Color Me Good

Crayola fun bus parks at the Magic House

FRI 7/11

There's no need to draw on Mom and Dad's wall, young person. Instead, convince your alleged parental units to motor over to the Crayola Art-rageous Adventure, a celebration of the hundredth anniversary of Crayola that offers all kinds of creative outlets. The venerable company sponsors a wildly colored, oversized bus that rolls into the Magic House parking lot (516 South Kirkwood Road, 314-822-8900, 11 a.m.-4 p.m., free, www.crayolatour.com) and unfolds into a carnival of fun activities. Junior-sized humanoids may color on transparent walls with markers, use the new "twistable" and erasable crayons, paint with melted crayons, write on the pavement with sidewalk chalk, make creatures from spongy modeling material and frolic in the "Color Wonder Dome" (LSD optional). Also, the company is putting out a call for kids to sort through their buckets of crayons, winnow out all the blue-crayon fragments and bring them to the touring bus. In October, Crayola will melt them together into the world's largest crayon. And then, someone's baby brother will break it, and someone will cry. -- Byron Kerman

The Crayola Tour Bus, parked neatly inside the lines, awaits the next box of kids at the Magic House.
The Crayola Tour Bus, parked neatly inside the lines, awaits the next box of kids at the Magic House.

This Story Will Self-Destruct in 10 Seconds

WED 7/16

Boys love slingshots, turtles, Dad's hidden stash of Playboys and secret codes. Indulge them a little at Spies, Codes and Hidden Drawers, a cool program for kids at the Bissell House Museum (10225 Bellefontaine Road).

During the Revolutionary War, young Daniel Bissell delivered messages between George Washington and the Marquis de Lafayette, explains Museum director J.D. Magurany. The messages were probably written in code. Bissell later disguised himself as a Native American to deliver monetary payments to American forts. Codes and disguises are part of the interactive espionage games kids enjoy from 10 a.m.-noon and 2-4 p.m. ($5, pre-registration required; call 314-544-5714).

Ages 9-15 write and decode secret messages, learn about Civil War-era spies and enjoy a scavenger hunt. Perhaps the coolest experience of all is the introduction to the Bissell Mansion furniture with secret drawers and false panels. Don't forget to ask about the trap dooooooooooooooooooooor. -- Byron Kerman

For Whom the Butter Flies
Insect Catch-and-Release

SAT 7/12

The manly art of butterfly hunting has fallen out of favor in the past century. The sport of scientists needs to cultivate its own Hemingway -- a swaggering hunter with the spirit of the wind and the soul of an artist; someone who can glorify the chase and revive the ancient dance of wing and net. Butterfly Bliss, a nature program for second-to-fourth graders at Queeny Park (550 Weidman Road), might be the last hope for this dying art. For $4 each, youngsters receive a coloring book identifying these winged jewels, and then the brave and the quick can attempt to catch specimens of their own from 2-3:30 p.m. -- Paul Friswold

 
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