Moms, your holiday is almost here! After the requisite brunch/flowers/opening of gifts, you (hopefully) get to choose the day’s activity, and as a mother to a busy toddler myself, I know this may be your one shot all year, so choose wisely!
Luckily, Mother’s Day usually coincides with the beginning of warmer weather and the opening of an array of antique shows, flea markets, craft fairs, and showhouses. It’s one of my favorite ways to spend the day (or any other Spring weekend), so we’ve compiled some handy "weekend calendars" with some of the best throughout the country to help you plan accordingly!
Growing up, my design assistant, Jillian, spent quite a bit of time at antique shows and showhouses, and she has some great tips for navigating these events with little ones in tow:
As the children of design-obsessed, antique collectors, my sister and I spent most weekends (and certainly Mother’s Day) following our parents around showhouses and flea markets. This was before iPads and smartphones, so my mother had to find ways to get us involved and excited about each outing. These weekends ‘at market’ helped me develop a love of design and an appreciation for pieces with history, and I fully plan on carrying on the tradition with my own kids! Here’s how:
1) Start a collection
Encourage your kids to start their own collection. Help them choose something fun and INEXPENSIVE. (Mine was vintage salt & pepper shakers in animal or character shapes.) While we browsed the antique show stalls, I happily hunted for my next shaker set (the rule was 1 per show), while talking to the vendors about each set’s origins. $10-$15 bought my parents 2-3 hours of shopping time, and I got to cultivate my own little collection.
2) Make it a game
One of the ways my sister and I made it through those enormous showhouses was to make a game out of the experience. As we moved from room to room, we called dibs on each space we liked. The ultimate goal was to create an entire (pretend) house, made up of the rooms we laid claim to. We wrote ours down in a little pad, but a fun, more visual way of keeping tabs would be to use an Instant camera, like this Fujifilm Instax. Let kids snap pictures of each room and paste them onto a hand-drawn layout of their “dream home.”
3) Bring a wagon!
When taking younger kids to outdoor shows, be sure to bring a wagon. It’s unrealistic to expect them to walk an entire fairground, and you’ll get more time to shop if they have the opportunity to rest and relax while you peruse. Strollers are fine too, of course, but the wagon is fun and exciting, and they’ll feel more like they’re on an adventure than being strapped in and pushed through a crowded fair.
4) When in doubt, “I Spy”
Flea markets and antique shows are such a visual treasure trove. It’s exciting for adults but easy for kids to feel overwhelmed and overstimulated. “I Spy” is a great way to get them to notice, focus on, and describe individual items they see (and also a helpful tool for overcoming boredom and whining!).
Happy hunting, Moms!