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Wednesday 22 March 2017

Museum of Children's Art, Oakland

The rainy weather is back in the Bay Area and that means that indoor play is on many parents' minds. There are so many great rainy day options here in the Bay Area, and today I'm sharing one of my favorites for fun arts and crafts.

On a recent rainy day off school the girls and I met up with friends for open studio time at MOCHA, the Museum of Children's Art, in Uptown Oakland. This was our first visit to MOCHA and judging by how much fun the kids had it definitely won't be our last!

MOCHA is a hands on art "museum" where kids of all ages can get creative with a variety of different art materials. The museum is divided into six areas, each set up with various supplies and tables - or in the case of the Great Wall of Paint and the Magnetic Post zones, a wall!

When we first arrived at MOCHA Ava and Lola gravitated towards the closest table in the Creative Zone to decorate paper hearts with tissue paper, marker, yarn and beads with their friends.

Mathilde was more interested in making the biggest mess possible so she headed straight to the Great Wall of Paint where she spent quite some time painting with paint brushes and making prints with potato mashers. A nearby rack of aprons came in super handy to keep her clothes clean while she made mess - I mean, art! When she was finished creating I moved each of Mathilde's paintings to the drying rack in an effort to dry them to take home with us. Of course, she used so much paint that her paintings went home with us still wet and didn't dry until later that evening. She's into lots of layers when it comes to painting!

After lots of gluing and coloring of paper hearts Ava and Lola moved onto other activities at different tables. They made pictures using their finger and thumb prints with ink pads, and used magnifying glasses to explore the swirls and patterns of their fingerprints. 

A big favorite with the girls was a table at which they made skeleton pictures out of black paper, chalk and cotton buds/Q-tips. I traced around the girls' hands and they added the cotton buds as bones. Lola decided to skip the cotton buds, and drew her hand bones with chalk instead. Mathilde's hand bones were quite abstract, to say the least. Ava also made a skeleton.  

Ava and Lola then moved onto creating with clay at the Clay St Station, aptly named as the museum is located on Clay Street! I'm not quite sure what Ava was creating in the photo below (it appears to have legs) but when she showed me her finished piece it was a snake! Lola used a cookie cutter to create a bird ornament. 

I had presumed that Mathilde would be interested in playing with the clay, seeing as she loves getting messy, but she skipped the clay table and instead opted to create a plate of food using fabric fruit and vegetables at the neighboring table.

Mathilde decided to take a little break from art and headed over to the Chill Spot where she played with blocks, books and a light table with x-rays and Magnatiles. 

While Mathilde chilled out in the Chill Spot Ava and Lola made funny sentences with magnetic words on the Magnetic Post.

All up we stayed at MOCHA for about two hours and left at closing time to go eat some lunch (nearby Rudy's Can't Fail Cafe is a great kid friendly option in the neighborhood). The girls thoroughly enjoyed their time at MOCHA and were excited to take their masterpieces home with them.

I'll admit, when we first arrived I was worried that Ava might be a little old for the arts and crafts on offer, but as she loves being creative she was totally in her element. Sure, at 10 years old she was the oldest kid there and not really the intended target age for the museum, but creativity knows no age limits and she had just as much fun as Lola and Mathilde.

MOCHA is located at 1625 Clay Street (corner of 17th) in Uptown Oakland. It is easily accessible by public transport being located just a short walk from both 19th Street and 12th Street Bart stations.

Open Studio is held most Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays from 10am - 1pm. Any closures on these days is listed on the calendar found here. Entry is $5.00 per person, and free for ages 2 and under.

MOCHA's studio is also available for parties. Summer camps are available for kids aged 6 -11, as well as a youth camp for 12 - 15 year olds.

For more information visit http://mocha.org/

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