Who hasn't wandered along the streets of Providence and found their attention drawn to a historic building or unexpected detail that a sparks curiosity? What could have been here before? I wonder what lies beyond that hallway? Steeped in rich history and quirky legend, Providence has countless stories to tell; we just need to know where to find them.
On Saturday, September 23, you can do more than peek through windows and wonder. For the very first Doors Open Rhode Island Festival, in partnership with local sites, curious visitors are given free behind-the-scenes access to over 20 fantastic spaces in the city. No tickets or reservations needed. Explore one venue or fill an entire day of adventure, from the recording studios of RI Public Radio to the gilded ceilings of the State House.
While all locations are open to families, Doors Open RI suggests these sites as ideal for young visitors, with fewer lines anticipated. For up-to-the-minute information about participating locations, follow social media Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
Thursdays (July 13 - August 17) from 10:30am - 12:30pm in Burnside Park, Downtown Providence.
Each summer Kidoinfo teams up with Jen Smith of Downtown Providence Parks Conservancy and company to bring Storytime + Art in the Park to Burnside Park. Through this program, DDPC and Kidoinfo invite local authors, storytellers and illustrators to bring their love of books and storytelling to the children of Providence. At this free event, parents and kids sit together under a tree, in front of the Banjotti Fountain, at the city’s only open air Storytime.
This year we have six different guests lined up to bring stories to life in their own unique way.
KidoInfo Storytime happens first on Thursdays from 10:30 – 11:30, followed by Art in the Park from 11:30 – 12:30. Stay for lunch from one of the food trucks, and enjoy a picnic under the tree.
Mark your calendars, here is the 2017 Storytime schedule of storytellers:
Storyteller Valerie Tutson draws her stories from around the world with an emphasis on African traditions.
At Art in the Park The Wonky World of Roald Dahl explores Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Ever wanted to make your own Wonka bars? Me too! This week we’ll be making our own pretend chocolate bars. There may even be a few golden tickets somewhere…
Local author Kara LaReau debuted her brand new chapter book, The Infamous Ratso, at Storytime last year. This year she’ll be sharing some of her own books, and her kidlit favorites with the audience. In addition to Kara - we welcome Miss Katie for a sing-along, dance-along, musical performance! Our regulars may recognize Miss Katie from of playSCIENCE RI, but she can also be found out of a lab coat, wearing giant sunglasses, and playing a wide variety of instruments, often in the company of the Extraordinary Rendition Band. She’s traveled around RI performing and will be debuting songs from her new CD Candy Cane Glasses!
At Art in the Park The Wonky World of Roald Dahl explores Matilda. In the book, Matilda could make things move with her mind. Together, we can make things move with our crafty hands. Let’s make books that float!
Art in the Park cofounder author and illustrator Alison Paul joins us again this summer with local illustrator Jen Corace. Long time readers at Storytime, Jen and Alison will read a selection of their own books.
At Art in the Park The Wonky World of Roald Dahl explores Fantastic Mr. Fox. Oh no! Mr. Fox lost his tail escaping the mean old farmers Boggis, Bunce and Bean! Can you help make him a new one? Maybe you can make it even better than his old one!
Internationally acclaimed RI Storyteller Len Cabral retells African, Cape Verdean, and Caribbean folktales as well as original stories + tales from around the world.
At Art in the Park The Wonky World of Roald Dahl explores The BFG. We can collect dreams just like the BFG with our very own Dream Jars! What kind of dreams will you collect? Some dreams will be included and others you’ll have to find! Fill up your jars with dreams.
The Ricky Rainbow Beard Show kicks off Storytime and is joined by intergalactic creature troupe Big Nazo joins us. A group of visual artists, puppeteers, and musicians, Big Nazo makes their way across Kennedy Plaza and get kids singing and dancing. It’s always a fun day in the park with Big Nazo invades!
At Art in the Park The Wonky World of Roald Dahl explores James and the Giant Peach. How big would your GIANT peach be? Let’s make some peaches that are as big as our heads, or maybe even bigger!
Keith Munslow, hilarious musician, cartoonist, storyteller will once again join us in the park. Keith always has kids and parents singing, dancing and laughing.
At Art in the Park Sail Away Summer! A super special day of activities in the park including The Wonky World of Roald Dahl Finale: Sail Away Summer! Join artist Alison Paul making ship's captain hats with Roald Dahl storybook pages inspired by the Matilda quote: "So Matilda's strong young mind continued to grow, nurtured by the voices of all those authors who had sent their books out into the world like ships on the sea. These books gave Matilda a hopeful and comforting message: You are not alone."
Following Storytime, local artists bring books to life at Art in the Park. Each week Ricky Katowicz or Alison Paul will bring an iconic children’s book author to life through hands on art projects. This year’s theme is: The Wonky World of Roald Dahl! Many readers will know Roald Dahl for his classic books, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, James and the Giant Peach, and The Fantastic Mr. Fox. With so many inspiring books to choose from, this promises to be an extra creative summer.
PVD Fest takes over Providence for its third year, infusing our downtown city streets and parks with music, dance, food, art and play. The Fest is a 4 day series of free events around the city spanning June 1 through June 4 with the big bash taking place from noon into night on Saturday, June 3. Check out the full festival schedule online to plan your day, or simply show up and wander the spaces and stages - everything is in walking distance. Printed programs will be available at Kennedy Plaza and additional information booths. Visit the PVD Fest FAQ page for information including parking, detours, and food.
Saturday is jam-packed with amazing performances to be seen and experiences to be had. Here are a few highlights to share with kids, teens and families in mind:
PVDYouth Fest at Roger Williams National Memorial Park
12:00 PM - 8:00 PM, 282 North Main Street
PVDYouth Fest at Roger Williams National Memorial Park is a family-fun block party of music, art, activities, performance, playtime, and food, curated by poet Christopher Johnson. Enjoy stage performances by: the Manton Avenue Project, Puppeteer Marc Kohler, Magnolia Cajun Band, and Runa Culture. Activities include hula-hooping, comic book creations, balloon animal sculptures, poetry and face painting.
Family Activities and Performances at Burnside Park
12:30 PM - 7:00 PM, 2 Kennedy Plaza
A celebration of local arts, culture and play for all ages unfolds at Burnside Park courtesy of The Downtown Parks Conservatory, Providence's Department of Art, Culture and Tourism, and FirstWorks. Grab a scavenger hunt and a Burnside Passport and earn stamps at activities throughout the park for prizes. Check out performances with Girls Rock! Rhode Island, Ricky Rainbow Beard, Miss Katie of playSCIENCE RI. Also, storytelling with Raffini, drum circle with Sidy Maiga, and a lion dance parade. Build with the Imagination Playground "big blue blocks", play with bubbles, and draw with sidewalk chalk.
PVD Fest Parade
4:00 PM, down Washington Street to Kennedy Plaza
Dress crazy and colorful and bring noisemakers to march the streets of Providence or simply cheer on the parade from the sidewalk and take in the music, dance and floats of local artists and organizations.
Rhode Island Mini Maker Faire
2:00 PM - 8:00 PM, Washington Street between Mathewson and Clemence Street
Maker Faire is a "gathering of fascinating, curious people who enjoy learning and who love sharing what they can do." Meet the makers (engineers, artists, scientists, crafters) of 3D Printing PVD, RI Computer Museum, AS220 Labs, and TRACIMOC repurposed comic book art.
Performances and Screenings at Grant's Block
12:00 PM - 10:30 PM, corner of Westminster and Union Streets
Awesome acts take the stage from Classical Gasoline, the Classical High School Band (12:00 PM), the silly songs of Keith Munslow (1:00 PM), hip hop dancers Project 401 (7:00 PM), theater and dance with Trinity Academy of the Performing Arts (8:30 PM - also at 12:00 PM at 63 Snow Street) and a series of short films with Providence Children's Film Festival (9:00 PM).
Bike Fest RI
12:00 PM - 4:00 PM, Mathewson Street Stage lot
BMX stunt riders, live entertainment, repair and safety demonstrations, and a bike expo.
There are oodles more art, dance, music and genre-defying happenings for families around the city in the complete schedule.
The RI Comic Con is a major event in the Rhode Island calendar but many Providence kids and teens can't buy tickets or travel to the big convention. That's why Providence Community Library is hosting Alt-Comic Con at Mount Pleasant Library on Saturday, November 12th, 1:00PM-5:00PM, to give them a taste of convention day excitement. Suitable for all ages, "Alternative" Comic Con is a free, interactive event that provides local youth with a chance to meet and be inspired by city artists who are actively pursuing creative careers.
The library will transform into a mini convention hall; Big Nazo will show off some of its amazing creature creations, Providence Comics Consortium will exhibit comic books created by kids at its workshops, and Providence Roller Derby girls will drop by to support a discussion of Victoria Jamieson's bestselling graphic novel, "Roller Girl." Artists from the Dirt Palace artists' collective and Providence Comics Consortium will create a giant window display and Providence CityArts for Youth also will be on hand to add to the creative flavor of the day. As a free bonus, Alt-Comic Con attendees will be able to dig through donated comic books and take one home at the end of the day.
"The idea is to introduce kids and teens to people and organizations in Providence who are working creatively in the fields of technology, art and pop culture," said event organizer Emily LeMay. "We hope that they will inspire young people to pursue artistic endeavors and possibly consider pursuing a career in creative arts."
Mount Pleasant Library is at 315 Academy Avenue, Providence. For more information about Alt-Comic Con, contact Emily LeMay email@example.com or Sarah Gluck firstname.lastname@example.org, call 401-272-0106 or visit www.provcomlib.org.
In recognition of the region's "best, most interesting art and culture" The Law and Order Party held its first annual award celebration, the Dorrys, on September 27. Matthew Lawrence's Law and Order Party: 365 Things To Do In Rhode Island This Year is a website, event calendar, and weekly newsletter that highlights one local cultural event for every day of the year (some suitable for kids, others events are the perfect break from parental duties), in addition to guides and features including "movie lounge" and "restaurant madness". Fun fact: "Law and Order Party" and the "Dorrys" are a throwback to the Rhode Island political party of the 1840's at the time of the Dorr Rebellion, not embracing any affiliation but simply the quirkiness that weaves through the Rhode Island identity.
The Dorry award winners represent the best of local creative forces, from the trailblazers to the enduring in categories of art, books, drama, film, music and performance. We've assembled a handful of noteworthy winners that have been particularly impactful on kids and families in the Ocean State including the non-profit organizations Manton Avenue Project, Providence Children's Film Festival, Girls Rock! Rhode Island, and Everett, working directly with Rhode Island youth to nurture creative expression and skills.
Visit the Law and Order Party: 365 Things To Do In Rhode Island This Year to view the calendar and subscribe to the weekly e-newsletter of artful and interesting Rhode Island happenings to explore.
Leading with a mission to inspire curiosity through participatory learning and community engagement, The Fuller Creative Learning Center, an extension of East Providence Public Library, unrolls its first (totally free!) programs this fall.
The space is the former Anne Ide Fuller Library branch, transformed with a vision that the newly appointed Coordinator of Learning and Discovery Rashaa Al-Sasah describes as an opportunity to bring the community together to share skills, interests and resources. The Learning Center features a teaching kitchen, recording studio, 3-D printer, and flexible learning spaces to adapt to the changing needs of the programming.
The program schedule debuts in October including a STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art and math) for toddlers for program, preschool music class, abstract painting class for adults, jack-o-lantern carving workshop, and small business workshop series. There are also 3-D printing drop-in sessions to learn about 3-D printing, watch it in action, and even bring a .STL file design to print (upon approval).
Thriving Families of East Providence, a collaboration of early childhood programs, hosts a Family Fun Fair at the Fuller Creative Learning Center from October 13 from 5 - 7 pm showcasing local information and resources, a live animal show with Dave Marchetti's Animal Experiences, and food!
We look forward to exploring new things with the Fuller Creative Learning Center and watching how it evolves over time!
You may know Ricky, artist-in-resident from Kidoinfo Storytime and Art in the Park summer series in Burnside Park. Happy to share and promote his creative genius and newest project: The Ricky Rainbow Beard Show. Check it out!
The Ricky Rainbow Beard Show
What it is: a children's variety show that includes costumed characters, puppets, video, music, dancing, crayons, and a special guest star
When: Tuesday, October 4 @ 5pm
Where: Aurora Providence - 76 Westminster St, Providence, RI 02903
Cost: $7 per person
By Providence Children's Museum
This summer, kids and adults can explore beats and rhythm and make some joyful noise on two vibrant interactive sound sculptures recently installed in The Children’s Garden at Providence Children’s Museum.
Whether banging on drums or ringing bells, children inherently respond to making and sharing music. Designed to accommodate a range of physical abilities and skills, the sound sculptures invite children of all ages to play a variety of inventive percussion instruments in their own ways and create meaningful interactions with music and with each other. Making music together promotes confidence and social skills, as well as the development of language, mathematical and spatial thinking – and it's just plain fun!
By incorporating a variety of intriguing reclaimed objects and new materials, the playful sound sculptures offer kids a hands-on musical experience with both usual and unusual instruments, including bells and tongue drums fashioned from steel propane tanks, triangles and large wooden and metal chimes.
The captivating musical components have infused The Children’s Garden with even more creative exploration, and inspire families to express themselves while discovering ways that everyday items can be playfully repurposed. Feel the beat!
There are plenty of other great play opportunities at the Museum this summer, too! Get Out! for hands-on activities in The Children’s Garden on Tuesday afternoons, climb aboard a different vehicle during Wheels at Work each Wednesday morning, build with big blue Imagination Playground blocks every Friday, and much more! Learn more.
Kidoinfo + Downtown Parks Conservancy present: Summer Family Fun on the Plaza in Burnside Park
Tuesdays and Thursdays (July and August). FREE. All Ages.
Now in its 7th year, Kidoinfo has partnered with Jen Smith of the Downtown Providence Parks Conservancy to create FREE weekly summer events, both fun and enriching, that attracts hundreds of families to downtown Providence.
Downtown Tuesdays! Kidoinfo Play in the Park
Every Tuesday (July 5 - August 30) from 3-6pm
Music, games, educational activities, a Free-Play Mobile Playground and more for kids of all ages! Added bonus: Food trucks and Farm Fresh Rhode Island Downtown Farmer's Market!
Designed to support and encourage children’s playtime: Music, games, educational activities and more for kids of all ages along with weekly enrichment programming from community partners. This year, Kidoinfo will be teaming up with playSCIENCE in July and August to offer hands-on fun. Miss Katie will be leading nature-oriented expeditions and musical shindigs to enlighten our little ones.
Thursdays on the Plaza! Kidoinfo Storytime + Art in the Park: Making on the Moon!
Every Thursday (July 7 - August 18)
10:30am - 12:30pm
Families bring a blanket and enjoy different storytellers under the trees near the fountain in Burnside Park followed by art-making with guest artist Ricky Katowicz.
With PVD Food Trucks @ Kennedy Plaza (11:30am-1:30pm)
And later on Thursday: Family-friendly music series and beer garden from 4:30 — 7:30pm
- 10:30am: Storytime features at least one story each Thursday morning from a local Rhode Island author, illustrator or storyteller and is accompanied by a mini-mobile playground and face-painting for little ones who have the wiggles, so the whole family can enjoy!
- 11:30am: Art in the Park - Making on the Moon! This creative program encourages children to make and participate in their own storytelling magic through art. Our visiting artist Ricky Katowicz is back for a third year of programming to host Making on the Moon: The World of Tomi Ungerer! Tomi Ungerer’s books will be transformed into magical experiences using all of the five senses! Katowicz will be hosting several guest artists to lend their specialties to bringing the playful and curious world of Tomi Ungerer’s books to life in Burnside Park.
Open Air Reading Room and Imagination Center At Our Open Air Reading Room browse books featured in past Storytimes, as well as books from our Leave a Book - Take a Book program. Explore with our Imagination Playground and new Imagination Theatre!
GET WITH THE PROGRAM! Donations for our “Leave a Book — Take a Book” bin are sought for the series. Your donations can make it possible for any child who needs or wants a book to take one home with them and keep the excitement about stories and books going! If you want information about how you can get involved and support this free, high-quality & accessible family programming, email: email@example.com.
THANK YOU TO OUR SPONSORS: City of Providence, The Dept. of Arts Culture & Tourism, Dept. of Parks + Recreation, Greater Kennedy Plaza, Downtown Providence Parks Conservancy, Providence Foundation, Providence Tourism Council, RISCA, Hasbro, Inc., Kidoinfo, Books on the Square.
Burnside Park, Downtown Providence, Rhode Island
Week 1 :
Tuesday, July 5: Play in the Park
Thursday, July 7: Storytime and Art in the Park
10:30am — 12:30pm
Week 2 :
Tuesday, July 12: Play in the Park
Thursday, July 14: Storytime and Art in the Park
10:30am — 12:30pm
Tuesday, July 19: Play in the Park
Thursday, July 21: Storytime and Art in the Park
10:30am — 12:30pm
Tuesday, July 26: Play in the Park
Thursday, July 28: Storytime and Art in the Park
10:30am — 12:30pm
Tuesday, August 2: Play in the Park
Thursday, August 4: Storytime and Art in the Park
10:30am — 12:30pm
Tuesday, August 9: Play in the Park
Thursday, August 11: Storytime and Art in the Park
10:30am — 12:30pm
Tuesday, August 16: Play in the Park
Thursday, August 18: Storytime and Art in the Park Closing Event
10:30am — 12:30pm
Tuesday, August 23: Play in the Park
Tuesday, August 30: Play in the Park
NUTS ‘n BOLTS:
Location: Under the trees near the fountain in Burnside Park, Kennedy Plaza
Rain/Heat location: Aurora, 276 Westminster Street, Providence, RI
Parking: Metered street parking. Park in the mall parking lot. $2 for up to 3 hours. Or check RIPTA.com for schedules.
Food: Bring a picnic or buy food from an array of local food trucks.
Ages: All ages
Cost: Free event
Story hours are a great way to discover new books with your child. Oftentimes kids love to hear their favorites over and over. Find them at the local library. When we want to a buy a copy for our own personal collection, we love to support local bookstores.
Here’s a list of some of our favorites:
- Books on the Square: 471 Angell Street, Providence, RI 02906
- Barrington Books — 184 County Rd. Barrington, RI, 02806
- Myopic Books — 5 South Angell Street, Providence, RI 02906
- Symposium Books — 240 Westminster Street, Providencea