The Magic of Scribbles and Splatters: Highlights from Art Explosion Jr. 

GiGi’s Playhouse Chicago has been a favorite place of our families since our daughter, Lily, was born in 2018. We had an at-birth diagnosis that quickly sent us on a journey into the Down syndrome community and led us right to GiGi’s. We found people who could help us learn about this fantastic new path we are on and some best friends for Lily!  

This is our second year being a part of Art Explosion Jr., run by Ms. Caroline. Looking back, I still am in shock at Lily’s improvement from last year to this year. We truly loved going to GiGi’s on Sunday mornings to help Lily work on her focusing skills and create some fun art!   

The atmosphere is always warm and welcoming. We can see that Lily feels right at home, to the point that she takes off her shoes as soon as she enters the Playhouse. As we settled into the class, I was amazed by Ms. Caroline’s patience and encouragement. She skillfully guided the children through different artistic activities while allowing them the freedom to explore and create at their own pace.  

 

One of the most beautiful aspects of the class was its adaptability. Ms. Caroline was flexible and kind when Lily ran off, losing interest for moments here and there. She would tell me that this was a no-pressure class where she knew Lily would come back to the table when she was ready. I also had to learn patience when it came to acknowledging that we are not here to force Lily to do art but to watch her enjoy it and learn how to help her create in her own way.   

Beyond the artistic endeavors, the class fostered a sense of community. Parents can bond over shared experiences, offering support and encouragement to each other. We absolutely love our #GirlSquad friends that we’ve made over the years. It has been beautiful to watch them learn and grow together at GiGi’s.   

As a parent, witnessing Lily’s growth and happiness throughout the class was a heartwarming experience. GiGi’s has created a space where not only our children can learn, but we as parents can as well. I loved being able to talk to Ms. Caroline about how to motivate Lily when creating art. Simple things like peeling a sticker off paper, the best art supplies to help with her fine motor skills, and not to panic when she leaves the table.   

For families seeking a supportive environment where their children can explore their artistic abilities or just run around with pom-poms, GiGi’s Playhouse Chicago Art Explosion Jr. class is an invaluable gem, offering art lessons and a canvas for boundless growth and joy. 

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