Art and Soul invites customers to express themselves as colorfully and boldly as the shop's lime and purple walls. This paint-your-own studio provides a wall of blank pottery pieces that kids and adults can personalize using provided paints and supplies and the power of their own imagination. Budding artists can stencil a flower onto a cookie jar, or add color to a ceramic cupcake. Patrons can also make their own jewelry, pulling pieces from the bead bar to create necklaces, earrings, and eyeglass holders in a variety of colors.
Like most good ideas, Gymboree Play and Music didn't begin in a business meeting—it began out of necessity. In 1976, Joan Barnes, a California mom, found herself frustrated with the lack of spaces where she could take her kids for safe and age-appropriate play time. Knowing that other parents were undoubtedly feeling the same frustration, she took matters into her own hands and founded Gymboree Play and Music. She consulted experts to design a curriculum of activities to foster the development of children’s cognitive, physical, and social skills through structured play. She hired a nationally renowned playground designer Jay Beckwith to design the proprietary play equipment at her centers. And her staff began conducting entertaining classes covering subjects ranging from music to sports to impart valuable lessons of imagination and physical activity to developing minds. As their children learned and socialized, parents also found benefit in meeting and befriending other moms and dads in their local area. More than 30 years later, her vision has proved to be a success: more than 712 child-centered franchises now spread over 42 countries, bringing confidence and creativity to thousands of youngsters in several continents and to one in the center of the earth.
The experienced staff at Tullio’s Pottery Place creates a safe and respectful environment for potters of all levels of experience to learn. In the spacious studio, instructors guide students through throwing, painting, and firing their own masterworks. Ladies’ Night, Date Night, and Parents’ Night Off parties give grownups a creative outlet where they can bedeck premade pieces of pottery with stencils, their own designs, or re-creations of the bowl that Gene Hackman wore over his face for the entirety of The Poseidon Adventure. Pupils can get their hands dirty during 6- or 12-week personalized classes, with unlimited time provided during the week for them to finish work started in each session. Raku firings with a large selection of glazes are offered twice monthly.
H. Teller Archibald opened the doors of the first Fannie May in 1920, delighting the passing palates of Chicago’s LaSalle Street with exquisite chocolates that continue to tickle taste buds today. Though nearly a century has passed, Fannie May’s alchemists still rely on the same recipes as the first store, refusing to budge on quality even when faced with shortages during war times and the never-ending Gregory Middle School food fight of 1997. Renowned for sweetness and attention to detail, the chocolatiers’ treats stand as an institution of inventive eats, from the gooey pecan and caramel of their Pixies to the sunny, toasted-coconut-encased dark chocolate of their Trinidads.
For more than 25 years, Drama Kids International has nurtured thousands of thespian students and kids simply searching for an engaging activity, instilling children with the ability to speak clearly and confidently. Classes focus on sharpening articulated speech and encouraging creative expression. Children are placed in classes according to their age group: the Lower Primary (ages 5–8) teaches kids how to deliver lines and hone social skills, the Upper Primary (ages 9–11) delves into improvisation and dramatic movement, and the DKI Acting Academy (ages 12–17) preps scene-stealers on how to audition for their dream role. Each class includes a variety of activities for kids to unleash their imagination, which develops their dramatic abilities in a fun, easy-going setting. Drama Kids instructors foster an open, comfortable acting environment. Call ahead to schedule the first class and start your child down the path of becoming one of the more notable Baldwin brothers.