Winter break treats for children and families
By Lee Hyo-won, Kwon Mee-yoo
The winter vacation is here, and children might be excited about sleeping in, intense snowball fights and indulging in seasonal food. However, it’s also a ripe opportunity to squeeze in something educational yet loads of fun. Holiday programs involving museum-going, orchestral music and live performances are all lined up to entertain the restless youngsters on break from school.
Day at the museum
Explore various aspects of East Asian culture at the Samsung Children’s Museum in Songpa-gu. Throughout January and February, the museum will offer Japanese mask-making sessions (weekdays at 1 p.m.); a chance to create drawings using Chinese calligraphy stamps (everyday at 2:30 and 3:30 p.m.); and an opportunity to learn a Chinese lion dance and make more masks (weekends at 1:45 p.m.). Call (02) 2143-3600 or visit kids.samsungfoundation.org for more information.
For more fun hands-on experiences, check out the National Museum of Contemporary Art, Korea or the National Museum of Korea in Yongsan. Kids can learn how to make dolls, robots, and solar-powered cars (the art museum) as well as Goguryeo-style ancient murals (from Jan. 4 to 21 at the National Museum of Korea). Children can also contemplate the classic question of what they want to be when they grow up — they can find out about what it’s like to be a museum curator at the National Museum (elementary grades 4 to 6) or a pop-up book artist at the art museum. Call (02) 2077-9333 (National Museum) or (02) 2188-6072 (art museum).
Jangheung Art Park in Gyeonggi Province is holding “Pop Party,” featuring pop art by the likes of Andy Warhol, through March 27. A special corner for children offers visitors a chance to make pop art-inspired T-shirts and bags. Call (031) 977-0500. Meanwhile the Chuncheon Animation Museum in Gangwon Province will be opening every Monday, when it is normally closed, to cater to the rising number of visitors during the winter break through Feb. 28.
Did you know it costs about 38 won to mint a 10-won coin? Learn all about the process of making money at the Currency Museum of Korea in Daejeon, which is overseen by the Korea Minting & Security Printing Corporation (KOMSCO). Every Wednesday at 2 p.m. through Jan. 30, the museum is offering elementary school students a chance to learn about the history of minting coins by making coin booklets. Materials are limited so each family with children is entitled to no more than two coin booklet sets. During the course of the event the museum is also offering guided tours and surprise quiz sessions at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. Family movies are being screened at 2 p.m. on weekends through the end of January. Call (042) 870-1200 or visit museum.komsco.com for more information.
The Incheon Children’s Museum has arranged a variety of special programs and is taking reservations as space is limited. Every Tuesday and Thursday from Jan. 4 to 20, children (age 4 to elementary school students) can make folk costumes and pottery from around the world, pen flutes and cookie houses. Every Saturday from Jan. 8 to Feb. 26, families with children are invited to make figurines using spaghetti or rainbow-hued tofu. Call (032) 432-5600 or visit www.enjoymuseum.org for more information.
Classical concerts for youths
The Seoul Metropolitan Youth Orchestra is holding a “Winter Classics” concert on Jan. 8 at the Grand Theater at the Sejong Center for the Performing Arts.
The orchestra’s “Summer Classics” was a big hit last year and this winter the concert will feature Russian music, interpreted by conductor Park Tae-young who studied in Russia.
The repertoire includes Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov’s “The Flight of the Bumble Bee” and Georgi Sviridov’s “The Snowstorm,” part of a piece entitled “Romance” that was used as background music by figure skating star Kim Yu-na during the 2003-04 season. Call (02) 399-1114 for reservations.
The Seoul Metropolitan Theater presents a rendition of Shakespeare’s famed play “The Merchant of Venice,” dramatized for children, through Jan. 23 at the M Theater of the Sejong Center for the Performing Arts. It is part of the municipal theater company’s Shakespeare series for families.
Set in the 14th century, the play tells the story of moneylender Shylock’s evil scheme to torment Bassanio, his lover Portia and his friend Antonio and how Portia solves all the problems.
There will be post-performance discussions led by visiting artist Shira Milikowsky on Jan. 5, 12 and 19. Milikowsky is a theater director specialized in revamping classical plays and she will talk about why Shakespeare is important, the female characters in his play and more. For more information call (02) 399-1114.
Seoul Namsan Gugakdang opens the year with a musical play “The Farting Lady,” a joint production of the Sejong Center, Sadari Theater Company and Moby Duck Theatre Company from the United Kingdom.
Based on a Korean folk tale by the same title, the show combines mask play, madangnori (traditional outdoor performance), mime and puppet play.
The show runs from Jan. 28 to Feb. 27. Call (02) 2261-0515 for detailed information.