Community Events: Camp Flax Kidsfest

Every year Flax Art & Design in Oakland, California celebrates summer, art and kids with Kidsfest: a free, fun day of family-friendly arts and crafts. This year’s Kidsfest theme was Camp Flax, which celebrates the great outdoors and the California camping experience: think redwoods, wildlife and scouts. The event features various vendors and community organizations such as The Musem of Children’s Arts and the San Francisco Museum of Craft and Design. Staff dress up and the store is transformed into redwood forest where kids and their families can enjoy face painting, a sing-along and dozens of craft activities.

Getting The Word Out

While people in the community simply know to look out for this long-standing event every summer, Manager Joni Marie outlines a multi-faceted outreach strategy aimed at reaching new families as well as the repeat customers.

“We advertise through our own social media, the store landing page and others as well: 510 Families, Mommy Files, Red Tricycle, FunCheapSF. We create banners and decorate the store to pique customer interest, with signs in our kids area of the store.”

MacPherson’s Account Manager / Ranger Kim Cichy with Store Manager / Ranger Joni Marie

As for logistics the day of, it’s all hands on deck. Joni ensures that all of her staff can make it that day; participating organizations man their own tables and bring a helper if needed.

The decorations go a long way in making an impression – especially when customers begin to notice redwoods and owls popping up throughout the store.

As for logistics the day of, it’s all hands on deck. Joni ensures that all of her staff can make it that day; participating organizations man their own tables and bring a helper if needed.

Tips & Tricks For Activities Kids Love

What makes a successful kid activity? How do we make a lasting impression that impacts sales? Events like Kidsfest inform these questions, especially when staff can learn from the experience (and improve it) year after year. This year, Kidsfest activities included:

Joni points out the key to facilitating a popular activity. “The most successful crafts? The 10 minute make-and-takes. Kids get to take something home, that day. Parents like that kids actually make an object, not just another drawing to stick on the fridge.”

Camp is in session! River rock painting with Sennelier Abstract Acrylics

Kidsfest also reminds us of the integral role of art supplies in creating memorable playing experiences. Art supplies can be used to inspire play, whether or not the activity is specifically related to creating art. Encouraging play that utilizes products that you carry introduces parents to supplies they need to recreate the fun at home.

“One year, Faber-Castell brought in a kids art specialist. We spray painted gravel and went panning for gold; it was a fun freebie for the kids. We try to center play with art being a part of it. Doing hands on things, trying to hit different age groups with the kids. It’s not just about the products, but we do have the goal of having parents seeing how they work. Most kids are under ten, but sometimes siblings want to participate and feel encouraged. Then the whole family usually ends up participating.”

Do you have a community event you’d like to share with us? Ideas about utilizing the power of play in your store? Connect with us at artdogblog (@) gmail.com and share your wisdom.

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