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Baby-on-Board Review: Wiggleworms in Millennium Park

By Elizabeth Shapiro in Arts & Entertainment on Jun 13, 2007 5:00PM

Something’s buzzing in Millennium Park this summer, and it isn’t the type of bug you’re thinking of. The Old Town School of Folk Music’s Wiggleworms program heads outside this summer for free daily morning concerts; it’s the hippest place to see and be seen for the toddler set.

The concerts follow same format as traditional Wiggleworms classes: interactive folksy kids’ songs, a chance to play along with simple instruments passed out to the crowd, and an ending complete with dancing and bubbles. This summer, the program’s best instructors have signed up to play at the park. 2007_06_WigglewormsB.jpgWe saw Abby Rowold, who not only has a beautiful voice, but also has a great act. Her jokes, props and clever commentary had the little ones cheering and their adults chuckling. She took requests from a pair of two-year-olds for “The Wheels on the Bus,” and the rest her set included old standbys like "Old MacDonald" and a hysterical rendition of “Five Little Monkeys.” Rowold, accompanied by a puppet monkey, took the time to coach the kids through their sternest impersonation of the doctor warning to keep those monkeys off of the bed. She had 50 kiddos absolutely mesmerized. The forty-minute concert flew by.

Wiggleworms classes traditionally cater to kids 5 years old and younger, but the tent was packed a mixture of ages, from infants to preteens, the latter pretending to look disinterested but unable to stop their feet from tapping. The concerts are probably best suited for kids older than one; our nine-month old crawler was a bit trampled by toddlers cramming the baby version of a mosh pit. A mat was wisely laid down closest to the stage for the mobile toddlers, and benches flanked the stage for parents who wanted to sit with their infants. A stroller park insures that you’re not craning your necks over someone’s Bugaboo to see the show.

Did we mention that the shows are free? With Wiggleworms classes costing over $100 for 8 weeks, this isn’t only a great way to spend a morning but also one heck of a deal. Take your brood, and head on down to the big tent at Millennium Park’s Chase Promenade North every day at 10 a.m. this summer to see what the buzz is all about.