When I told a friend that we were taking our boys to the Institute for Contemporary Art in Boston, she said, "But how can they appreciate it?" It was a great question, but for us, taking the boys, just 1 and 3 years old, to art museums serves many purposes. First, I think giving them the opportunity to see that art can be fun can start the process of demystifying museums as boring places. Second, my husband and I love art, so we can trade off who is with the kids and thus we can actually see the exhibits. Finally, it is all about preparation-enough snacks, finding art or spaces the kids will enjoy and then taking the plunge.
The ICA is fabulous for kids. When you walk in there is a great space to share a pre-exhibit snack and to make faces...in color! The elevator alone can create excitement in a child as it is completely made of glass so you can watch while you go up. Upstairs, at the end of the main exhibit is a terrific spot-a corridor that extends over the Boston Harbor. My sons could look for birds, barges, boats and watch the planes take off from Logan. And, yes, they could have another snack!
Despite eating their way through the ICA, by 11: 30 we were all hungry. So, we headed to dim sum in Chinatown. I have enjoyed Dim Sum at China Pearl and Hei Lei Moon. But today we miraculously found a parking spot outside of Chau Chow City at 83 Essex Street in Boston. Even better, there was no wait. I think Dim Sum is the perfect food with kids-from the minute you sit down the food arrives. At these 3 restaurants, carts come around with a huge range of dishes and you can point, try and get a range of foods. We order items that we know our toddler will love which often means chicken wings. But then we also order a range of other items. This time we had a delicious sauteed vegetable dish with pin noodles, dumplings with lotus seed, tofu skins wrapped around more vegetables, greens and more. My 1 year old loved the tofu with ginger syrup so much that he literally grabbed the cup and tried to suck it all down! The scene can be chaotic which diminishes any fear that your child's tantrum will disrupt the dining experience of others. Finally, although the little dishes can add up, I am always so full afterwards, that dinner preparation is easy-a plate of fruit for all!