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.
I can remember being in elementary school on the day of a solar eclipse. My mom sent me off for the day with a kiss, my lunch box, and words I recall as: don’t look at the sun today or you’ll go blind. I’m pretty sure I walked directly home from the bus with my eyes to the ground and one hand shielding my brow like a visor. Safe in my bedroom I still had my sight!
On August 21, 2017 there will be an eclipse of the sun. I’m intrigued by stories of people planning road trips toward the “path of totality” and find myself drawn to the occurrence like a moth to a flame. Can I look this time, what do I tell my boys, and what is a path of totality?
Sometimes when the moon orbits Earth, it moves between the sun and Earth. When this happens, the moon blocks the light of the sun from reaching Earth. So rude! This causes an eclipse of the sun, or solar eclipse. During a solar eclipse, the moon casts a shadow which is only visible from a small area on Earth. The people who see the total eclipse are in the center of the moon’s shadow. The sky becomes very dark, as if it were night. For a total eclipse to take place, the sun, moon and Earth must be in a direct line.
The Path of Totality
Sounds like a great name for a board game or metal band but it is describes the course that will stretch from Salem, Oregon to Charleston, South Carolina where observers will see the moon completely cover the sun for about two and a half minutes. In Rhode Island, we’re outside this path but will still be treated to a partial solar eclipse where the moon covers part of the sun's disk.
According to Dave Huestis at the Seagrave Memorial Observatory in Scituate, the sun will be 72% eclipsed from central Rhode Island, and will last between 1:27 p.m. until 4:00 p.m., with maximum eclipse occurring at 2:47 p.m. Read more at Read A Guide to the Total Solar Eclipse of 2017 from the Seagrave Memorial Observatory in Scituate.
Hide or Seek
While I didn’t need to hide under my bed, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration better known as NASA, does repeated state to NEVER look directly at the sun: It can permanently damage your eyes! You must use proper safety equipment to look at any type of solar eclipse. The only acceptable glasses are safe viewers designed for looking at the sun and solar eclipses. Not old film, not sunglasses, and not all welder’s helmets.
Activities Around Rhode Island
Many venues have family-friendly celebrations planned, some even providing eclipse viewing glasses. Please visit links to verify and to note if events are free of charge, require admission, or ask for a donation fee.
Solar Eclipse Coloring Project
Print one for each member of the family (or create your own) to color and fill-out together for a special keepsake of the 2017 Solar Eclipse!
Party with Local Flavor
So the solar eclipse is on a Monday and we’re not in the path of totality but it can still be a reason to have fun. Consider having kidos over after school. NASA has resources for hosting an eclipse party. Consider serving milk flavored with Eclipse coffee syrup, our official State drink (noting there must be caffeine so maybe older kids only).
NASA has created a comprehensive and easy-to-use website guide that provides all things eclipse: activities, events, broadcasts, and most importantly safety information.
playSCIENCE with Miss Katie, fun music + science exploration!
Superhero Day! and World Instruments finger painting with Heidi!
Plus, Sidy Maiga hosts an open drum circle from 5-6pm
Powerful Percussion! Join Miss Katie as we explore all of the sounds we can make on a drum! We’ll play drums big and small, and experiment with making our own shakers. We’ll test our ears and see if we can guess what’s inside Miss Katie’s Rainbow Egg Shakers. Take your shaker home and see if anyone can guess what’s inside!
Ocean fun finger painting with Heidi!
HONK! Festival Ballet Providence brings to life the delightful story of a swan who wants to be a ballerina for the Play In The Park on August 8th. Hear the telling of HONK: The Story of a Prima Swanerina written by Pamela Duncan Edwards. A ballerina from FBP will be there to perform an expert from the ballet Swan Lake. FBP Director of Community Engagement will teach the children a swan dance and assist them in creating a swan craft.
Plus, Sidy Maiga hosts an open drum circle from 5-6pm
Providence Children’s Film Festival Animation Workshop
Looking forward to seeing you in the park on Tuesday, July 11!
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.
Kids Reading Across Rhode Island (KRARI), the ‘one book, one state’ initiative to transition the joys of reading from the classroom to summer vacation for students in grades 3-6, kicks off its 8th year with the 2017 award-winning book, Save me a Seat by Sarah Weeks and Gita Varadarajan. Internationally acclaimed storyteller Len Cabral chairs the 2017 KRARI program featuring a May 13th kickoff event with a presentation and book signing by authors Weeks and Varadarajan at the State House, whose marble halls bustle with activities and games presented by Rhode Island libraries and community organizations. Every family participating receives one free autographed copy of the book (while supplies last). Kids Reading Across Rhode Island is a partnership of the Rhode Island Center for the Book at the Rhode Island Council for the Humanities and the Rhode Island Office of Library and Information Services to inspire young readers to keep their school supported reading momentum going through their summer vacation.
About This Year’s Book Save Me a Seat
Veteran writer Sarah Weeks and first-time author Gita Varadarajan address common middle school fears of two young characters struggling to find their way. Joe and Ravi are from very different places, but they're both stuck in the same place: SCHOOL. Joe's lived in the same town all his life, and was doing just fine until his best friends moved away and left him on his own. Ravi's family just moved to America from India, and he's finding it pretty hard to figure out where he fits in. Librarians across the country recommend the book as a read-aloud forcing the listener to walk in someone else’s shoes. Save me a Seat, full of empathy and humor, explores issues of diversity, culture, assumptions and parenting styles.
About the Authors
Award-winning writer Sarah Weeks (Pie; So B. It) and India-born debut author Gita Varadarajan present a poignant, comical cultural exchange in the alternating voices of two fifth-grade boys. Sarah Weeks’ first YA novel, So B. It, was an ALA Best Book for Young Adults and the 2004 Parent's Choice Gold Award and her Regular Guy series has resulted in a development deal with Disney for a feature length live-action film. She has two grown sons and lives in New York City.
Gita Varadarajan was born and raised in India. She has worked with children all over the world, and now teaches second grade in Princeton, N.J. Save Me a Seat, written with Sarah Weeks, is her first novel.
About Kids About Reading Across Rhode Island
KRARI, the summer reading initiative for students in grades 3-6, encourages students across the state to read the same book and engage in community discussions and programs that integrate school and summer reading. Now in its 8th year, KRARI begins in classrooms, school libraries, and public libraries with discussion groups centered on the selected book. Students, teachers, parents, and librarians rally at the annual May Kick-Off Event at the State House where they may meet the authors in-person, receive a free, signed copy of the book, participate in activities related to the themes of the book, and learn more about summer reading programs with local libraries and community partners. Programming continues in public libraries throughout the summer, expanding into summer reading programs that introduce new books and encourage continued reading beyond the assigned school curriculum. The 2017 statewide children’s summer reading theme is Build a Better World! Kids Reading Across Rhode Island receives major funding from TD Bank and the Institute of Museum and Library Services.
Sets of books are available to classroom teachers and library discussion groups by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org. Further reading lists, book discussion guides, the author’s website, audio interviews and other supplementary material may be found on the websites of Rhode Island Center for the Book and the Office of Library and Information Services.
About Rhode Island Center for the Book at the Rhode Island Council for the Humanities
Rhode Island Center for the Book at the Rhode Island Council for the Humanities is a statewide organization devoted to promoting personal and community enrichment by celebrating the art and heritage of reading, writing, making, and sharing books. The Center was founded in 2003 as the state affiliate of the Center for the Book at the Library of Congress and is hosted by the Rhode Island Council for the Humanities. The Humanities Council’s mission is to seed, support, and strengthen public history, cultural heritage, civic education, and community engagement by and for all Rhode Islanders. As part of this ambitious mission, Rhode Island Center for the Book promotes a love for books among people of all ages and backgrounds across Rhode Island. www.ri.book.org
About The Office of Library and Information Services
The Office of Library and Information Services (OLIS) is the state library agency for Rhode Island. OLIS supports and strengthens library and information services in the state to ensure that all residents will benefit from free and convenient access to library and information resources and services. OLIS supports children's library services statewide by facilitating reading promotion and educational activities, through advocacy for children’s library services, and through collaboration with other state agencies and non-profit organizations, including school/public library cooperation. www.olis.ri.gov
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.
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!
In celebration of WHO/UNICEF World Breastfeeding Week, the Rhode Island Breastfeeding Coalition is hosting the 4th annual Born to Breastfeed event at Roger Williams Park Zoo. This event invites the community for a unique opportunity to explore the zoo by night and makes breastfeeding information and other family health resources available. In addition to the zoo exhibits and dozens of vendors, there will be music, performances, raffles, concessions, and more!
The Rhode Island Breastfeeding Coalition is a non-profit coalition of community organizations and groups dedicated to supporting breastfeeding in Rhode Island. By hosting events to promote breastfeeding best practices, RIBC hopes to increase rates of breastfeeding in the state and improve the health and well-being of Rhode Island women and children.
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