Monday, February 25, 2008

Preschool Activities Everyday: Visit a Children's Museum

Well, the Preschool Activites Everyday blog sure knows what to do with bored kids: visit a children's museum. It's great that children's museums are getting more attention online, and I appreciated the review of our museum on New England Mamas (see post below). It's good to see parents appreciate us, as we appreciate parents. Coming up this spring we will be having several parenting workshops. Incase you feel working mother guilt, or just want to better yourself, we offer cheap ($5) classes, some of which are taught by PhDs. We will have one on children with unique needs, non-toxic living for families, and others.

I added another links list on the left of parenting websites and a museum website worth checking out (even though the museum in in San Fransisco).

I'm off for spring break now, so I gotta cut it short. I'm going to... DISNEY WORLD. I'm pretty pumped. I don't care if I'm 5, 21, or 99 years old, I'm going to enjoy Disney World (and rides like Splash Mountain) equally. I probably won't post next week, so I'll see you after my break!

Friday, February 22, 2008

Well, the February Vacation week is over for me. The Ruff Ruffman™ scavenger hunt was a hit. I’m guessing it was because of the wonderful storyline that I wrote. We had a whole lot of guests this week including two police dogs, a motorcycle police officer, an FBI agent, and Secret Service agents. The metal detector we were loaned was also a hit. Even kids who didn’t participate in the scavenger hunt wandered around testing to see if anything in my presence was metal. At this point I’m inured to loud beeping noises.
Many kids were attracted to the FETCH! ™ aspect of the scavenger hunt because they were fans of the show. The CSI episode of FETCH aired about a thousand times this week so I could probably quote it word for word. One boy was the highlight of my week with a project he designed in the woodshop room. He asked, “Do you know Ruff?” I responded, “Absolutely I do.” So he gave me a sign that read, “Dear Ruff, Sorry about the girlfriend,” referring to the Whodunit? story I wrote (see entry below).
I just finished watching the Secret Service presentation and the kids loved seeing gas masks, wires, badges, and bulletproof vests. I was fascinated myself, and I have to admit I’m wearing the novelty badge each child received at the end of the presentation right now.The museum was mentioned on New England Mamas. It was an accurate review, and it can be seen here.

Friday, February 15, 2008

The Marshmallow Towers were a blast this week, even though mine kept falling over. Kids not only made towers but also houses, pyramids, boxes, octagons, and some more abstract designs. But the museum is mostly gearing up for next week’s big Whodunnit? Mystery. The February vacation week brings many visitors so we always put on something special. This year’s theme is a forensic/detective skills, so I wrote a storyline along with the planned activities to incorporate Ruff Ruffman. Here’s “The Case of the Anti-Valentine”:

“Sweet biscuits!
I’ve been framed!
Charlene, the poodle next door and the
object of my affection, has received a nasty Valentine’s letter.

The card reads:
‘Dear Charlene,
I don’t like you. Don’t
ever talk to me again.
Signed, Ruff Ruffman.’

Someone has committed a forgery to slander my good name!

Alright FETCHers, grab your badge and suit up, your assignment is to get to the bottom of this mystery. You have one piece of
evidence: a footprint was left by Charlene’s mailbox. You must hurry and bring the
perpetrator to justice, or Charlene may never talk to me again! Using the footprint as a clue, a keen wit, and a good eye, you must solve the Case of the Anti-Valentine. Go FETCH!

I’m at my wit’s end, but I have faith in you FETCHers. Help me catch this fiend and win back Charlene’s love!”

Kids will have to use their junior detective skills to notice clues, draw sketches, test their memories, and follow leads to solve the crime and catch the one who did this to Ruff. The scavenger hunt will also incorporate a real metal detector and I’m quite excited about that. There’s going to be a million different activities every day next week so you should definitely bring your children in as it’s going to be the best week of the year. There won’t be a FETCH! Lab due to the Whodunnit? but the week after we will be taking Stroop Tests. That’s a psychological test you’ve probably taken before where are asked to name the colors of each word aloud. It looks something like this: RED BLUE GREEN YELLOW. It’s interesting to see how hard it is for adults and how it can be easier for kids who do not read very well.
Have a fun February Vacation!

Thursday, February 7, 2008

This week was a lot of fun for me at the museum. For my FETCH! ™ Lab I chose “Make Your Own Thermometer.” Using water, children (even under 5) converted old water bottles into functioning thermometers. The bottle is sealed using clay with a straw sticking through it. Next, food coloring is added for a more thermomterish effect. When the bottle is filled with hot water and placed in cold water the liquid in the straw noticeably goes down!
Check it out here to practice it at home:

Next week we will be constructing a time-honored classic: The marshmallow tower. I think everyone has at one point in school built something out of marshmallows and toothpicks. It’s always a good time.

For February vacation week we are preparing a “Whodunnit?” theme. We have some really amazing activities going on this special week. We are having members of the Beagle Brigade (trained and adorable beagles that work at airports) and an FBI agent come in and speak. We also are being lent a metal detector that will be fun to play with (I think I’m more excited than any kids). The “Whodunnit?” will focus on FETCH! main character Ruff Ruffman, who will lead the children on a scavenger hunt to solve a mystery. The junior detectives will be matching footprints, fibers, DNA, and other forensic tasks like a more age-appropriate CSI. I have a few activities prepared myself, and I will post the Ruff Ruffman storyline on the blog ASAP. Thanks for reading, and let me know your feedback on the museum, the blog, or anything worthwhile.

Friday, February 1, 2008

My name is Tim Cuff, and I will be an intern for the Children’s Museum in Easton from January to May 2008. I’m an English major and a senior at Stonehill College working here for credit, and the credit couldn’t come much easier. My experiences so far at the museum have been great. The museum is collaborating with the PBS Kid’s Show FETCH! With Ruff Ruffman™ starring the cartoon dog seen to the left. Part game show, part reality TV, and part spoof, FETCH! targets six to ten-year-olds and features real kids, real challenges, and real science. I teach FETCH! Labs that recreate the science and engineering challenges kids see on the show. Last week the kids made arts and crafts optical illusions called “thaumatropes” while this week they learn about cohesion, adhesion, and surface tension (of course by playing with water). So until I graduate, I will be blogging about my experiences at the museum, the activities we have, and interactive learning in general. So I hope this is helpful. Read, enjoy, and bring your children down to the museum. It’s a great time!