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The Paso Robles Children's Museum and the SLO Museum of Art help keep kids occupied during the pandemic



Soon online K-12 classes will come to a close and summer will begin ... a summer usually filled with beach and pool days, blockbuster matinees, games in the park, and summer lessons. Hopefully some of that will still happen, but in the meantime, two local organizations will help keep your kids engaged in some fun activities.

Up in Paso Robles, the Children's Museum is giving out creativity kits this Saturday, May 30, beginning at 1 p.m. in the museum parking lot, according to Executive Director Jennifer Smith.

"We have created a really fun box of items to give out to the kiddos," she said in an email.

Justin Winery gave the museum a grant that funded the 1,000 kits, which will be distributed free on a first-come, first-served basis.

"They're supporters of the museum and they approached us," Smith said of the winery. "They've helped us in the past by sponsoring new exhibits and volunteer days to assist us with projects including cleaning the museum from top to bottom and building us a new playhouse outside."

According to the museum's press release, "The interactive kits come packed with items that will allow the kids to craft, construct, and create while at home." However, what's in the kits, which are aimed at children in kindergarten through sixth grade, is a secret.

"The kits include at-home projects and recipe cards, but it's a surprise!" Smith asserted. "I will say there's a bit of art, engineering, and even some music to be found inside. We're so very grateful to Justin Community Grants for supporting the museum and our local kids with these fun and interactive creativity kits. We're thrilled to be able to support the children and families in our community, and we look forward to seeing everyone playing again at the museum in the near future."

Currently the museum—a nonprofit organization—is closed due to the coronavirus. Located in the Paso Robles Volunteer Firehouse (623 13th St.), it serves children and families. You can learn more on the museum's website,, or by calling (805) 238-7432.

"We're still waiting on guidelines for reopening," Smith explained. "The museum is a high-touch play space, so it makes it difficult to determine when we will be able to provide a safe reopening. We're working on updating our HVAC to add new UV filters to help make sure everyone is breathing clean air while inside. Our cleaning plans will be adjusted to allow for more sanitizing during the day, and we're considering a split day where we are closed midday for additional cleaning. We're also going to need to make changes at the front desk and our check-in procedures as well as a capacity limit."

As for parents and the public, they're eager to get back to normal.

"Mostly they're looking forward to the museum reopening so they can get their kids out of the house and back to their usual routines," Smith noted. "It's been hard for the little ones—they just don't understand why they can't come and play right now. We're looking forward to seeing them soon."

Meanwhile in SLO Town, the San Luis Obispo Museum of Art (SLOMA) is offering free weekly art projects.

"Even though SLOMA's Summer Youth and Teen Art Camps—Kids Create—have been canceled, kids of all ages can continue to explore and create visual arts throughout the summer," the museum announced. "Now through August, SLOMA is launching free weekly art projects for kids to complete at home. Send us photos of your child's artwork, and we'll share it on Instagram. At the end of August, some pieces of summer artwork will be selected for a Kids Eye View virtual exhibition. Check our website each Monday for a new activity using materials readily at home."

WEEKLY ACTIVITIES Every Monday, the San Luis Obispo Museum of Arts is posting a weekly activity on its website, last week's being "Draw What You See," with guidance on how to draw a tree, which intrepid reporter Glen Starkey attempted to do lefthanded. - PHOTO BY GLEN STARKEY
  • Photo By Glen Starkey
  • WEEKLY ACTIVITIES Every Monday, the San Luis Obispo Museum of Arts is posting a weekly activity on its website, last week's being "Draw What You See," with guidance on how to draw a tree, which intrepid reporter Glen Starkey attempted to do lefthanded.

Last week's project was called "Drawing What You See" and instructed kids to take a 12-inch-by-18-inch piece of paper and a pencil, Sharpie, charcoal pencil, or crayon, and with the paper resting on a drawing board or heavy piece of cardboard, pick a tree to draw.

"Many times we draw using our imagination, [but] today we are going to do observational drawing, that's drawing what you look at and recording what you see. Take your art materials outside and find a tree in your yard or close by in the neighborhood. Sit far enough away so you can see the whole tree. Close one eye, use your hand to follow the shape of the trunk, working up through branches to the leaves, and maybe even some flower, seed pods or dried leaves! Choose one drawing tool, begin from the bottom up with lines to shape the tree. Continue drawing to build large shapes, fine details, and textures. Continue to observe and create a large portrait of your tree."

Photographs of your children's artwork, if emailed in jpeg format by 3 p.m. the following Thursday to Assistant Curator Courtney Davis at, will be posted on the Kids' Gallery on Instagram.

"Be sure to include your child's first name and age. Include just the artwork, not the artist holding the artwork," Davis explained.

According to the museum press release, "Materials for the weekly art projects are easy to find and inexpensive (you may already have the in your home!). If you do need to purchase materials, Art Central in San Luis Obispo is offering a special discount for SLOMA summer students: 10 percent off orders under $25 and 25 percent off orders over $25. Materials are available for curbside pickup at their location just off the intersection of Monterey Street and Johnson Avenue." Δ

Contact Senior Staff Writer Glen Starkey at


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