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Free Activities at the Festival

Free games, art-making activities, and more

Local performers and organizations offer art-making, educational activities, games, and more in Rice Park, Landmark Plaza, and surrounding areas.

AuSM Inclusion Square
Hosted by the Autism Society of Minnesota

Recommended for all ages

Join us to make and play with a fortune telling game promoting inclusivity!

Sun, Moon Earth Orrery
Hosted by the Bell Museum

Recommended for all ages

As we celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Apollo landing on the moon this summer, come visit us to create your very own sun, moon, and Earth orrery.  An orrery is a movable model of how an orbit works in space. Grab a free glow-in-the-dark constellation pencil and join us to reach for the stars and give yourself some SPACE!

Smell the Flower – Blow Out the Candle & Making Maracas
Hosted by the Blast Off To Kindergarten

Recommended for all ages

Create a tissue paper flower and candle that can be used as a tool to help calm your mind and body! Then create a maraca out of re-purposed materials. Come make music, too!

Costume Design
Hosted by the Children’s Theatre Company

Recommended for all ages

Through research boards and renderings, walk through a costume design process, and create your own costume using fabric swatches for a show in our upcoming 2019-2020 season!

Draw Your Story Cloth
Hosted by the Hmong Museum

Recommended for 5+

View beautiful Hmong story cloths and create your own. Using crayon to draw your story, you can learn to use Hmong symbols or be inspired by Hmong symbols. Your drawing will then be iron pressed on a square piece of cloth of your choosing!

Vietnamese Crafts and Clothes
Hosted by Hoang Anh Vietnamese Dance Group

Recommended for all ages

Individualize Vietnamese paper crafts with your own designs while learning the cultural significance of Vietnamese paper crafts. While you’re at it, try on traditional Vietnamese garments!

Indian Games, Henna, and Learning
Hosted by the India Association of Minnesota

Recommended for all ages

 Take in the differences and similarities of Indian culture to your on through traditional games, henna, and exhibit displays. Experience with us the beauty and vibrance of India!

Transformation with Kendama
Hosted by Kendama Institute

Recommended for 6+

Play, explore, and learn hands and minds on with the Japanese game of Kendama. Learn about the history of Kendama dating back to early 18th century, its origins, and why it is still relevant today,. Try out the basic techniques of playing kendama, and practice our education principles of Patience, Observation, Interaction, and Perseverance. Don’t forget to design your very own dream Kendama!

Mini Me Self Portraits
Hosted by Minnesota Children’s Museum 

Recommended for all ages

Utilize drawing tools and materials from our Studio to make a self portrait the size of a business card!

Build a Band: Band Name Generator
Hosted by the Minnesota History Center

Recommended for all ages

In conjunction with the opening of our new exhibit in May, First Ave, create your very own band poster through a name generator activity, stamps, and ink pads. Can you design something that fits with the vibe of the band to advertise an upcoming show?

Paramapadam Game
Hosted by Ragamala Dance Company

Recommended for all ages

Paramapadam is an age-old precursor to Snakes and Ladders (Chutes and Ladders), in which you cab explore the journey of life and progress towards enlightenment. Learn about how this game relates to Ragamala’s upcoming performance of Written in Water at the Ordway!

Popsicle Stick Puzzles
Hosted by Saint Paul Public Schools

Recommended for all ages

Design your own puzzle using popsicle sticks and crayons. Want a challenge? Create a picture on both sides!

DIY Chalk, Bath Bombs, and Kite
Hosted by Science Museum of Minnesota

Recommended for all ages

Calling all tinkers and geniuses to join the Science Mueseum of Minnesota to make fun DIY take home science activities; don’t forget to learn what is new and happening at the museum’s exhibits and omnitheater!

Write Your Name in Korean
Hosted by the Sejong Academy Charter School

Recommended for 5+

Learn to write Korean characters and try your skills while writing your name in Korean. Also participate in and learn about Korean culture through active play games!

Willie Wonka Candy Ornaments
Hosted by Stages Theatre Company

Recommended for all ages

Stop by and visit with Stages Theatre Company to learn about the upcoming summer production of Willy Wonka and create your own magic candies! A fun arts & craft project for all ages!

Explore Engineering Hosted by The Works Museum

Recommended for ages 4-12

Decorate and assemble pre-cut paper frames and prism paper lenses. When worn in sunshine, kids then see rainbows through their glasses due to the breaking and refracting of light through the special paper. This is an easy table-top activity that works well with large groups of visitors in an outreach setting.

Express Yourself Bookmarks Hosted by SteppingStone Theatre for Youth

Recommended for all ages

Create a bookmark that is as unique as you are! Junie B is unapologetically herself, celebrates her quirks, and views them as assets in navigating the perils of school. We celebrate the same things in our students! Celebrate your own quirkiness by designing a bookmark – including it’s smell!

STEAM Skills and Meet Arthur & Cat in the Hat Hosted by TPT – Twin Cities PBS

Recommended for all ages

Make your own creative work of spin art while learning about the power of centripetal force. You choose the colors and your spinning powers will make the art unique to you. While you’re here, Arthur and Cat in the Hat will be roaming the grounds, so be sure to say hello if you see them!

Storytelling with Friends Hosted by Trần Thị Minh Phước

Recommended for all ages

 Listen to Phuoc Tran, Anh-Hoa Thi Nguyen, Sarah Warren, Stephanie Watson, and Habso Mohmud share their favorite stories!

Anh-Hoa Thi Nguyen is a refugee, poet, community artist, activist, and educator. In the summer of 2018, she was the artist-in-residence for The Floating Library with her project Waves Enfolding: A Paper Memorial that honored the lives lost during the Vietnamese refugee waves of 1954 and after The War in Vietnam and South East Asia, 1975-1992. She has also been the host for the Minnesota Humanities Center’s “War and Memory” Series and Facilitator for their “Minnesota Remembers Vietnam” retreat. Anh-Hoa is a Lecturer of English at St. Catherine University 6/1. Saturday, 10-2 p.m

Habso Mohamud, the author of “IT ONLY TAKES ONE YES and a representative of UNESCO Center for Peace. Her most resonant mantra and guide as a writer is that “It Only Takes One Yes” to initiate the change and the transformation of ideologies and socio-cultural ways of living. That is much needed for children to thrive and exude the esteem and confidence she has been so destined to assume. 5/30 Thursday: 10-1 p.m

Sarah Warren is an early childhood educator who graduated from the Loft Literary Center’s Master Track apprenticeship program. Her debut picture book, Dolores Huerta: A Hero to Migrant Workers was picked for the Amelia Bloomer Top Ten Book List and awarded a Jane Addams Peace Association Children’s Book Award honor. Her second picture book, Beyoncé: Shine Your Light is forthcoming from Houghton Mifflin. Sarah’s family lives in Minneapolis with their dog, Bruce Valentine. 6/1 Saturday: 10-2 p.m.

Stephanie  Watson’s picture books include Best Friends in the Universe (2019 Minnesota Book Award finalist, illustrated by LeUyen Pham), Behold! A Baby (a 2016 Minnesota Book Award finalist, illus. by Joy Ang) and The Wee Hours (illus. by Mary GrandPré). Her two middle-grade novels, Elvis & Olive, and the sequel, Elvis & Olive: Super Detectives, were both Junior Library Guild selections. Stephanie loves visiting schools and libraries to speak about writing and creativity, and to encourage the next generation of authors. 5/31 Friday: 10-1 p.m.

Trần Thị Minh Phước spent 10 months in a refugee camp in Malaysia before coming to America. In 1984, after  a 50-hour Greyhound trip from California , she came to a land called Minnesota, where she believed that she could find the precious treasures in life-education and a safe environment. As the first Vietnamese librarian in Minnesota, award-winning author, and respected storyteller, she shares her experiences and knowledge of Vietnamese culture. 5/30 Thursday: 10-1 p.m.; 5/31 Friday: 10-1 p.m.; 6/1 Saturday: 2-6 p.m.


Weekday-Only Activities

During the weekdays leading up to the Flint Hills Family Festival on May 31 and June 1, the Festival hosts students from across the Midwest. The Ordway extends our thanks to the partners who help the school day Festival experience to spark imagination and inspire exploration!

Best Bugs in Minnesota
Hosted by Silverwood Park, Three Rivers Park District

Recommended for all ages

What do you think of when you think of bugs? Are they gross? Cool? After you experience Best Bugs, we think you will appreciate the bugs of Minnesota in a new way and become Best Buds with Bugs! Meet and experience live insects and learn what makes them an insect and how to classify them with our educators. Then, make your own take-home, artistic insect or bug and play with it in a mini Minnesota environment!

Instrument Petting
Hosted by Leo Lara

Recommended for all ages

Interpret the traditional songs and rhythms of Latin American countries using a wide variety of authentic instruments, including the charango, cuatro, bombo, quena, panpipes, and many others.

SAORI Weaving
Hosted by Chiaki O’Brien

Recommended for all ages and abilities

Express yourself with teaching artist Chiaki O’Brien and learn about “SAORI,”a contemporary Japanese, free-style hand weaving without any rules or restrictions of what or how to weave. 

Metal Casting
Hosted by artist, Sara Hanson

Recommended for all ages and abilities

Explore and create an original metal casting with public artist Sara Hanson. Learners have the option to pour lead-free pewter into a mold to create their very own casting. For all ages and abilities. 

Warbler Bird
Hosted by artist, Halle O’Falvey

Recommended for all ages and abilities

Halle OFalvey is a teaching artist focusing on the disability community. Supported by her recent M. ED. from Lesley University, she is project manager for Remembering With Dignity, and has integrated the arts into her community organizing and her activism in social justice work for people with disabilities.

Sparky Origami
Hosted by the Saint Paul Fire Department

Recommended for 8+

Learn to create Origami dogs to make a “Sparky the Fire Dog” and personalize it with creative materials. Don’t forget to include a fire safety message on the back of your Sparky!

Llama Trek
Hosted by the Minnesota Zoo

Recommended for all ages

In celebration of the debut of Llamas at the Minnesota Zoo on May 25, the Zoo will bring a Llama just to YOU! 

Beyond the Stage
Hosted by artist, Jess Grams

Recommended for all ages

Try on props and take your picture in “Beyond the Stage: A Career in the Performing Arts” to see yourself  working backstage, front of house, box office, at the Ordway with a green screen activity with artist Jess Grams.

Music Exploration
Hosted by artist, Annie Humphrey

Recommended for all ages

Annie Humphrey speaks and sings, while teaching of the Aanishinaabe way of life and the truth as she sees it.

Morrison Art
Hosted by artist, Briand Morrison

Recommended for all ages

“Musical Impressions: The art of George Morrison”  view over 100 images of George Morrison’s paintings, drawings and wood pieces from the 1940s through 2000, along with original jazz compositions composed by his son Briand Morrison (member of the Grand Portage Anishinaabe).

Folk Art
Hosted by artist, Shakun Maheshwari

Recommended for all ages

Visual artist, folk artist, and photographer, and owner “Shakuntala Design Inc.” since 1974, Shakun teaches, does demonstration workshops, and provides residencies.