freemasons, it is three, or 3rd degree — the highest level a mason can reach.
In childhood, the magic number is four.
Four is the age when most organizations will accept children for summer camps, Bible schools and all of the other fun programs that enrich children’s lives and give parents a little time off.
Last summer my daughter was three. She would ask, “Can I go to art camp? Can I take dance lessons?”
My answer was always, “Next year when you are bigger.” Four magically coincides with the point in life where a child is typically potty trained, and tall enough to get on and off of a toilet without assistance.
Pre-4-year-old, there are often Mommy and Me types of programs. But, my daughter doesn’t want Mommy to go. She’s a big kid, she’s independent, she wants Mommy to go away and let her explore the world with other kids (and a competent teacher).
All of this time I’ve been thinking, “when she’s four…” So imagine my surprise when suddenly, she is 4 and the world is her oyster. Now the question is: “which program do we do first?”
This year we began with t-ball at the Bonita Springs Little League. It’s going OK, but Adaline may be more of a music, dance, art kind of kid. Time will tell. At least she seems to have some of her father’s athletic ability, and none of mine (I spent my softball years with busted lips and black eyes usually warming the bench and eating hot dogs).
This summer we may try art camp. So in April we are concentrating on inexpensive art activities to see if anything sparks her interest. Luckily we live near the Bonita Springs Center for the Arts. In April they have two really cool events that my daughter and I can actually agree we both love.
Every Saturday in April from 1 to 3 p.m. there are FREE (yes, I said FREE) superhero art activities open to any age (with parental supervision). The children and parents get a guided tour of the kid friendly exhibition Zap! Pow! Bam! The Superhero, The Golden Age of the Comic Books, 1938-1950, followed by a very creative art activity.
I took my daughter in March and we both had a blast. There are superhero costumes in all sizes (extra small child to extra large adult). And, there are no judgments. It’s the one place in town where you can go dressed as Green Lantern and nobody will think you have lost your mind.
President of the Center for the Arts, Susan Bridges, typically brings two traveling exhibitions each year and tries to have family activities planned for each one. The super-talented Jordan Smith, Director of Children’s Education, is in charge of creating unforgettable art projects that are fun for kids and adults. Superhero art projects in April include: masks, capes, collage buttons and mad scientist inventions.
Later in the month, on April 14 from Noon to 4 p.m., the Center for the Arts will be having their yearly Arts Worldwide celebration. It will be held at the Center for the Arts campus and features live performances all day and creation stations for children (and adults) to create art.
Last year the colorful costumes and dance steps of the Kellyn Celtic Arts Irish Dancers captivated my daughter. I found her wearing my clothes and Riverdancing around the kitchen for weeks. I enjoyed experimenting with watercolor painting for the first time. Arts Worldwide asks for a $2 donation, which all goes back to supporting the kids programming at the Center for the Arts.
So, now that my daughter has reached this magic number four, the real problem is trying to fit it all in! I’ve now joined that secret society known as the “SUV moms.” My magic number is eight — the amount of passengers that my Honda Pilot can comfortably hold.
Meg-a-Mom’s secret identity is Meghan Easterly; a writer, editor, photographer and all-around supermom living in Bonita Springs who can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
IF YOU GO
When: Saturday, April 14, Noon to 4 p.m.
Zap! Pow! Bam! Family Activity Days
When: Saturdays in April, 1 to 3 p.m.
Where: Center for the Arts of Bonita Springs 26100 Old 41 Road, Bonita Springs