Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Arful Endeavors


You'll need:
  • an old magazine or calendar
  • pipe cleaners
1. You will need 2 squares, one 4" and one 5" for each butterfly you want to make.

2. Starting at one corner, accordion-fold the squares on the diagonal. Folds should be about 1/4" wide.

3. Then, pinch the center of each folded square to make it look like wings. Take a pipe cleaner and bend it in half to create a small loop.

4. Above the loop, stack the 2 wings in a butterfly shape. The larger set of wings should be on the top, the smaller set on the bottom. Twist above and below the wings to secure them in place.

5. Twirl the tips to make antennas. Tie a piece of yarn to the abdomen so they can hang.

This is a great way to introduce the idea of reusing materials. Encourage your child to make a colorful flock of flutterbies; tape them to a wall or suspend them from the ceiling with fishing line.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Music is everywhere

At a recent class in a local elementary school, I taught the kids how to make music with household objects and one precious, wide-eyed little girl exclaimed, "Well then, music is really EVERYWHERE then, isn't it?"

I smiled as I thought of how her shifted perspective might bear fruit in the coming days. Maybe she'd make elbow macaroni maracas or a whole drum set out of her kitchen pots and pans. Maybe she'd hear music in the winter wind or in the sound of her own boots splashing in puddles of rain water. Either way, her response reflected my own philosophy: music is for exploring.

That's why every Exploring Music class contains five elements, varied activities meant to encourage a life-long love of music.

  1. Singing - In each class, we do a good amount of singing because our voices are the only instruments we carry with us everywhere we go! We sing easy-to-learn tunes from around the world and songs meant to train and stretch little voices.

  2. Rhythm Games-We use props such as rhythm sticks, scarves, (and even our hands and feet!) to find and keep the beat.

  3. Learning- We expose children to music basics such as 'tempo' and 'pitch' in fun, engaging ways. Kids learn best when they're playing!

  4. Pretending- We use music as a backdrop to many imaginary adventures. We'll take a boat ride or a walk through the forest.pretend to be flowers or trees, fish or horses..all while never leaving the room!
  5. Movement- We'll dance, shake, gallop, and stomp our way through a variety of music including jazz, classical, and even opera! Music is meant to be enjoyed and movement is a big part of that enjoyment.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Gardening for Beginners By A Beginner Part 1 - Homegrown Herbs

Are you sick of the snow and rain yet? Ready for some fun in the sun? I know I am! I am especially excited for the next few weeks leading up to our Spring Fling here at the Museum. For those of you who don't know, the Spring Fling is the annual opening celebration of our "Wild Place" outdoor learning center! We will be spending the whole day outside, learning how to create our own family gardens and the importance of community gardens.

That being said, I've started my own herb garden at home this week, and I thought you might want to do the same. For all you rookie gardeners like myself, herbs are a great way to start, and very KID FRIENDLY! Herbs can be grown indoors on a windowsill with plenty of sunlight, watered about once a week (be careful not to over-water), and be used for all of your cooking needs. All you need are: seeds, all-purpose compost, and a container. Be sure to put something in the bottom of the container to prevent root rot, I used rocks, but packaging peanuts work just as well.

Go "green" by washing and reusing
· old coffee tins
· peanut butter jars
· ice cream pints
· deli containers
· soda bottles (have your parents cut the top off)

OR buy your own pot and decorate it however you want. Paint it funky colors, use your favorite stickers, decoupage pictures or postcards from vacations...the possibilities are endless!

There are a whole lot of herbs that can be grown inside; basil, oregano, mint, parsley, and rosemary...just to name a few. Here's a great website I found with more tips on creating your own herb garden: You should start seeing some growth in a week or two, but you will have to wait 4-6 weeks to really use me, it will be worth the wait!

Good luck gardeners, and check back next week for part two of my gardening series for some yummy (healthy) recipes to make with your homegrown herbs!

-Jennifer Nash
Public Relations and Development Intern, Children's Museum in Easton.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Treasure Hunts for the Whole Family

Does your child relish finding clues and hunting for treasure? In the fashion of his/her favorite character, Blue, Dora, or the contestants on Fetch! With Ruff Ruffman, adventure away from the TV and do some exploring of your own.

My family's most recent discovery is the world of Geocaching. In short, there are "treasures" hidden all around the world just waiting to be discovered, including surprisingly many in our local area. Containers, called geocaches, are hidden in a variety of places such as on hiking trails, at historical landmarks, and near waterways. Using the website, you choose where you would like to search and the difficulty level. Then use your GPS and hints from the website to locate the cache. Many caches contain a small trinket which you can keep and then leave a new one for the next person. Basic membership online is free. Kids have a lot of fun discovering nature, not to mention getting some exercise and learning about history and geography.

Letterboxing is another family-friendly outdoor quest that involves rubber stamping. Lace up your hiking books, grab a home-made or store-bought rubber stamp and your log book, and hit the trail. Like Geocaching, you find trail directions and clues online. Once you locate the letterbox, make an imprint of the letterbox's stamp in your personal log book and leave an imprint of your personal stamp in the letterbox's logbook.

Adventure awaits with the MA Department of Conservation and Recreation's similar Park Passport Program. From coastal beaches and the Boston Harbor Islands to scenic mountain tops and cultural and historic points of interest, the free passport guide book invites you to discover Massachusetts' over 450,000 acre state park system. After exploring a park, find the park stamp box, use a secret combination (from another spot in the park) to unlock the box, and stamp your passport. These inexpensive and close-to-home destinations provide quality family time, enjoyable exercise, and opportunities to learn about nature and history.

In between your outdoor adventures, keep your little treasure hunter on his toes this spring by coming in to the Children's Museum in Easton. Hunt for pots of gold on St. Patrick's Day (Mar. 17), search for hidden teddy bears on Teddy Bear Day (May 6), or come in any day during school vacation week (April 19-23) for a dinosaur investigation.