pookie play dates : art a la carte





a few mornings ago Sebe and i were faced with the eternal dilemma (or one that only a 19-month old and his stir-crazy mother can have); a city full of mommy and me things to do, which one to take on today?! as with lots of these events, i often see them listed on the pdx kids calendar several times until one day, they seem like the perfect fit for those couple of hours. and too, as the pookie gets older, more of these events feel doable. it’s much more fun when he can participate and it’s not just myself getting giddy over say, a shaving cream table.




i’ve biked past art a la carte’s new northeast location so many times and always wondered what was happening inside. Complete and utter art making magic, that’s what. there are lots of open studio hours every week. we went on a Wednesday when it’s open most of the day, from 10am-5pm. we got there right as doors were opening which in hindsight, was lovely because it meant that we had the place to ourselves for a few wee moments before the Spring break crowd tumbled in. I don’t even know where to start – the place is basically set up to let anyone from ago 0-120 come in and go ham with supplies like vibrant finger paint, art easels, a ton of bins filled with everything from pom pom balls to stickers to plastic toys to glitter to empty egg cartons that can be regular or hot glued onto a ton of paper/cardboard choices. and the shaving cream table. there’s a shaving cream table. it is awesome. Sebe mostly wanted to try and squeeze out the last few drops of cream from the can. Only my chile would find the can more interesting than the entire cream-filled table complete with tons of interesting toys with which to play with the shaving cream.


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aside from the sheer joy i derived from watching the budding basquiat in my tiny one come alive but holy hell – it was incredible being in a space where every surface has already been covered in glue, glitter and gunk from hundreds of previous sticky little palms. i didn’t have to worry one nanosecond about what Seb was doing or touching or ruining. for maximum fun, all the products put out by the carte, including those bold finger paints,  wash out easily with soap and water (i can vouch for this). even so, i definitely recommend dressing yourself and your mini me in crappy outfits so you can seriously go to town and not give two shits about getting covered in color. after an hour and a half of messy play, Seb and i both left covered in gunk and glitter. the rest of the day, the kiddo looked like he had the best night of his life in pure portland style; strip clubs and food carts, curtesy of multiple snack breaks, which they also totally allow.




with nap time calling, we headed out on a total art high with gluey fingertips, pen-marked faces and Seb’s first collage – okay so I might have helped a little bit but only because he can’t work a hot glue gun yet, sheesh, everyone’s a critic.

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i can’t wait to go again. c’mon, let’s go glue our fingers together.


$11 per artist (no fee for adults!)
kiddos get to keep everything they make aaaand you can come, go and come back in the same day!!! just ask for a hand stamp before leaving.