Not having any kids myself, but still wanting to see the haps at tiny tba, I invited the closest thing I have, my pal Matt, to go with. We arrived in the middle of some aerobic-style dancing led by Anna Oxygen. She grooved and sang to the accompanying techno tunes and led an excited group of kinder (and some parents) in a variety of fun movements. They flapped their arms like birds and shook their bodies like rocket ships. She also gave the kids an imagination workout – asking them to imagine themselves traveling through their bodies and to picture all sorts of wonderful beasties. Between the heat, the dancing, and the high level of kid energy I think we were all glad with the music slowed and everyone was instructed to feel for their pulse (or someone else’s) and count. It was time to cool-down.
Before the next performers came out, we went exploring to see what other miniature hijinx were afoot. Out in the courtyard a number of be-smocked kids were painting an actual full-size car. By this time the vehicle was slathered in a rainbow of Tempera paints. (Suddenly the mom to daughter comment I had overheard earlier made sense: “Honey, maybe we won’t paint a car today.”) Judging from the papered windows and plates, Matt excitedly deduced that someone might actually drive this car and shared this thought with a couple 6-year olds who were working on the trunk. “Yeah?” said one in reply, “They would have to be a pretty wacky person.”
Back inside, more kids were creating art out the hundreds of paint chips piled on worktables. Completed projects lined the walls. Fun, fun, fun. I love seeing how kids put color together and was immediately inspired to paint my dining room. Fortunately, before I could do anything about it, I was distracted by a film editing station. Film editing. For kids! Kids would pick from all these random strips of movie film and then tape them together. Then, the film was looped and run through a film projector and we could see the finished product projected on to the wall.
Elizabeth Mitchell, the next performer, was ready to go on. She and her band (including husband Dan Littleton) sang mostly folk standards and proved to have quite a following among the pre-elementary school set. Even the band had a child to bring to tiny tba, so their little one was given the important tasks of providing train whistle on one song and the harmonica on another. Thanks to the youngest member of the band, there are a few lessons I think we all walked away with: 1) When playing the train whistle, always observe “the elbow rule” i.e. hold you elbow up the to microphone when you are about to play thus measuring an appropriate distance so as not to blow out the eardrums of your young fans; and 2) If you think that there may be an encore, under no circumstances should you lose your special harmonica. But you know what, that’s OK, because as the new encore song choice reminded us “Every little thing is gonna be alright.”
All in all, it was a full morning. I know there were other activities and shows going on, but let’s be honest, you can only spend so much time at tiny tba when you do not provide your own child. For parents though, it is wonderful that they have an opportunity to bring their kids out for a (free) afternoon of art and quality interaction and great that grown-ups are able to share TBA with their kids. Just to make things easy, I think next time I’m just going to break down and bring my own youngster. And for the record, that is not just my biological clock talking, it’s because tiny tba is awesome.