Monday, December 6, 2010

I Spy Shadow Boxes

Just had to share this fun, environmentally friendly craft for all ages that my children have been continually making and playing with for months now. Using odds and ends from around the house or from your recycling bin, create a collage in a shoebox. Then use the collage to play "I Spy", an all-ages game that most children never get tired of. Close the sheoebox lid and take it with you for an entertaining game while you wait at a restaurant, doctor's office, or in the car.

Like in the national bestseller I Spy books by Walter Wick and Jean Marzollo , kids can choose a theme to create their collage around, or go completely random. Some ideas for materials include pictures cut from magazines, material scraps, shells, small toys left over from birthday party goodie bags or Happy Meals, stickers, foam letters or shapes, puzzle pieces, or anything you can think of.

I Spy clues can vary based on age, such as 'I see something red', 'something that begins with b', 'something that rhymes with wish', or 'something you find at the beach'. The game can also be played in a 20 Questions format as well, where the guesser is only allowed to ask yes or no questions about the mystery object. Games such as these build thinking skills, and are more engaging to children when their own works of art are involved.

My kids made their first I Spy Shadow Boxes at the Raynham Public Library's summer art workshop led by Lee Gullens, local artist and children's book illustrator. If your children are interested in art classes, the museum offers Art Exploration, a drop-in for preschoolers on Friday mornings, and Judy's Art Studio, art classes for children ages 5-18 held at the museum after school and in the evening. A local business recommended by Mrs. Gullens is Turtle Feet in Easton, newly owned by Kevin Hebb, which offers "art classes with an academic twist" for ages 3-12.

One final I spy idea: Another mom once told me when your kids do something that makes you want to pull your hair out, don't scream... take a picture. Someday you'll look back and laugh. So one day when my kids' room was extremely messy, I went around taking pictures. We now use those pictures for playing I Spy on long car trips. And yes, it brings us lots of laughs.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Sharing is Caring Festival

During December and January, the Children’s Museum in Easton will celebrate the holiday season and the importance of providing good help to those in need. The Museum’s Sharing is Caring Festival is a series of holiday-themed events that help those in need and raise awareness for how children and families can give back to the community.

This month is our 20th Anniversary Campaign for Kids. It is important that we continue to provide a fantastic learning environment for kids in our area. When you give to our annual fund, you support quality educational experiences for all children in our community. For the Museum to be affordable to you, we need charitable support. We appreciate your consideration and help. Even if you can’t make a cash donation, there are more ways of donating during this holiday season. Here are just a few:

Come to our Cards for Kids events all month long, where kids will make cards in our art studio that will be distributed to organizations who serve those confined indoors by illness or disability. A special card from a child can lift a spirit and make a smile.

Starting Thanksgiving weekend, Museum visitors can donate to the Warm Hearts Drive and drop off new hats, mittens, and socks to help keep needy children’s heads, hands, feet and hearts warm during the winter.

For our popular Kids’ Holiday Shop, parents can donate new or gently used items for the kids to buy and wrap. Volunteers are on hand to help children select and wrap a perfect gift for mom, dad, friends and family. By donating, you will give kids the opportunity to buy, wrap, and give gifts to their loves ones.

Martin Luther King, Jr. is a symbol of strengthening communities, empowering individuals, and bridging barriers. On January 17th, we commemorate his legacy by celebrating The Martin Luther King Day of Service. It is never too young to learn the value of helping others. On the 17th the Museum offers a variety of arts and crafts projects inspired by Martin Luther King, Jr. You can find more ways to give back to your community here.

We hope that these events offered by the Museum provides you and your family with a charitable Holiday Season. As you can see, there’s a lot of ways to give back to the community, and we hope you’ll take advantage of these opportunities or seek out your own! And even when the holidays end, remember there is always someone in need.

-Josh Nyer
Public Relations Intern

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Halloween Romp proves to be a frightfully good time

Halloween came early this year for everyone who participated in the Children’s Museum annual Halloween Romp at Oakes Ames Memorial Hall in Easton. Children were rushed in by Mrs. Weasley,who guided them up the stairs or towards the fortune teller if they wished to have their fortune’s revealed to them. The mighty centaur guarded the door as Tinkerbell greeted everyone with a smile.

As children walked up the stairs, they were introduced to Marla Isaac’s Reptile and Raptors exhibit. Marla brought with her two owls, snakes, Madagascar cockroaches, and even a baby alligator. The mad scientists even let some lucky guests pet the alligator.

Before entering the hall, Harry Potter and Luna Lovegood held a candy corn guessing contest, where children guesstimated how many candy corns were in the witch’s jar. At the evening event, Tristan the Avenger made the educated assumption that the jar contained 334 pieces. Fortunately, he was the closest and took home the jar all for himself. The jar of candy corn was one of many prizes given away throughout the evening. Hilliard’s House of Candy was generous enough to donate a basket of Halloween goodies, while Lowe’s, Get Personal, Soups on Center, and others all donated great gifts for the kids and their families.

There were many crafts and games that kept the princesses and costume crusaders busy. Kids participated in the “make your own golden snitch” craft, where children replicated the golden snitch from the Harry Potter movies. There was also a “knock down Hedwig game,” “mummy wrap,” and dancing as well as many other fun-filled activities.

To wrap up the evening, kids and their families were led down to the elaborately decorated “trick or treat” portion of the hall. Families made their way through the dim lit corridors and were treated with not only sweets, but a toothbrush and toothpaste donated by Children's Dental Health Center to promote healthy living. Children also saw a dragon tamer, Rapunzel, a Hogwarts teacher, and a colorful Herbology Room that was wonderfully decorated. Families left with smiles on their faces and seemed as if they thoroughly enjoyed the evening. We would like to thank everyone for coming out and supporting the Children’s Museum. We would also like to thank Oakes Ames Memorial Hall for letting us use their for the event. The Children's Museum hopes you had a spooktacular time.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Annual Children's Museum "Golf Fore! Kids" Tournament is a hole in one

It was another successful year at The Children’s Museum “Play Fore Kids Golf Tournament,” where families gathered at the Easton Country Club on Columbus Day. Over 100 participants were in attendance, including: moms and dads with their kids, grandparents, cousins, close family friends, and even some new ones that were met along the green.

The cool, crisp breeze mixed with the bright sun allowed for a pristine autumn golfing experience. Players competed against some exciting challenges such as: closest to the pin challenge, Longest Drive, Hole in One, Straightest Drive, 50/50, and more. Winners were not the only ones who walked away with prizes due to the numerous raffles donated by local families and businesses that were won by other ones. These raffle prizes covered a cornucopia of items ranging from a “Mom’s Dream Day Basket,” to a “Bruin’s Gold” packaged that contained an autographed photo and puck from Tuukka Rask.

The raffles and delicious catered dinner was followed by one of the most electric fireworks display in the area. Families and friends gathered outside to watch an over 15 min display that captivated the audience and put the finishing touch on a fun and eventful day. Before everyone began to depart, The Children’s Museum had the privilege of talking to some stand out players who participated at the tournament.

Jim Shapiro, annual player of the golf tournament, said: “the gold tournament is a great chance for all generations of family to spend time and play together.” Jim has been a sponsor of “Play Fore Kid’s Golf Tournament” since the beginning. His family, who scored 1st place in the novice category, insisted that the win was “contributed by the entire family,” making the victory even more special. Jim’s company, Audio Visual Intelligence, was kind enough to sponsor this event.

Another victorious competitor was 11 year old Ryan McGarry. Ryan stunned players by hitting the ball on the green from 131 yards away. His $10 reward was the first of many throughout the evening. Ryan, who has been playing golf for over 4 years, said “Easton Country Club offers players a great challenge that helps improve their game.” This competitive quality definitely worked in the McGarry’s favor. Although Ryan is undoubtedly competitive, he said to us that playing with his family was the best part about the day.” Ryan’s father, Sean, went on to say: “The Children’s Museum in Easton does a great job of organizing these events by reaching out to the community and providing families with a place to go.” Sean, Ryan, and the rest of their family placed nobly in 3rd place in the competitive category.

Tom James and his step son Zach wowed players with a 2nd place finish in the competitive category. In their first time golfing together, Tom noted that “Easton Country Club allows players of all experience levels the ability to compete together.” He went on to say “the course is designed so anyone from novice level to expert can have a great time playing.” Tom, who is an employee at Easton Country Club, stated that “The Children’s Museum does fantastic charity work,” something he is also passionate about. Tom lastly stated that “Playing with my step son Zach was such a great experience.” On that note Tom took off with Zach to go catch the start of the fireworks celebration.

The fireworks were generously donated by Evolution Sports Performance, allowing families to truly cap off a great Columbus Day.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Scarecrow Stomp

Summer is finally over, and this past weekend we celebrated the transition into Fall in a big way! On Sunday September 19th, we had a lot of Fall-themed activities and projects to kick off the season. The biggest attraction was the Scarecrow Stomp, where families brought in their old and used clothing and turned them into some very creative scarecrows! There was plenty of hay to use (which created a miniature playground for the kids), as well as other arts and crafts materials to bring the scarecrows to life. At the end of the day, there was a whole collection of artistic scarecrows, and every family got to bring theirs home.

Next to the scarecrows was an all-time Fall classic: apple cider. No, not the kind you get at the store… apple cider made from freshly squeezed apples! While some of our volunteers cut up a whole bunch of apples, kids got to put the sliced remains into an antique pressing machine, then watch as the apples were crushed into a pulp, and the juices flowed into a container below. It was a delightful insight into how apple cider was made in the old days, and the kids thoroughly enjoyed it! Nothing better than a history lesson that you can drink afterwards!

The other food-related blast to the past was Johnny Cakes, a Colonial delicacy. These cakes were made from corn and corn meal (ground corn kernels.) The Native Americans taught the early settlers how to make these corn-bread pancakes. These were very easy to make (because corn was easy to grow and grind) and the pilgrims used them at almost every meal.
The recipe is also very easy. The ingredients are:
-1 cup cornmeal
-½ teaspoon salt
-1 cup boiling water
-½ cup milk.

Mix the cornmeal and salt. Add the boiling water, stirring until smooth. Add the milk. Stir well. Grease a heavy, 12-inch frying pan. Set over the medium-low heat. Drop teaspoons of the batter onto the pan. Cook until golden, about five minutes. Turn the cakes carefully with a metal spatula. Cook the other side five minutes. Serve the first cakes hot with butter and maple syrup.

The third history lesson came from the Wringer Washer, an antique device used to do the laundry. The kids couldn’t stop playing with the device as they rolled socks in the dirt and mud, washed them in the basin, scrubbed them against the washboard, rolled them through the squeezer, then hung them up to dry… only to repeat the process again and again!

The last history lesson came from Annawon Weedon, who brought his fascinating Native American arts and crafts projects and games. Among the arts and crafts projects were corn dolls, easy-to-make dolls made from strands of corn stalk. There was also an old Native American game, a game that originated the common phrase, “What’s all the hubbub?” This game consisted of a giant bowl with colored seashells in it, and the idea was to shake and slam it on the table, and you’d get points based on which sides of the shells are facing up or down. The most interesting part of the game is that you played with an opponent, whose job is to distract you by shouting while you’re slamming the bowl.

What’s more frustrating than eating a messy, powdery donut? How about eating a messy, powdery donut hanging on a string- without using your hands? Kids delighted in this appetizing challenge as they attempted to devour a donut, hands-free. It’s not as easy as it sounds! Needless to say, there was many a satisfied, yet powder-faced kid walking away from that activity!

Hay is fun. Not many kids see it on a day-to-day basis, but it’s fluffy and interesting and makes you want to jump into it. That’s exactly what some kids did, as in between activities they could make a mad dash, jump through a hula hoop, and make a crash landing on a safety pile made of hay. It was a great way for many of the kids to let out some of their pent up energy, and always amusing to see some kids make very elaborate dives in the air.

The last of the activities was an interesting arts and crafts project. In order to prepare for the season, kids got the chance to design and make their own leaf-hanging decorations. Clear fabric pieces in the shape and colors of leaves were stuck together, and they could be brought home and hung in windows and elsewhere in the house.

The Scarecrow Stomp is only the beginning of the Fall events. Keep coming in on the drop-in days to see Trucks on Tuesdays, Exploring Music and Simple Science, Animal Happenings on Thursdays, and Friday Frolics. Mark your calendars for the Halloween Romp on Saturday, October 16th. Be sure to buy your tickets in advance!

-Josh Nyer
Public Relations Intern

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Music Making and Circus Acts!

We had two show-stopping Drop-in Days at The Museum last week! On Thursday we made soAdd Videome awesome rhythms and beats with our special, musical guests. Friday was also another entertaining day because we had amazing circus performances by AWESOME ROBB and performers, Jeremy and Jenn! We learned all kinds of cool circus tricks that I have always wanted to know how to do.

We made some funky beats last Thursday at The Museum! This Music Making Drop-in Day gave us a chanceto make some noise and learn all about different musical instruments. Tony Fonseca from All Hands Drumming started things off by teaching us how to play the drums. He set up all different types of drums in The Wild Place for us to bang on. His helpful color-coding system on the drums along with his instructions made it easy to learn how to

play them correctly.

So Tony got the party started, but Jenn Bliss and Jason Berube kept it going strong with their exciting exploration of the wonderful world of music! First, they gave us a little background on what makes music. They told us the history of how it progressed, and how there are all different types of ways to makes music, such as with our voices and with instruments. Like Tony, they also showed us how to play a few instruments, like the guitar and the recorder. After they taught us some awesome musical skills, they let us showcase them in our very own concert! Our jam session down in The Wild Place was a lot of fun, and a great way to practice the new things that we had learned throughout the day.

After Jason and Jenn’s musical exploration was complete, Annawon Weedon taught us about his Native American culture and how music is apart of it. He showed us some cool artifacts, like a deer rattle! This musical instrument is made from a deer’s foot and his tribe uses it during their musical routines. Annawon also taught us The Alligator Dance, which they use to get rid of gators! How it works is two people dance together with their arms intertwined, and the dance will ward off these unwanted creatures. Overall, each presenter’s take on music taught

us something different, which made this Drop-in Day filled with great musical knowledge and skills!

While it is usually more like a zoo down in The Wild Place, last Friday it definitely was a circus! Awesome Robb started

the day off with his circus routine. He gave us a little history on clowns and how things have changed over time, one being their shoes! Robb’s first pair of clown shoes was very heavy leather. Shoe cobblers made the shoes so durable because most clowns wouldn’t have time to get their shoesrepaired if they broke on the road! Modern clown footwear and clothing are more lightweight, which is nice when performing on hot summer days like last week.

Robb went to The Ringling Brothers Clown College in 1983 where he learned what it takes to be a clown. His experienced clown teachers showed him how to put on his clown makeup, what his wardrobe should be like, and what tricks get the most laughs! One trick that he performed involved and underwear tree, which certainly got some big laughs with us!

In the afternoon, Jenn and Jeremy taught us juggling, plate spinning, and hula-hooping down in The Wild Place. They started the show with a little trick for us: it involved 5 members of our audience and a hula-hoop. Seems pretty harmless, right? Jenn held the hula hoop in the air as Jeremy jumped

through the hoop and over the 5 volunteers!Lucky for them, Jeremy successfully cleared their heads and made a smooth landing.

With one trick behind them, Jeremy and Jenn continued with the rest of the show. Jeremy is a professional juggler! He showed us that there are all different ways juggle and different objects to juggle with. Jeremy juggled with the classic pins, flower sticks, a Chinese yo-yo, and even with these balls that he usually sets on fire!

But Jeremy isn’t the only one with tricks up his sleeve! Jenn is great hula-hooper. She can hula all over her body, including her neck! She let us in on a little secret: the bigger the hoop, the easier it is to hula. You would think that it would be more difficult with a bigger hoop, but it’s not because it doesn’t take as much hulaing to keep it going!

We have certainly learned many new things at the Museum this summer. Whether we are watching an animal show, listening to the history of clowns, or singing pirate songs, we all could learn something that we didn’t know before we went to a Drop-in Day. And best of all, it’s actually fun. I mean, I think that it’s pretty cool to learn how to be a poop detective! These are just a few of the many awesome ideas that came through the Museum this summer. If you only got to go to a few Drop-ins this summer, then don’t fret because there will be more fun Drop-in Days in the fall!

-Ashley Balerna
Public Relations Intern

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Building the Dinosaur Den - Week 1

Day 1 - Finally the day is here! After many months of researching, planning, and sketching, we have begun the transformation of the Woodshop into a brand new exhibit space, The Prehistoric Pathway. What began last year as a small makeover of the upstairs hallway, has exploded into another whole room! The popularity of dinosaurs never wavers, and since we possessed another HUGE track that we wanted to display, this seemed like an obvious choice.

We have closed down the Woodshop before the Spruce-up to give us an extra week to get the new exhibit installed. The Museum will be closed Sunday, August 29 through Monday, September 13 for our annual event. We will open our doors Tuesday, September 14 all bright and shiny with many new changes for you to enjoy – most notably the prehistoric time travel that will occur on the top floor. It’ll be like you’ve blasted back in time, millions of years ago, to the age of these thunderous beasts, roaring and stomping through the lush landscape!

In the past few months you may have noticed the small steps that have already been taken to get The Prehistoric Pathway ready. A good friend of the Museum, carpenter Larry Mowatt, ripped down half the wall for an exploration alcove, and installed a glass panel in the door to give the room some much needed light. A fresh coat of paint on the ceiling and upper walls invigorated us and got us envisioning the bright, new exhibit.

Mark, our Exhibits Fabricator, has spent most of the spring making mock-ups and templates for the pieces that will go in the room. Once we all agreed on the room layout, Mark had to quickly get to work. Off to the lumberyard he went and picked out the large boards that he will make into a play table, a research area, a bench and a few other things he has up his sleeve. Mark is like a kid himself, so there is a lot of humor and sense of discovery in his designs. More than any other area of the Museum, this room will reflect that mindset.

As Mark is busy in the garage sawing and sanding, I am working on other things behind the scenes – mostly at my house. Today my kitchen became my work area as I wallpapered a large mural to some boards. It will function as a backdrop in the room and make you feel as though you are walking with dinosaurs! In my dining room I have a couple of other projects going on that are in various stages of completion. Paint cans, brushes, X-acto knives, cutting mats and drop cloths are scattered about. We only have three weeks to get it all done, so we’re keeping our fingers crossed. Well, I am at least. Mark doesn’t seem worried at all…

Since we have been boning up (sorry, but I had to use it) on our dinosaur facts, here’s a question for all you dino junkies out there. There are lots of different kinds of dinosaurs in all shapes and sizes. However, every dinosaur had three things in common. What are they?
I’ll give the answer in the next posting. Stay tuned!

Posted by Pam Borbély
Graphic Designer / Artist

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Dog Days II & BEE a POOP Detective!

It was a zoo at The Museum last week! We had a lot of animal visitors come and teach us a little something about themselves. Of course their owners helped them with their presentations, and we had a great time learning about everything from dog training to poop! Don’t miss our last week of Drop-in Days next week as we wrap things up with Miss Candy’s Petting Zoo and our favorite pal Ruff from FETCH!

Thursday we had our second Dog Days of Summer Drop-in Day. This time around we featured dogs that could do awesome tricks. In the morning Dick Norton, a dog behavioral therapist and dog trainer from Bark Busters, and his dog Douglas taught us how to safely approach a dog. There are a few steps that you need to take if you want to pet a strange dog. First, you need to ask its owner if it’s okay to pet his dog. Second, you need to make your hand into a fist and then let the dog sniff it. Once the dog seems comfortable with you, you can pet the dog under its chin- NOT on top of his head.

After Dick & Douglas’ presentation, we had a spectacular dog show. Australian Shepherds, and a little dog named Spanky, performed all kinds of great tricks for us. Many of the dogs could weave through their owners legs, spin, dance, and bow. Tika, a 7 month old Australian Shepherd, showed us how she says her prayers each night with help from her trainer. Spanky and Wish did a great round of fly ball- check out their skills by watching our video on Facebook! Wish is also an amazing frisbee player and made some great snags! After their performances, they did meet and greets with all of our guests. It was nice to get up close and personal with the celebrities! At the end of the day, we even got to help them groom one of the dogs who needed a good brushing. We had some dog-gone fun with all of our furry guests, and we look forward to seeing them again next summer!
I’d never thought that I would say that, but I am now a poop detective. Crazy, right? Well if you came to the Museum last Friday, then you are now a poop detective too! Before we got the scoop on poop, Channel 7 meteorologist, Chris Lambert, taught us how he calculates the weather. He also answered some great questions from the audience, like “How do they come up with the names for hurricanes?” Answer: The name depends on the part of the world that the hurricane is occurring, but weather people have a list of names that they use over time.

After Chris’ presentation, you could have headed over to the Bristol County Beekeeper’s table to check out the bee hive they had set up. They also had some honey combs so you could see what the bees make. They even had the gear that they have to wear when tending to the bees for us to look at! It was great to have these beekeepers buzzzing around The Wild Place throughout the day!

Finally we were taught all about animal poop through a great presentation from Animal World Experience. There are all different types of poop- it depends on what type of animal it’s coming from. Poop comes in all shapes and sizes, and even how it comes out is different in some animals too! The weirdest way one animal poops was a scorpion! The poop comes out of its tail, and it likes to smear it all of the walls of its cage. GROSS! The best part was that we all got to get really close to the animals that we were learning about. We were big fans of these super poopers!
It was another fun filled week at The Museum! If you love animals, then don’t miss your last chance to see real, lives ones next Thursday during our Miss Candy’s Petting Zoo Drop-in Day!
-Ashley Balerna
Public Relations Intern

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Week 5: Pulling Strings and Tie Dye Fun!

We are halfway there, folks! With the first month of Drop-in Days behind us, it’s a sad reminder that summer is almost over. However, we still have some awesome Drop-in Days left to end the summer on a great note! Yesterday, we had a very exciting dog show, complete with fly ball racing and frisbee! Come over today and learn how to BEE a POOP Detective!

Last Thursday was an entertaining day at the Museum, thanks to our special guests! In the morning magician Shawn Mullins put on a great show filled with different types of tricks and surprises. Shawn is from Easton and he even interned for the Museum in the past. It was great to see him still contributing to the Museum’s events even after his time with us had ended. Shawn creatively incorporated interesting items into his tricks, including eggs and giant cards! He also made some awesome balloon animals. He even made a dog disappear...well he made the balloon dog disappear by popping it! But don't worry...he brought it back to life by making him again! Shawn was certainly a clever magician, and he definitely had us laughing!

Later in the day Charlotte from Rosalita’s Puppets performed an amazing puppet show for all of us. Her show, A Sea Story, was filled with pirates, mermaids, and other cool creatures of the deep! Between the tale and the interesting looking puppets, everyone’s attention was captured throughout the entire performance! She even gave us a chance to ask the puppets some questions! This marionette show is one of a kind. We always love when Charlotte performs for us, and we were glad that she was able to visit us again this summer!

Round two of tie-dying also took place last week. Some expert tie-dyers came out and made more colorful creations down in The Wild Place! Here, you had the freedom to choose their own colors and designs, and got some help and expertise from our talented tie-dying volunteers! After your cool new shirt was complete, you could have visited the Mix 104.1 Street Team Ice Cream Truck. From noon-2PM they handed out delicious ice cream to all of our awesome tie dyers! Tie dying is a great summer activity that everyone loves. Be sure to come back next summer for more tie-dye fun!

Although we only have less than a month left of summer, this doesn’t mean that the fun has to stop! Here at the Museum, we enjoy the summer all the way up until September, and we want you all to come on over and enjoy it with us! Be sure to check our Drop-in Day schedule to see what we have in store for the final days of summer!

-Ashley Balerna
Public Relations Intern, The Children's Museum in Easton

Friday, August 6, 2010

Summer Drop-In-Days Week 4 - A Pirate's Life for Me and Sports, Health & Fitness

This past week we wrapped up our July Summer Drop-In-Days with an interesting mix. On Thursday, the week was off to a great start as we sail on the open seas with A Pirate’s Life for Me. On Friday we switched gears and put our game faces for Sports, Health & Fitness Day. Our week was filled with some great performances and appearances by some awesome guests. Although we hit a bit of rain in the beginning of our pirate adventure on Thursday that didn’t stop us from having a fun week here at the Museum.

On Thursday everyone came dressed in their pirate best and boy did they look great! All our young mateys here at the Museum sang and danced along as Cap’n Sully and First Mate Jenny McBoo shared their favorite tales from the briny deep. Of course everyone wanted to look more like Cap’n Sully and First Mate Jenny McBoo so all our little landlubbers were making eye patches and cool pirate flags so they could set sail on their own imaginary sea adventures at home too.

On Friday we switched gears and put on our game faces as we prepared for a day filled with Sports, Health & Fitness here at the Museum. There were tons of cool games and special guests for all kinds of sports! Our favorite mascot from The Brockton Rox, KO, started off the day with some warm ups. Not only is he the coolest mascot around, but his stretches and exercises really helped prepare us for a day filled with all kinds of sports activities and challenges. Thank KO, we couldn’t have done it with out you!

All day long kids participated in the Gentle Giant Staircase Challenge. I know what you’re thinking, it looks kind of scary but its actually not! Once you do it once you want to keep doing it over and over. You race to the top of the staircase and then slide down the giant slide, its so much fun and you might not realize it, but its great exercise too!

The Boston Blazers Lacrosse team had a booth set up all day long giving out all kinds of cool stuff. The best part was the real lacrosse goal they had set up to shoot on all day to win prizes. I definitely am going to check out some of their games once their season starts again and you should too, so visit their website to see when they start up again, maybe you can even catch a practice!

We ended the day of fitness fun with a member of The Boston Breakers women’s soccer team. She gave us lost of game-time tips and answered any questions we had for her. She showed us how awesome girls in sports can be. I would definitely check our some of their games, there are still a few more this summer right in Boston at Harvard Stadium so check out their website for a schedule!

If you missed out on our Summer Drop-In-Days for the Month of July don’t fret because they continue Thursdays and Fridays through August 27. We have some of your favorite days back for a second time and some new totally awesome new days you don't want to miss! Visit our website to learn more and see a full schedule of upcomming Summer Drop-In-Days.
-Alex Langway
Communications/PR Intern

Thursday, August 5, 2010

New England Summer Fun - Part 2

So it’s August now and since the weather has been so beautiful this summer I’m sure we have all had our fair share of beach days and playing by the pool. We figured you might be getting a little bored with that so we have researched and gathered up the best activities in Massachusetts to do with your family. We gave you some awesome things for July and we hope you had a chance to check some of them out, but now it’s August and there’s a whole new list of fun activities and events to do right in your home state. Also, don't forget to stop by for our August Summer Drop-In Days here at The Museum, for tie dying, music, circus fun and much more!

Cape Cod Potato Chip Factory (Monday- Friday 9:00AM-5:00PM)

Sure, the cape is known for its beaches but did you know they also have the best potato chips? Cape Cod Potato Chips are Kettle Cooked for that perfect crunch. They are made from all natural ingredients so not only do they taste great, but they are better for you. Also, They use all locally grown ingredients and you won’t find anything in them that you can’t pronounce. If you don’t believe me then you should definitely make a visit to the Cape Cod Potato Chip Factory in Hyannis, MA. Here, you can take a tour and see from start to finish how they make their potato chips the old fashioned way. Don’t forget to grab your free sample on the way out so you can taste just how delicious these chips are!

Providence Story Time (Every Tuesday in August)

Enjoy story time outside in the gorgeous summer weather. Providence, RI is a small but beautiful city especially in the summertime. This event takes place near the fountain in Burnside Park near Kennedy Plaza in Providence from 10:00 AM-11:00AM. Each week will feature at least one book from a local Rhode Island author or illustrator. Don’t forget to bringa blanket to sit on. Maybe you even want to pack a picnic and enjoy lunch in the park after story time is over. This is a great opportunity to enjoy the outdoors while hearing some fun new stories. This event is great for all ages. For more information and a list of featured books, visit the website!

Rehoboth Agricultural Fair (August 5-8th)

Visit a true “County Fair” The Rehoboth County Fair has been around for 60 years and keeps the tradition alive. It takes place on the Pray Family farm in old fashioned tradition and features events that are fun for all ages like a tractor pull, tons of animal shows, pig racing, magic shows, live bands and so much more! There is a kiddie with small rides and amusements, lots of games and plenty of food. Check out the Schedule for special kiddie days and other fun events!

Marshfield Fair (August 20-29th)

If your not around for the Rehoboth Fair then you definitely want to check out the Marshfield Fair! It has the same kind of old-fashioned feel but on a larger scale. This Fair features a Midway with tons of games and rides that are perfect for kids. It also has really cool animal exhibits like dinosaurs and bees! It also has really cool art shows like glass blowing and pottery making. There are magic shows, music shows, you name it this fair has it! Also, check out the Special Events Calendar for a full schedule of events! For more information Check Out the Website.

So I know I said that all of these events could be done in a day but this last one is really special so you might want to book a room because this event takes place at night!

Illumination Night Martha’s Vineyard (August 18)

Many of you I’m sure have seen the advertisements for the First Annual Lantern Walk right here in Easton. Well in Martha’s Vineyard, Grand Illumination has been a tradition for years. Every year hundreds of lanterns are hung from the porches of the infamous gingerbread cottages in Oak Bluffs. The tradition includes a sing along and lighting the lanterns at dark. Its really something too see and its fun for the whole family. So make a day out of it. Take the ferry over to Martha’s Vineyard and head to the beach, or walk around town then enjoy this unforgettable nighttime activity. Don’t forget to join in Easton’s own First Annual Lantern Walk on August 28th and come to The Museum to Make your Lantern!

-Alex Langway
Communications/PR Intern

Monday, August 2, 2010

Summer Road Trip!

One of my favorite ways to spend quality time with the family is embarking on a summer road trip. Too often however we get caught up in packing for where we are going and forget to "pack" ideas for the time in the car, where a significant part of the family time will take place. Then there you are, trapped in a small space with the people you love the most, and before you know it everyone is whining, complaining, and annoying each other.

I have found that prevention is the key. Keeping your crew actively engaged will make the trip more pleasant for everyone, ensure quality time spent together, and can even help to reinforce what they have learned in school to prevent the "summer slide".

What I find most challenging is finding games that are age-appropriate for all 3 of my children, whose ages span a 6-year range. One game they can all enjoy is making up a group story. One person begins with a few sentences, and the next person continues the story and so on around the circle, until someone finally makes up an ending. The ideas they come up with usually provide us with a lot of laughs.

Here is another game they all can play: Each person chooses a color. Then as you drive along he/she counts how many cars (or you can use signs, etc.) that he/she sees of that color. It becomes quite a contest of whose color is the most popular.

Another multi-age game is making comparisons. Choose a nearby car on the highway. Each child takes turns comparing it to your car, such as the color of the car, number of people in the car, placement of stickers, the state it is from, etc. You will be surprised at the details they discover.

    Keep your child thinking with these games:

  • One player says a name, and the next player has to say a name that begins with the last letter of the name just said. How long can you keep it going?

  • Think of a number. As players guess, use "greater than" and "less than" until they guess the number.

  • Count by 2's, 3's, 4's, 5's, or 10's, or any multiple, depending on your child's level. Try counting backwards by any of these as well. This will help with addition, subtraction, and multiplication.

  • Play 20 Questions: Think of something and players guess 20 yes/no clues (Does live in the water? Does it have 4 legs?) until they know what it is.

Don't forget to bring along some books. You can take turns reading, have an older sibling read to a younger one, or add some drama by using extra expression or a silly voice. You'll have lots of time to discuss the stories you read. Make predictions, discuss the characters in the story, and share your reactions. Your local library probably has books for all ages on tape or cd. When finished listening, children can draw a picture to go along with the story or make up an alternate ending.

I also keep a box of activities "for car trips only" including a Magnadoodle for playing Hangman or Pictionary, Hidden Pictures from Highlights, and magnetic games. I have found some great resources made by Cranium (such as The Cranium Ultimate Book of Fantastic Fun and Games) and American Girl (The Family Quiz Book and other quiz books) as well as the old favorite, Madlibs. The Children's Museum gift shop usually has a nice variety of idea/activity books from Klutz and other authors, as well as portable crafts and small toys perfect for car entertainment.

Here are a few websites with additional game ideas, printable activity pages, and tips.

If you like these ideas, print them out and keep them in the glove box. Enjoy your trip, but especially enjoy your family.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Drop-in Days Week 3: FETCH! and Move It! AKA Ruff Ruffman and the Case of the Free Ice Cream!

Week 3 of Summer Drop-in Days was filled with TV characters, animals, cake and ice cream, and cool dance moves. An interesting mix of entertainment, right? Well that's how we like our Drop-in Days- full of variety! This week is no different. Today pirates will be walking the plank, and tomorrow we will be taking the Gentle Giant Staircase Challenge! Come on over and experience it firsthand! If you couldn't make it to our Drop-in Days last week, then here is what you missed!

On Thursday our favorite furry pal, Ruff from FETCH! with Ruff Ruffman, came to visit us! Throughout the day, Ruff bopped down in The Wild Place to take pictures and hand out awesome stickers, bookmarks, and tattoos! He loved meeting his biggest fans, like Hillary and Ashley Browne (left)- some of them even made him cool crafts at our Crazy Concoction Station (right), where we made some coffee ground fossils and puff paint creations!

After you finished up your crafts, you could've headed over to the gazebo for some tasty Ruff Ruffman cake. I have to admit that I had a big piece my was delicious! And what goes better with cake than ice cream? The Mix 104.1 Street Team (below) was nice enough to help us out. They handed out delicious Turkey Hill ice cream to everyone. It was the perfect way to cool off in the summer heat! If you missed out on the ice cream, then you can come next Friday, August 6th for another scoop from Mix 104.1!

It was a great day at the Museum: our favorite PBS friend, Ruff Ruffman, came over, we got to make some kooky crafts, and we were able to satisfy our sweet tooth with cake and ice cream! What more can you ask for?! You are probably thinking "another awesome Drop-in Day like this one!" Well, we've got you covered. Don't miss Ruff on our last Drop-in Day of the summer. On August 27th he will be back to wrap up another great summer at the Museum!

So after indulging in (maybe a little too much!) cake and ice cream, we definitely needed to work it off at our next Drop-in Day! On Friday we busted some funky moves with Nicole, a dancer who trained at the Boston Ballet School! She showed us fun games that got all of our body parts to bend and move. She also taught us some awesome party dances, like the Macarena and the Funky Chicken. I will definitely be breaking those moves out at the next dance party that I go to!

If you braved the rain, then you got to see Matt from Animal World Experience (right) show us how animals move during Locomotion Commotion. He brought along a snake, possum, rabbit, and other wiggly creatures to teach us why these animals move the way they do. Matt's different spin on an animal show made it a huge hit with our visitors. If you love animals, then you are in luck! We still have a few more Drop-in Days in August that will be a hit for animal lovers. Make sure to check out Dog Days of Summer II and Miss Candy's Petting Zoo for more animal fun!

We had another exciting week at the Museum. One day we met our favorite TV character and the next we learned some new dance moves! There's always something fun happening at our Drop-in Days. Be sure to check out our August Drop-in Day schedule to see what we have planned for next month!
-Ashley Balerna
Public Relations Intern, The Children's Museum in Easton