Monday, February 10, 2014

Passport Series: Celebrating Italy! {Experiencing the World with Yapa Events}

**Disclosure: We did receive complimentary admission to Celebrating Italy! in order to conduct an accurate review. All opinions are 100% our own.

I am always amazed by how many rich experiences we have within reach. Honestly, we do not really have to look hard in the Chicagoland area to escape our little worlds and stretch ourselves. However, life has a way of keeping us busy and we tend to forget what we have right here. Yapa Events launched a Passport Series concept that allows families to travel around the world without leaving the country. At the same time, Yapa highlights the wonderful businesses of Arlington Heights while incorporating fun family activities helping build family bonds.

Yapa's inaugural Passport Series Event was Celebrating Italy! hosted at Francesca's Tavola. Francesca's proved to be a fitting location for unveiling this wonderful country to us. Our class was held in a room separate from the main dining area of the restaurant. The room was light and airy with space for kids to move about yet had a bit of intimacy to it. Since family togetherness figures prominently in Italy, this location was perfect.

When we entered we were warmly greeted and the kids were thrilled to see chef hats! Hmmmm......wonder what we are going to do! Families eagerly jumped right in and each person crafted their own pizzas. We were able to bring our tasty creations back to the kitchen ourselves, which was pretty neat!



While we waited for our culinary creations, we were swept away to Italy and learned about the country. Of course, there also were coloring and activity sheets on the table for kids. Growing up, I remember always looking forward to a coloring sheet at my favorite Italian restaurant! Childhood magic at work!


The pizzas were whisked out pretty quickly---perfect since kids are always hungry! Yum!


After eating, we were treated to a lively lesson in Italian given by Idilia from Language Stars. If you have never experienced Language Stars before, their play-based learning definitely provides its fair share of rolling giggles from the kiddos---however, they are really learning through the fun. I loved how Idilia really grabbed the crowd and got everyone engaged---even some reluctant adults. Everyone was laughing and by the end everyone walked away knowing a little Italian. Great experience!


Just when you think the fun is done during a Yapa Event, some more excitement unfolds. Since we were visiting Italy, we had to have some gelato, right? We were all truly thrilled to indulge in this wonderfully Italian treat. Plus, Yapa put together a table of hands-on activities that inspired both the craftsy and the bookworm. Families could learn about Italy by browsing books or reading about Italian names. Kids chose their favorite names for girls and boys. They also could craft their very own Italian flags using pasta. {Tri-colored, of course! How perfect!}


At the end of our visit, we had our passport stamped just like we were returning home from an Italian sojourn. Plus, we received a postcard to mark our journey!

As you can see, Yapa Events are well-rounded and uncover cultural treasures in the community. They combine activities that encourage families to work together while having fun. Since these events involve various activities, there is a little something for everyone. I love how Yapa Events are very inclusive and invite everyone to explore. A great way to bond and enjoy an afternoon!

**Yapa Events will be holding two different Adventure Hunts the weekend of March 28-29 (Friday and Saturday). Choose between Exploring Arlington Heights! and Arlington Heights in Pictures! You do need to register for these events. Registration costs $10 per child. Adults are free. We went on the Adventure Hunt! last summer and loved it! You can read about it in our previous post. It will definitely be an inexpensive and enriching way to spend a day of your Spring Break!


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