Wednesday, December 30, 2009

The Waiting Game

Wait, wait, wait. I guess there's a reason they call it a waiting room. It seems I've spent way too much time waiting in doctor's offices lately, and now that it's flu season, an increased amount of children will be going to the doctor's for an increased amount of waiting! But try to look at the bright side: here you have some uninterrupted quality time with your child.

Before your child ever has a chance to get sick, head over to the Children's Museum in Easton's doctor's office to have a trial run of a doctor appointment to ease any fears. Take turns being the doctor and patient, let your child use the stethoscopes, scales, and splints, and talk about what the doctor is checking for during each part of the appointment.

When the day comes that you find yourself in the real doctor's office, here are a few simple games to keep your child/children entertained and learning. Most activities involve no preparation, since, if you're like me, who has time to think about anything else when you've got a sick kid?

Nurses are famous for handing out stickers: Use them wisely before sticking them on! My preschooler loves to take turns hiding the stickers around the office and finding them. Just make sure all the stickers are hidden in visible spots so your child doesn't need to touch any of the medical equipment. You can also line up your stickers (or even use cards from your wallet if you haven't received any stickers yet) on the examining table and take turns hiding a penny under one sticker and guessing which sticker it is under. "You're getting warmer/colder" makes it more fun.

Been sitting too long? See how many times your child can hop on one foot or clap her hands. Try a game of Simon Says and take turns being Simon. Older kids enjoy taking a wadded up piece of paper or tissue and playing finger hockey down the length of the examining table. Make a big deal of setting up the boundaries and making the rules to help your child stay engaged.

Use your surroundings: See if you can find all the letters of the alphabet or of your child's name on the posters hanging in the office. Study a magazine picture, then look away and take turns quizzing each other on the details of the picture. Compare things: How are those two chairs different/the same? How is this computer like our one at home? Are you as tall as that poster?

You probably unknowingly carry around a whole slew of entertaining devices in your bag.

  • Use a pen as a microphone and begin telling a story. Pass the microphone around and each person can add a part.

  • Experiment to see how many things in your bag can roll. Make a ramp out of a book and have a contest to see which can roll the fastest/farthest/straightest.

  • Have your child close his eyes and place an object from your purse in his hands. Can he guess what it is?

  • Lay out many items from your purse. Have your child close her eyes while you remove one item. Can she guess what you removed?

  • Closely examine the details on coins. Kids will be amazed with what they will notice. Try to get the coins to spin or roll, or play heads or tails with them.

  • Use items from your purse as stencils to draw around. Then have your child try to match the items with the outlines she drew.

  • Place a coin or key under a sheet of paper and use a pen or pencil to rub over it and see the impression magically appear.
If you do like to plan ahead, visit the Children's Museum gift shop for a small, inexpensive toy or idea book to keep stashed in your bag. I personally keep a tiny wind up train in my bag that only comes out during periods of waiting (appointments, restaurants, etc.) and it provides great entertainment. Or feel free to print out this list and keep it in your bag for those unexpected periods of waiting.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Trim the Holidays, but not the Fun!

Holidays are celebrations of beliefs often filled with traditions and time for good cheer. They bring lots of opportunity for happiness, yet may also bring cause for stress. Take time to plan some simple steps that may decrease the pressure and hopefully add to your holiday fun. Whatever your reasons for celebrating, remember them and look for the joy in each of the small, daily happenings.

When thinking of gifts, plan what you can afford to spend and stick to your budget. Impulse buying and over buying usually only add to the after holiday stress load – especially when the charge statements arrive. Consider focusing on memory makers – supplies for scrapbooks, family journals and gifts of time to assist others you care about.

If you do decide to buy a gift, think of something special. Spend time thinking of the recipient, where they are, what they enjoy, maybe what they truly need and try to match your gift to something that would be appreciated by them. Perhaps a coupon promising a weekly or monthly meal, shoveling or babysitting I.O.U’s can help you check off your “to do “list. Maybe making photo journals, personalized calendars which include a selection of cards ( birthday, get well, thank you and anniversary) or an embellished bulletin board or memory board embellished with stickers, paints and funky thumbtacks for the recipient will help you when deciding what gift to give.

Take time to consider your time. Can you give your time to someone who needs it? Do you need to say “yes” to every social event you are invited to? Plan time to be with those who you consider “family”, you can decide who you want to spend time with. Plan time to sit and relax with your family – reading stories, playing a game or taking in some sights of the season.

Bring the festive season into your house, but remember your budget when you decorate. Try your hand at making homemade decorations. Consider decorating an outgrown pair of ice skates or using a sled as backdrop to create a winter theme outside of your house. Save the kid’s artwork and showcase their work around your house to reflect the season. Create labeled storage boxes to store favorite, reusable decorations from year to year.

Plan meals and holiday foods ahead of time. Enlist help – ask your family to make specific dishes or which one they each want include to help you manage and breakdown the workload. Drink water throughout your day to keep you hydrated, healthy and to help curb opportunities to pick at holiday treats. There are lots of great web sites ( do we need to list any) that help you cut calories from traditional recipes. Keep cut fruits and vegetables on hand to munch on and serve them with every meal.

Plan time for yourself, including time to exercise or walk. Adding a few extra steps to your day and getting a good nights sleep will help you to feel recharged to enjoy whatever the day brings.

Warm wishes to you! Enjoy your holiday season and celebrations!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Have Your Own Winter Workshop!! Part III

Don't Miss the first two in this series: Winter Workshop Part 1 and Part 2

For the final Winter Workshop blog we will focus on creating home-made gifts. Not only is it fun for everyone but it is also a great way to save some money, yet give great home-made gifts that friends and family will be sure to love!

An easy and fun (not to mention tasty!) present to give is a mason jar filled with the ingredients for making cookies! Chocolate chip is the most popular cookie, but pick your favorite cookie- sugar, oatmeal raisin, or even gingerbread!

1. By having the kids measure out the ingredients and layer them, it will help them to learn about measuring and counting.

2. Once the ingredients are layered and the top secured tie the recipe to the top with fun ribbons, maybe cut it in a fun design using crazy-cut scissors!

3. Some other fun touches include attaching a cookie cutter, or creating your own label on a large sticker! Have fun and personalize your gift!

Need help finding a recipe? Check out this site, its full of great recipes for many, many differnt kinds of cookies!

Do you have any old baby jars hanging around?

1. Have kids paint the inside any color they like, just have the layer of paint be thin enough that you will be able to see through.

2. When its dry put in tea-lights; the candles will light up the jar so it will look like stained glass.

These lights look great in bunches, maybe on a mantel or a couple on the dinner table.

The most fun of all though can be creating gifts that you can eat! The old saying "one for you, one for me" may come into play here, especially with so many delicious treats!

1. In a fondue style using melted chocolate, dip marshmallows in. (or anything you want like pretzels)

2. Then cover them with other goodies like jimmies or crushed up peppermint sticks is a great treat!

And you will probably not be able to resist stealing one or two, just to make sure it tastes just right!

We hope you have enjoyed these Winter Workshop blogs and that it has given you some great ideas for this t ime of year. Remember be creative and have fun with the kids in your life! Happy Holidays!

Monday, November 30, 2009

Curing the Holiday Gimmies

With the holidays fast approaching and more and more on the " to- do " list, pausing and planning what you really want to happen may make a lot of sense.

Think about what is most important to you, time, memories or another new thing. Ask your children what they really want. Most toddlers are in the "me, here and right now", preschoolers and up, over time, can be taught the difference between "need" versus "want". Be forewarned, this will take time, but it can be mastered if you consistently talk to your child when the "I wants" are happening. Advertisers are paid to make us think we need what they are selling. Keep the remote handy - when commercials come on mute them, ask your child what they think the benefits or the negatives would be from owning the item. Ask them to tell you what they think it would cost, then try to share with them the actual cost.

When running your holiday errands, pre-plan your list and stick to it. Plan a time to shop and make sure that includes someone to watch your children for you. Tackling the "I needs" on future shopping trips may be easier on all of you than trying this during the holiday rush. When you are out shopping with the kids, acknowledge and restate their demand, empathize, then firmly redirect or distract your child's attention.

If you don't have family meetings, consider starting them, talk and share about what you enjoy, don't enjoy and try to include one favorite "to do" from each family member this holiday. A simple way to do this may be asking each family member what food item they want included in the meal. Continue to build your families traditions, which may mean changing some of your old ones. Instead of focusing on all the "I wants" on the lists, slow everything down and focus on a reasonable amount of requests. Be creative, there are usually ways to meet each of the requests if you take time to think it out - and that doesn't mean running to the store or computer to meet the demand.

Before bundling up the wee ones and dragging them on errands think about what you want your kids to remember after the holidays.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Have Your Own Winter Workshop! Part II

With Thanksgiving this week the kids are sure to be home and looking for something to do. Try these great seasonal crafts; this week learn about creating your own easy to make reindeer ornaments!

1. Popsicle sticks are an absolute must in this craft, and you will need 3 to create one craft.

2. Take two sticks and create a basic "V" shape (glue the bottom of the "V")

3. Then take the third stick and place it at about a 1/3 of the way from the top of the "V" so it overhangs, almost like an upside-down "A". Simply use Elmer's glue wherever the sticks meet.

4. Once it is dried, use brown paint over the entire thing. (You could also do this to all the sticks individually before gluing, it is up to you!)

5. Take out the goggly eyes and place them a little under the overhanging stick.

6. Then take a pom-pom for the nose and voilia! You have a reindeer!

7. The final step is just to take a piece of ribbon/yarn/fishing line so that you can proudly hang your ornament; a good place to glue the ribbon is in the back, above where the overhang is.

Also don't forgot to have your child sign his or her name on the back in a Sharpie, along with the year so you will never forget making this fun keepsake! You can also be creative with this project, add glitter, bows, other paint colors, whatever you want- the most inportant thing is to have fun!

Another cool ornament is one you can make from used holiday cards! It is a great way to recycle last year's holiday cards, after all you want to save them but dont really know what to do with them. This way you not only recycle but you are creating a fantastic ornament made from cards from friends and family, making it all the more special and personalized.

1. First cut the fronts from the cards, the more varied the cards the better your ornament will be!

2. Once you have the fronts of all the cards you want to use you can then start cutting the fronts individually: you want to cut the card into 5 strips about 1/2-3/4 in wide. A way to get the kids involved is to have them use a ruler and mark where each card should be cut, a great and fun way to learn about counting!

3. After all the cards are cut out stack them into piles, then have the kids go through and mix the pieces up- you want a mismatch of pieces!

4. Then using a hole punch, punch holes in the both the top and bottom of all the card pieces.

5. Next using a brad, place and secure though all the card holes you have made.

6. Now fan out the card pieces, until it creates a sphere shape.

7. Lastly tie a string to the top brad and there you go!

You can now hang your sphere of holidays cards anywhere and it will look fantastic! Maybe in the window there the light can peek through!

We hope you enjoy trying out these crafts with your family, check back in two week for our last Winter Workshop blog!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Creative Ways to Give Back

There is nothing more satisfying than donating your time to enrich the lives of others. Just ask local volunteer Bill McCarthy who has dressed up in costume and dazzled families at Museum events for years. Over the years Bill has donned too many costumes to recount them all. Each costume carefully planned out and accessorized perfectly to bring the character to life. Perhaps you remember Bill as Father Time, Ben Franklin, an English chimney sweep, or maybe Mr. McGregor from Peter Rabbit.

One of Bill's favorite costumes over the years was the English chimney sweep he portrayed one year for the New Year's Eve Gala. Bill was the most cheerful chimney sweep you had ever met as he stood on stage handing out gold coins to the kids, helping them ring in the New Year. It is easy to tell from the grin on his face that he is having just as much fun as the kids, simply by volunteering his time and giving back to his community.

When it comes to giving back there are many alternatives to writing a check. You can't put a price tag on donating your time and creativity to a good cause. You could be creative like Bill and volunteer to dress up and entertain children at a local event or hospital.

Or, maybe you would like to get the kids involved and volunteer as a family. There are many opportunities out there for families to teach their children the value of giving back to the community. How about helping out the local food pantry during these tough times. At your next birthday party ask everyone to bring a canned good item. Collect all the canned goods and drop them off at the food pantry. You could also host your own winter coat drive. Spread the word to family and friends that this year you will be collecting old coats to donate to a local homeless shelter. The coat drive is a win, win situation. Not only are you helping someone in need stay warm this winter, you are also helping family and friends clean out old coats that no longer fit and make room in their closet for new coats. If your family enjoys the outdoors try volunteering to clean up a local park or walk dogs at a local animal shelter. Perhaps you could host a bake sale, yard sale, or lemonade stand and donate the proceeds to a local charity.

By giving back to local causes not only are you helping those less fortunate you are also helping your own family as well. Giving to a local charity helps make our community a better place by providing goods and services to local people who may not otherwise have access to them. When we raise the standard of living for the least among us we raise our own standard of living in return.

Not only does volunteering give you a personal sense of accomplishment, it is also beneficial to your physical and emotional health. Studies show that people who volunteer live longer, are more mobile, have lower rates of depression and fewer cases of heart disease than people who do not volunteer. For more information click here. Helping others really does make people happier and healthier, it's good to be good! For more ideas on how to volunteer in your community visit the PBS website click here.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Have Your Own Winter Workshop! Part 1

Halloween was only a few weeks ago, but it's already time to start thinking about holiday season! Before you know it you will be in a whirlwind of holiday parties, recitals, visiting and of course those dreaded trips to a crowded mall. So this year, while there is still a little time left before the craziness of the season starts, take a look at some fun ways you can spend time with your family and enjoy the holiday season! Have your own "Winter Workshop" at home! Put your favorite holiday CD, a festive sweater (and maybe a smock over that! and prepare for a day of family fun, which will be educational, low-cost and environmentally friendly!

First up- holiday cards! There are so many ways to make your own cards! Simply buy basic blank cards, in any color- you can find them at local stores like Target and A.C. Moore. One fun way is to use potato stamps! Easy to make but adults definitely do the cutting!

1. First cut a potato in half.
2. Next draw out a design in marker on the potato- such as stars, snowflakes etc,
3. Then using a knife carefully cut away the excess potato until you are only left with the shape you want.

4. Now let the kids dip the stamps into paint and let them design the plain cards however they like! By making the cards themselves it create a truly unique cards that friends and family
would love to have!

Another, less messy, way of using plain cards is to use office supplies! Yes, office supplies! For instance creating a tree on the card front is both easy to make and made of things you can find around the house.

1. For the tree itself use round green color coding labels, easily found at Staples (and if you dont have green stickers you can spray paint it green or use another color, be creative!). You can also have a counting lesson here too, by starting the tree with one sticker, then the next row two, then three and so on.

2. Once the shape of the tree is done decorate it with reinforcements and smaller 1/4 in color coding circle sticker labels (both also found at Staples.).

3. And lastly top the tree off with a star sticker! Using office supplies as decorations may sound funny at first, but it very budget friendly and really lets you stretch your creativity!

A great card to make is the "Santa" card. Here you will want to buy red card stock, available at craft stores such as A.C. Moore. (it is too late this year but after Christmas/Valentine's Day sales are great times to buy this at a discounted price.)

1. What you want to do next is make a "belt." You will also need sticker paper (found at Staples) and a can of spray paint in both black and gold. Once you spray the paper let it dry.
2. Have the kids cut out a rectangle the width of the card, remove the backing and stick to the card at the middle.
3. Then on the gold paper have them cut out a square, but you may want to cut another, smaller square inside the bigger square for them; then remove the backing and stick over the block of black- thus creating a belt!
4. Using some of the white sticker paper you have not painted cut out a fun shape;
three of the sides will be straight and line up with the bottom and width of the card. The last part however, make a fun wavy shape to create fur at the bottom of Santa's coat.
5. Lastly you want you can add three black round stickers as buttons! and there you have it, a simply card that looks awesome!

Another great way to use those potato print stamps is to create your own wrapping paper. Yes, it sounds like this could be hard, but really nothing could be easier, promise! Simply go to a craft store and buy a roll (or rolls if you like) of craft paper, 30 in x 15 feet is a good size.

1. At home lay out the craft paper on the table; now you can either leave it plain or paint it a background color is you prefer. If you paint it make sure to let
the paint dry. Then the fun can start!
2. Bring out those potato stamps and let the kids loose! Have them
stamp in whatever paint color they want, using whatever shape they want! There are no rules except to have fun and be creative. Once it is dry you will have a unique wrapping paper that you can truly say is one of a kind!

We hope you have fun doing some, or all!, of these crafts! Look for a new holiday blog in two weeks!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Budget Family Friendly Ideas for All Seasons!!

The South Coast of Massachusetts offers two tucked-away gems of places that can provide hours of fun for kids of all ages.

The first is the Lloyd Center for the Environment, in Westport MA. Their nature center is on a beautiful stretch of Westport Beach and provides 5 miles of hiking trails and a broad range of animal exhibits, programs and seminars.

Not to be missed is their observation deck, which was named one of 15 "special places" in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. From there you can see Cuttyhunk and other of the Elizabeth Islands, ospreys and migrating birds in flight, harbor seals basking in the sun (during the winter) and much more.

A salt water touch tank lets the kids touch crabs, sea stars and other local sea creatures. A variety of aquariums provide appropriate coastal environments and information on local fish, shellfish and other invertebrates.

While the Lloyd Center’s primary focus is on students and teachers in grades K-8, younger children will also enjoy a visit there. Best of all, there is no charge to enjoy the center or the wooded trails, but a donation is always welcome!

According to their website, the Demarest Lloyd State Park “is one of the best kept secrets in the Massachusetts forest and park system”. I would heartily agree, since on a recent sunny Sunday when the line to Horseneck Beach stretched for miles, this pristine park with saltwater beach was just moderately busy, with lots of available parking and no lines of traffic to get in.

Perfect for families with young children, the surf is calm, the waters shallow and because of this the water temperatures are delightfully warm and agreeable. Plan to picnic in the shady groves, nicely equipped for you with tables and barbecues. You could spend the entire day here, and the kids will busy themselves exploring in the tidal pools, building sand castles. Bring a nature guide and see if you can spot egrets, herons, ospreys, terns and hawks overhead. The beach is a real winner!

Contact info:

The Lloyd Center for the Environment, Westport Ma

430 Potomska Rd
Dartmouth, MA 02748


Demarest Lloyd State Park,
Barney’s Joy Road, Dartmouth, MA
508-636-3298 (summer)

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Brewing Up Some Halloween Fun!

Friday was an excellent day to "drop- in" to the museum! The got milk? team stopped by to share their favorite chocolate milk recipes with us and snap some milk mustache photos.

Local processors HP Hood and Midland farms provided chocolate milk and chocolate milkshakes for everyone to enjoy and get their chocolate milk mustache going on! There were also sticker mustaches for those who didn't delight in the chocolate milk deliciousness. Once everyone's chocolate milk mustache was in place, milk mustache photos were taken in a spooky and fun Halloween setting.

While waiting for pictures to print, the got milk? team handed out canvas goodie bags to all the kids. Goodie bags were stuffed full of got milk? t-shirts, fun Halloween sticker tattoos, chocolate milk recipes for moms and dads, and even chocolate milk to take home. It doesn't get much better than that!

We all know that sweets are at the heart of the Halloween fun. Serving chocolate milk gives moms the opportunity to make the Halloween season a little bit healthier with out being booed by the kids. Drinking chocolate milk, the official drink of Halloween, is a tasty way to build strong bones that no one will find scary.

"Chocolate milk is a nutritious alternative to sugar-filled sodas and fruit drinks that contain little or no nutrients," said Dr, Tanya Remer Altmann, MD, and author of Mommy Calls, Dr Tanya Answers Parents' Top 101 Questions about Babies and Toddlers. "Chocolate milk provides the same nine essential nutrients as white milk and is packed with the calcium and vitamin D kids need to build strong bones."

Here's a spooky fact: two out of three kids fail to get enough calcium and studies show that kids who drink chocolate and other flavored milks have higher calcium intakes than those who don't. They also tend to drink fewer sugary sodas and fruit drinks and are more likely to be at a healthy weight compared to kids who drink little or no milk.

Visit for more healthy Halloween tips, to find festive recipes - such as Goblin Good Rice Pudding and Minty Witch's Brew - and to create your very own Halloween-themed Milk Mustache digital card using the "Make Your Own Milk Mustache Ad" tool. Don the 'stache, share with friends and encourage others to celebrate chocolate milk as 'The Official Drink of Halloween'.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Making Everyday Activities into Learning Games

Children are constantly learning. What may seem like an ordinary daily activity to you can be an opportunity for your child to discover understandings about the world around him and develop skills to build on. Our job as caregivers is to provide opportunities and support for these discoveries. Here are a few activities you can try at home as you go about your day.

Most toddlers and preschoolers just love to ride on swings. The rhythm of swinging back and forth lends itself to an essential pre-reading activity: rhyming. Research shows that being able to rhyme is a good predictor of reading success. Nursery rhymes and rhyming songs are a perfect way for children to develop these necessary skills. Try reciting rhymes to the rhythm of the swing while you are pushing, "Twinkle, twinkle, little star, How I wonder what you _____" and let your child fill in the blank in time with the swing's movement. Forgotten the words to Mother Goose? Check out this website: Mother Goose Nursery Rhymes

Got a child addicted to DVDs? One day instead of watching them, try sorting and graphing them for a fun, concrete math activity. You can begin by sorting into groups: Elmo, Barney, Disney Movies, etc. Count how many in each group and stack them up next to each other like a bar graph. Which has the most? Least? Depending on the ability of your child, ask more challenging questions such as How many Wiggles and Bob the Builder DVDs altogether? How many more Winnie the Poohs than Care Bears? Which groups have more than five DVDs? You can sort them different ways as well, such as DVDs with people and DVDs with animals; ones with cartoons and ones with real pictures; or sort by colors or writing style on the covers. Have your child think of a way to sort them too. (Another benefit of this activity is a more organized DVD shelf!)

Here's a math activity that can be made by writing numbers on an old Twister game mat with permanent marker or on the driveway with sidewalk chalk. You call out what to do, depending on the level of your child/children: Jump to the number 5, Twirl to 6 + 6, Bunny hop to the number that comes after 9. Children of different ages can play together, just vary what you call out so that it is appropriate for the child whose turn it is. This would also work using letters to practice letter recognition or spelling as well. Active learning such as this is an engaging way to both learn and get some exercise.

"I'm standing on my age: 4 1/2"

Preparing to go grocery shopping can also be made into a learning activity. Depending on the level of your child, he can use the grocery store flyer to circle pictures of the fruits and vegetable he would like to try, find foods that begin with certain letters or are certain colors, or circle all the number 9's on a page. He can "write" the foods she wants to buy on the grocery list. Even if all he can write is a few scribbles, he is learning that print has meaning and is developing fine motor skills. Your child can also cut out pictures from the flyer and glue them to the grocery list. While at the store he can look for those items, which will serve to keep him busy for a while.

This summer, with the goal of giving my 9-year-old something to do in the grocery store, I had her round everything we put in the basket to the nearest dollar and add them up to keep track of about how much money we were spending. I think I was even more amazed than she was when her estimate was only $3 off on a $120 grocery bill!

For some more ideas about turning everyday household chores into learning fun, try this website: Born Learning This is a great site to learn about your child's stage of development with lots of ideas of how to incorporate learning into everyday activities.

Coming next month:
Since my family has been spending a lot of time in doctor's waiting rooms lately, next month I will be compiling some of the best activities to keep the kids busy (and learning) during those seemingly endless periods of waiting. Feel free to leave your comments and ideas as well!

Looking for More Activities to do with your kids? Check out Michelle's other articles

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Its Spooktacular! Its Spectacular! Its Halloween Time at the Museum!

It is October and Halloween is right around the corner and the Museum is sure getting ready for it! We have some great events coming up that we would love for you to attend!

First up is the Graham Cracker Haunted Houses Class! Taking place on Thursday October 22 is a fun time- full of creativity and candy! If you have been to one of the candy house workshops in December then your kids will love this! Using graham crackers, frosting and Halloween treats kids can create their own Haunted House masterpiece- that is not only cool to look at but delicious to eat!

It is a class and pre-registration is required, so sign up early by calling the Museum at (508) 230-3789 to save your child a space for this fun, seasonal class. For museum members the cost is $10.00 and for non-museum members the price is $13.00. There are also two sessions: the first session, for children ages 3-5, will take place from 10-11 am; the second session, for children ages 5 and up will take place at the later time of 4-5 pm. We hope to see you there!

But that is not all- we are gearing up for our BIG Halloween Celebration- the Halloween Romp! The Halloween Romp will take place rain or shine at the Museum on Saturday, October 24 with two spooktacular times: 2 - 4 p.m. or 6 – 8 p.m.

It will be a fantastic day of games and Halloween crafts, trick-or-treat bag decorating, fortune telling, a creepy animal show with New England Reptile and Raptor, spooky music and games, and much more! You can even go on a chilling lantern lit trick-or-treat romp through The Wild Place! Tickets to the Romp are $4.00 per person for members and $8.00 per person for non-members. Space is limited so please call early to reserve your tickets.

It is a great way for both parents and kids to take part celebrating Halloween! Games, activities, candy and costumes! What could be better? Also kids and parents makes sure to wear your costumes to the great event!

And on October 30th from 10:00-11:00 am we will be hosting a great Got Milk? event! Did you know that Chocolate milk is the official drink of Halloween? We will be having an afternoon devoted to this chocolaty drink, learn about the bone-building benefits of milk, take a picture with a milk mustache and of course sample some chocolate milk!

As you can see the Museum loves Halloween and can't wait! Can you? We hope to see you at these great events! For more information either call the Museum at (508) 230-3789 or visit our website!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Golf Fore the Kids!!

On October 12th (Columbus Day), at the Easton Country Club the Children's Museum in Easton will be holding our annual Golf Tournament! This is our fifth tournament and this years looks to be the best ever! It will be fun for everyone no matter the age or skill at golf.

There are a bunch of cool activities you can take part in. First up is nine holes of golf in two teams made up of a child and adult partner. So it can be Mom and sister against Dad and brother for instance! There is going to be two separate flights of nine holes, one for a novice team (for any beginner golfer 7 years or older) and then another one for intermediate or advanced golfers.

Not a golfer? No idea how to play? No worries! There is going to be a “Getting Started” Golf Clinic from 1-2 pm, before tee-off! Learn those skills, or brush up on them, before the tournament starts! But since space is limited make sure to call 508-230-3789 to reserve your spot.

Still no sure if you want to play? Thats ok, you don't have to, but be sure to attend a great family-style dinner at 5:30! Meet up with your family of golfers and sit down to some great dinner at the clubhouse! It will be full of fun, food, awards and raffles! But the night isn't over yet! At 6:45 look to the skies for some awesome fireworks to top off a great day!

If you want to learn more check out the Golf Tournament check out the web page, where you can also register. Any more questions either e-mail us at or call us directly at: (508) 230-3789.

We look forward to seeing you all there for a day of golf, fun, family and fireworks!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Still too young for school?

Several parents during our Museum summer camp drop off this year agreed: With the big kids heading to school it leaves some of us wondering what we are going to do with the younger sibling all day. They'll be lost without their big brother or big sister! However as parents, this is our prime opportunity to spend some quality time with our youngest before they too head off to full-day school in a few short years. Here is little one's chance to shine!

My youngest child's favorite activity is painting. I remember back when my first child was 3. I was very nervous around painting projects, but now that my third child is 3, I have become much more relaxed and have found that there's nothing a little soap and water (and occasionally a whole bath) will get off. I have also found that an old adult-sized T-shirt makes a great cover-up to protect clothes. Painting outside in the lovely fall weather can be relaxing and fun.

Try making apple prints with apples cut in half. If you cut the apple along the equator you can make a print of the star! You can tape leaves to a piece of paper, paint over them, and then remove the leaves to reveal their outline. For some sensory as well as visual projects, squirt some washable tempora paint on a clean Styrofoam meat tray, and have your child squish her feet in the paint and then step on a big piece of paper, walk in a circle, or print some dance moves. Develop vocabulary and imagination by talking about how the paint feels and what the prints look like. Or, with a shiny paper plate resembling an artist's palette and a squirt of each primary color, your child can use his fingers to discover what happens when you blend colors. (Have a bucket of soapy water ready outside to wash up.)

For more colorful art projects from an elementary school art from a teacher who is now a stay at home mom, check out the Pink and Green Mama's Website

No matter how many great projects I come up with at home, sometimes my youngest insists, "But mom, I just want to play with other kids." On one of those days I often check out what my local MOMS (Moms Offering Moms Support) Club is doing. Almost every town has one that you can join. They offer playgroups, outings/trips for the kids, and special interest groups for moms as well. It is an excellent resource for meeting new friends and finding inexpensive activities you and your child can enjoy.

Your local library has a lot quality free programs to offer as well. In addition to library sponsored story times and crafts, many libraries host outreach programs for babies through preschoolers such as playgroups and "Play N Learns" by Community Partnerships for Children, and Music and Movement classes through the NRC Family Network, both funded by the MA Dept. of Early Education and Care. Both are fun, valuable experiences for children and their caregivers. Each program encourages caregiver-child interaction and gives you ideas to continue at home. Check the library's bulletin board for dates and times. Remember, you are not limited to your own local library. Check out libraries in surrounding towns for a wider variety of opportunities to meet your child's and your schedule's needs.

My youngest especially loves to visit the Children's Museum in Easton. In addition to the fun, developmentally appropriate exhibits, the Museum also offers a wide variety of classes. Pee Wee Singers and Music Makers, Pre-Ballet, and Friday Frolics are perfect for toddlers and preschoolers. Click here for a complete fall schedule. The Museum is also a great place to meet other kids and their caregivers...while big sister or big brother is off meeting new friends at school.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Annual Spruce Up!

It's busy here at the museum this week (and next week, for sure), but not with the usual crowd of fun kids! Nope, we're busy cleaning during our annual two week spruce up. As some of you may know, we are closed for the next two weeks. But don't worry, once we're open we'll be shiny and brand new! Here are some pictures of what it looks like when we're closed down and cleaning.

We have some great things planned for re-opening that we can't wait to share with you guys! First and foremost is our brand new exhibit! At the opening we'll be presenting our new fossil exhibit! Yep, we have some real tracks from the dinosaurs! Thanks to the folks at the Dinosaur State Park in Rocky Hill, Conneticut for donating some of those tracks to us :) It promises to be a "rawr"ing good time of an exhibit.

Thanks also to our friends from Bridgewater State University and Stonehill College and their Into The Streets program for helping us during our spruce-up! We also look forward to having Best Buy and Rockland Trust volunteers next week! We really appreciate it and the museum wouldn't be sparkling without you guys! Also, special thanks to Bob and Dale, the guys at Paramount Rug Co. for installing our beautiful new floor! You guys rock!

Thanks so much for stopping in and checking up on us! We can't wait to have you all back here for the new exhibits, new paint, new floor and new fall classes! Also, don't forget to check out our Scarecrow Stomp page for our first big event in September!

And, when you get back, if you happen to see Andrew thank him for all the cleaning he did on the phone :)

Monday, August 31, 2009

A "FETCHing" Friday!!

Friday was a very special day at the Museum- from FETCH! we had Ruff Ruffman and Season 3 "FETCHer" Harsha came to visit! It was one fun-filled day here!

There were all kinds of things going on including a Q&A with Harsha. She told us a lot of interesting things like how it was to audition for the show. Harsha said that the key to auditioning is to be yourself and to not worry about the camera, advice she gave to anyone out in the audience who may be thinking of auditioning for an upcoming season. She also told us what her favorite challenge was: scavenger hunt in Boston!

A lot of those in the audience agreed that scavenger hunts were fun, and when asked if they would join a scavenger hunt club a lot of hands were raised! Looks like a lot of kids want to have their own scavenger hunting adventures like Harsha does too!

While Harsha was not the grand champ of the season it was ok since she had such an awesome experience and made friends with the rest of her cast of "FETCHers!"

After the Q&A kids got to meet Harsha and Ruff himself as they signed autographs and took pictures! Not to mention we got to have cake, before lunch too! Talk about a cool day! Meeting a tv star and cake! What could be better!?

There were also other fun activities going on in the Wild Place! There was coloring activities where kids got to color and decorate pictures of Ruff, which he then signed! Other fun activities included making a kaleidoscope! It was a great day!

Be sure to check out FETCH! when Season 4 premieres with a very special, almost all animated, episode on the 11th of September on your local PBS station.

Also this was our last Summer Drop-In-Day, we hope you have enjoyed them as much as we have! Be sure to look for some fun fall activities coming your way, like the Scarecrow Stomp or the Halloween Romp!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Wild West

John Wayne himself would be impressed at our own Wild West in the Wild Place today!
The kids were able to make their own sherrif's badges and wanted posters at our arts and crafts tables. Then they were able to learn to lasso a cow! There was some impressive rope-throwing skills out there!

Thanks a bunch to Ms. Candy and the Easton Police Department! Ms. Candy of Ms. Candy's Animals in Berkley brought her bunnies, goats and chickens out for our very own petting zoo! Ms. Candy from Beverly and specializes in petting zoo's for local schools, city functions or libraries. She also has a special educational petting zoo!

Easton's very own policemen also came down for fingerprinting! Kids could meet Easton's finest and fingerprint their own fingers and learn all about safety.

On the way out (or in) kids were grabbing our special Wild West edition of try it at home and how to talk like a real cowboy (did you know that "calaboose" means jail or that if someone said they were "among the willows" that they were dodging the law?!).

How to Make a Horse!

You'll need:

1. Stuff your sock (the heel is the back of the head). While you decorate you may want to tie a rubber band around the end so that your stuffing doesn't fall out.

2. Have fun and decorate (i.e. felt ears, yarn for a mane, etc.)!

3. Put the sock on a pole and have fun!

Thanks everyone for stopping by and partakeing in our rodeo! Make sure to come back for our last Drop-in-Day of the season featuring none other than Ruff Ruffman himself! It's definitely going to be a blast!

Friday, August 21, 2009

Turtles and Alligators and Snakes- Oh my!

Today’s Drop-in-Day had all kinds of animals from the furry to the slimy! Dean from “Curious Creatures” stopped by with his huge collection of these curious creatures! He introduced us to one animal we all know, or have at least smelled- a skunk! But luckily for us this skunk was very nice and we didn’t have to worry about that smell!

After that Dean brought out a cute, furry little chinchilla named Charlie! Dean told us that this kind of chinchilla is found in Peru, South America. Turns out that Charlie is a cousin to the squirrel, but unlike squirrels he is nocturnal. This means that he sleeps during the day and is awake at night! But one of the most interesting (and funny!) things about Charlie and chinchillas is how they take bathes! They don’t use water like us, but dust!

Then we got to meet a turtle and it was big enough for kids to ride (and they got a chance to after the show!)! A cool thing about the turtles is how it’s shell feels. Do you want to know? Touch your fingernails, yes right now! Yup that’s how the turtle’s shell felt! Weird huh?

And then came the snakes, big and small. First we met a Mexican Milk Snake, it was about a foot long and had red, white and black stripes. Dean told us that even though it looked poisonous it really wasn’t, it’s more like a typical garden snake- just very brightly colored!

After the little snake Dean brought out the big one! It was a big yellow snake, called an Albino Burmese Python!! It was long enough so that a whole row could hold it up! It is found in Asia and he told us that there they are as common as garden snakes!! Yikes, I don’t know what I would do if a four foot snake lived in my garden! What about you?

Other cool animals that we got to meet included a hedgehog that was a little shy and stayed all wrapped up like a ball. There was also a tarantula, a big furry spider! Did you know that it’s head and body are all one- so it had legs that come out of it’s head, crazy! In addition to these cool creatures we also got to meet other lizards and some Australian frogs!

Next we met an American alligator but it was only baby so it was about 1 ½ foot long and it was actually loosing its baby teeth! But don’t go near it when it grows up, its teeth are SUPER strong! A cool trick Dean taught us was that if you turn that alligator on it’s back it will go right to sleep. He tried it and it did! Other fun facts about this type of alligator is that it likes to lay in the sun since it’s a reptile and when swimming it uses its tail like a paddle.

All in all it was a great day! And a big thanks goes out to Honest Tea who came and gave out free drinks, perfect for a hot and humid day like today!

Also be sure to check out our last Drop-In-Days of the summer next week when the Children’s Museum meets the Wild West Thursday August 27th and gets a visit from FETCH! on Friday August 28th! Hope to see you all there! Have a great weekend!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Tie Dye !!!

We love to tie dye here at the Children's Museum, and it's a good thing you do too! What a good turnout we had for this Tie Dye drop-in day! It was so much colorful fun!

Here are some quick Tie Dye tips that we've learned:

-The longer it sits, the brighter it will be! The volunteers and staff had handouts on what to do with the shirt once you get home. Don't be surpised though when your little one wants to open it right away (I know I always want to!!)!

-Make sure to use gloves! Once the dye gets on your hands it'll be there for days. I know from first hand experience :)

- You can get a number of different designs depending on how you tie the rubber bands around your shirt.

Also, today we had a visit from Vermont Cabot Cheese, yum! They were giving out free samples or cheese along with information on Vermont vacationing. Including, going to the Cabot Creamery where you can view how the cheese is made, along with free tastings and weekly specials on their products.

Here are some fun facts about Cabot:
-Cabot Farmers Creamery Cooperative started nearly 90 years ago.
-All of their cheese comes from local farmers.

-Cabot has 95 dairy farms in Massachusetts and 1500 throughout New England. So when you buy from Cabot your supporting your local farmers!

-Cabot cheese is gluten and lactose free.

They weren't our only visitors though! Mix 104.1 was here as well serving some delicious Turkey Hill ice cream sundaes!

Try this at home! Today we gave out pamphlets on trying your own tie-dyeing at home! Kool-Aid Tie Dye!

You'll need:
Unsweetened Kool-Aid
Small Plastic Bowls
Plastic Gloves
Rubber Bands

For every color you want to use, put 1 package of Kool-Aid and 1 oz of vinegar into individual bowls. Mix together until the Kool-Aid dissolves.

Pull and twist your t-shirt into different shapes using the rubber bands.

Dip the rubber-banded ends into the bowls (wearing gloves!!!!!)

To set the colors iron the t-shirt on medium high using an ironing cloth between the shirt and the iron. Let it set for 24 hours before washing. We'd recommend you wash it seperately first, just in case :)
Thanks for stopping by today! Don't forget to come back tomorrow for Curious Creatures!!