The Nest

The Nest

Sarah Crowder

Craving more quality time with your child? These area programs and institutions offer unique mother-child experiences that are sure to be full of entertainment while promoting togetherness.

The Nest

The Nest originally was conceived as a space for women and families, with a goal of creating a female perspective on the food-and-beverage scene, according to founder Christina McHugh. "We're very breastfeeding-friendly—you'll probably see three or four moms breastfeeding during lunch." But nutrition and healthy dining are only part of the equation, as The Nest also houses play spaces, child care services, classes and more. "We don't have any televisions," McHugh says. "For us, it's about getting back to connecting, not staring at a screen."

Starting on May 5, The Nest is holding its '7 Days of Mother's Day' celebration, which includes events like 'Mom's Night Out,' 'Mother & Son Dinner & Dancing,' 'Momma & Kiddo Wellness Day' and more.

Missouri History Museum's Parent & Me Program

Three times per year, the Missouri History Museum houses its Parent & Me program, designed for children ages 2 through 5. "We usually highlight our special exhibits, so this month, the four-week series was titled Happy Birthday, St. Louis," says Lindsay Newton, youth and family programs manager. "Each week at the program, we have a gallery, as well as a classroom, set up with activities created for our themes… [The kids] float through the stations at their own pace." Activities include things such as breaking open geodes, playing dress-up, working on craft projects, and face-painting.

This program costs $20 per family for the four-week course, and is free to friends-level museum members. Sessions run in February, April and October.

Infant Massage

Better digestion, improved sleep, less crying—these are just a few of the benefits of infant massage, according to local instructor Suzanne Tucker. Tucker, a physical therapist and certified educator of infant massage, teaches the ins and outs of infant massage to parents in both private and group classes. While she notes highly-researched results regarding sleep, digestion and the like, Tucker says one of the biggest benefits of infant massage is the bonding experience. "It's connecting to themselves in their new role as mom or dad, to each other, and to their children," says Tucker.

This rolling series is designed into a four-week course, which costs $15 for group class drop-in admission rate, or $60 for the group series.

Craft Alliance's Kids’ Clay with Parents/Grandparents

This program is a way of reconnecting families, according to studios manager Dan Barnett. "You're doing something directly with them and having the experience of making something." The five-week clay course meets once a week for two hours on Saturday morning. Both the adult and child work on projects, making it an educational experience for all involved. A session is underway now, and another will begin on June 7. "You can put together a mug, you can do a decorative tile—literally, if you're wanting to have something that's functional or completely sculptural, you can do it in this class."

Because of the age of the children, this class is primarily focused in hand-building, says Barnett. Private lessons are available for those interested in a parent-child course using the wheel.

Contemporary Art Museum's Stroller Tours and Play Dates

Multiple times per year, the doors of the Contemporary Art Museum open early for stroller-pushing mothers and their young children. "It's a way for them to come into the museum without feeling embarrassed if the kid is crying or something like that; no one needs to feel nervous about breaking the typical silence of a museum," explains director of education Tuan Nguyen. The morning Stroller Tour program is designed for infants to 2-year-olds.

Immediately after is the Play Date program, which is for toddler-aged children. Nguyen explains Play Date combines an art activity with an additional program, such as music, science, yoga or story-telling. He explains that this free program gives "more of a hands-on understanding of the artwork on view." The next Stroller Tour and Play Date events will be held on June 4.

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