There's no shortage of engaging activities for Lawrence youngsters as the holiday season approaches.
And a good place for parents to begin looking is the Lawrence Arts Center, 940 N.H.
For instance, the center is offering a class called "Adult and Child Mosaic Ornaments," a one-day workshop that will take place from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Dec. 16.
The class costs $36 per pair of adult and child.
"Children can do this workshop with a parent, grandparent, aunt, uncle, Big Brother or Big Sister - any important adult in their lives," says Margaret Morris, the center's director of education.
Shanna Wagner, a longtime teacher at the arts center, will lead the workshop. Wagner teaches classes in stained glass and mosaics for adults throughout the year.
"Shanna's been doing this class (pairing adults and children) for at least the past six years. In terms of holiday-oriented classes here, we have in the past offered different things. But this one is a classic," Morris says.
Participants will make mosaic stained-glass ornaments by placing pieces of tumbled glass into patterns and fixing them in place with a form of cement.
"Kids make wonderful ornaments. You can pass these down; they're lovely. It's a really nice thing to do around the holidays. It's three hours spent making an heirloom together," Morris says.
Participants don't need to bring any supplies or even have any experience at this type of craft.
The workshop is designed for children who are age 6 and older, and there is usually room for 12 adult-child duos. But people who are interested in signing up for the class should act quickly, because it fills up every year.
To register, people can go online to www.lawrenceartscenter.org or call the center at 843-2787.
Crafts and cooking
Another activity that the arts center offers - this one just for children - is a "Holiday Integrated Arts Class," taught by Linda Reimond, director of the center's preschool, and Heather Smith Jones, one of the preschool's teachers.
The class, which is for children ages 3-5 (they must be toilet-trained), is from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. Fridays from Nov. 17 through Dec. 15, omitting Nov. 24 for Thanksgiving. Cost to participate is $55 per child, including materials and supplies. The class will be for 20 children.
"We're going to make gifts and wrapping paper and cards and do some holiday baking. Children will probably do a clay project as a gift to an adult," Reimond said.
"We've made ceramic bowls, ceramic picture frames. Then we're going to glaze and fire them. We've done this holiday activity for a long time, and it's usually pretty popular. It also gives parents a free two and a half hours on a Friday afternoon to do what they need to do, while their children are in a creative and safe environment."
The great thing about this class, Reimond said, is that children get to do things by themselves.
"It's an esteem builder. It gives them confidence."
Pageant and tea party
Parents who are looking for a holiday activity for the whole family might consider going to the Lawrence Arts Center's seasonal community production, a tradition for the past five years.
This year, the center is staging "The Snow Queen," a fairy-tale pageant created by Ric Averill, Deb Bettinger and Jeff Daringer. They are the creative team that produced "The Kansas Nutcracker," which was performed at the arts center in past years.
"The Snow Queen" is an original production featuring an orchestra, a professional cast of actors and dancers from the 940 Dance Company.
Performances will be at 7:30 p.m. Dec. 8-9; at 2 p.m. Dec. 10; at 7:30 p.m. Dec. 15-16; and at 2 p.m. Dec. 17.
Tickets cost $16 for adults, $11 for seniors, students and children.
A related event, "The Snow Queen's Crystal Tea Party," featuring the cast dressed in character, food and entertainment, will be Dec. 10. (Call the arts center for more details.)
"The tea party is a really fun thing. Kids will dress up for it. It's like a nice little holiday party with punch, cookies and entertainment, as well as ballerinas who will be there in costume," Morris said.
Santa makes visits
The arts center isn't the only place in town offering holiday activity for youngsters, though.
The Lawrence Parks and Recreation Department also provides a range of fun, supervised opportunities for children.
"Breakfast with Santa" will be from 9 a.m. to noon Dec. 9 at the Community Building, 115 W. 11th St., for children ages 3-12. The cost is $7 for adults, $5 for children.
"Children will do a small arts-and-crafts project, and then Santa will be spreading holiday cheer. The gentleman that we hired to portray Santa will make pancakes and flip them and feed the children," said Roger Steinbock, the department's marketing supervisor.
"Kids Night Out - Santa Splash" will be from 12:30 p.m. to 4 p.m. Dec. 16 at the Lawrence Aquatic Center, 4706 Overland Drive.
This activity is for children ages 5-12, and the cost is $12 per child.
"They're going to be making holiday crafts, play games for prizes, then they'll have some pool time and will also have pizza brought in, plus a visit from Santa Claus," Steinbock said.
"Holiday Happenings" is an activity offered for children on days when they are out of school, from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Dec. 27-29 at Holcom Park Recreation Center, 2700 W. 27th St.
This activity is for children ages 5-12, and the cost is $45 per child, with additional fees for any field trips.
"They'll be doing arts and crafts, games, sports and also some field trips as well. They'll go to the aquatic center, a movie or some other activities," Steinbock said
A "New Year's Eve Overnighter" will be from 8 p.m. Dec. 31 to 8 a.m. Jan. 1 at the Holcom Park Recreation Center. This activity, for children ages 5-12, features games, movies, a big countdown to midnight, plus popcorn and other snacks. Cost is $26 per child.
"They do go to sleep (overnight), so children should bring their own pillows and sleeping bags," Steinbock said.