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.