Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Rolie Polie Guacamole!

Rolie Polie Guacamole performed an awesome show on Thursday, July 25 at the Children’s Museum in Easton! In case you missed it, or you just really enjoyed it, we spoke with lead singer and guitarist Frank Gallo to learn more about the band

RPG consists of Frank Gallo along with Andrew Tuzchilin on the bass and Peter Barr on the drums. The New York based band started in 2006. Frank’s father, Lou Gallo was a children’s musician and inspired Frank to follow in his footsteps. Frank called up his buddy Andrew and they got to work forming Rolie Polie Guacamole! With their first drummer Christian McCarthy, they demoed in 2006 and put out records in 2008, 2010, and 2012.

“We started out with the theme of eating healthy,” Frank recounts, “after playing some live shows we went more in the direction of movement. Now we’re focusing on the fitness aspect” Rolie Polie Guacamole focuses on healthy living. They say their mission is, “to engage audiences from 0-100 with catchy songs about staying active and eating healthy with an emphasis on movement.” Frank says they they’ve coined the term “musement” meaning music and movement: two things you are guaranteed to find at a RPG concert!

Among things to anticipate at a show, Frank says to expect “a tight band playing catchy songs. Parents should be happy when they go home with kids who want to take a nap!” He later summarizes with a laugh: “expect healthy goodness.”

Rolie Polie Guacamole loves performing for kids. Their favorite part? “They actually listen a lot better than adult audiences in a lot of ways!” Frank explains, “They know our lyrics, and they’re loyal fans. And the songs are really fun and wholesome which ends up making you feel really good after the show. I’ve noticed I smile a lot more after playing a show.”

It’s sufficed to say that everybody at a Rolie Polie Guacamole show leaves with a smile! Rolie Polie Guacamole shows truly involve everybody there. “The songs that directly engage the kids are always the best!” says Frank. There are songs that get the kids jumping, songs to get them singing, and songs to get them thinking! Parents will love to see their children having a blast and getting involved with music that has a positive message.

Right now RPG is working on expanding their reach. Where they mainly play shows from Massachusetts to Pennsylvania, they are moving to play more shows in Chicago, DC and even Seattle!

They won’t forget New England though! Frank ends the interview with stating, “We love coming to New England and hope to be back soon!”

If you’d like, you can catch Rolie Polie Guacamole this fall! They will be playing on October 19th in Cambridge at Club Passim for a Halloween show!

Lastly, don’t forget to check out and pick up Rolie Polie Guacamole’s upcoming album “Triathlon” which will be coming out in early 2014. Find out more information on their website at http://www.roliepolieguacamole.com/

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

U.Fund Dreams!

If you’re one of the many parents who are already concerned about paying for their child’s higher education, the U.Fund is here to help! The Children’s Museum in Easton will be hosting a date of the U.Fund Dreams Tour as a part of Free Fun Friday on July 26.

The idea behind the U.Fund is for parents to have a safe savings account for their child’s future. Parents do not pay taxes on any money earned in their U.Fund savings account or on withdrawing money to pay for educational expenses. Furthermore, “There’s no annual account fee, no income restrictions, and you can start saving with as little as $15 a month. Contributions can be made automatically from your bank account. “*

The U.Fund plan is a Massachusetts 529 college savings plan operated by MEFA, Massachusetts Educational Financing Authority. The U.Fund “combines significant tax advantages and age-based savings strategies managed professionally by Fidelity Investments, program manager of the U.Fund. A 529 college savings plan lets you save for higher education expenses at colleges and universities across the country, with flexible and affordable savings options.”*

To promote this opportunity to parents, MEFA and Fidelity are partnering up with museums and special events around Massachusetts on what is called the U.Fund Dreams Tour. 

On the dreams tour, the “activity pavilion” will give children a chance to pose for portraits dressed up as their aspired future profession i.e. astronaut, teacher, zoologist and more! Children will also get the opportunity to create art depicting what they want to be when they grow up. At the same time, parents will be able to learn about saving and planning for their child’s future.

There are many opportunities to win money on both the U.Fund Dreams Tour and on the U.Fund website here: http://www.mefa.org/mefaufund/

We hope to see your family at the Children’s Museum in Easton, and take part in the U.Fund Dreams Tour!

*Quotes were taken from the U.Fund website and can be found at http://www.mefa.org/mefaufund/.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Encouraging Science Exploration

There’s a lot in the world that is unknown to kids, nature, space and more importantly the sciences.  This doesn’t keep them from imagining, exploring, observing and asking questions.  Explaining science to kids seems intimidating but it doesn’t need to be.  Teaching your kid about science can be done in small tasks and they can have fun while learning about science too.

Kids are always willing to ask questions and learn.  They’re eager to explore and understand the world around them; encourage their curiosity.  Ask them “what” questions about their surroundings and daily life.  What happens to the grass when it rains?  What is faster, walking or running?  Asking “what” questions cause children to make observations.

Encourage kids to problem solve by answering their own questions.  For instance, have the kids observe the stars on a clear night.  Help them understand that stars are like our sun but they’re very far away.  By using a concept that kids already understand to teach a new concept you are helping them make connections.  The next time there is a cloudy night, have them problem solve as to why the stars are “missing”.  Even if they’re wrong, they’re learning to question things and then use logic, knowledge and reason to come to a conclusion based on what they know.  

Science can be physical too.  Kids can learn about science while having fun being active.  For instance, children can learn about their body and physics while kicking a ball and not even realize that they’re learning by doing.  They learn that in order to move their leg and foot to kick, they have to use their knee.  By using their foot to kick the ball they learn that the ball requires a force to make it move.  Kids are understanding science without even knowing that they’re interacting with science.

Though science seems complicated and full of long detailed explanations, it can be simplified to help kids understand.  Science can be observing and experimenting, making predictions, sharing discoveries, asking questions and wondering how things work.  It can be solving problems, designing, creating and building things that work.  It takes small activities and questions to help kids understand and learn about science.

If you’re looking to bring more science into your child’s life, there are some upcoming events at the museum full of science activities.

PBS Science
Friday, July 19
Have fun with Ruff Ruffman, host of FETCH! with Ruff Ruffman and Curious George on PBS, and try some fun, hands-on science experiments inspired by his show.

Birds of Prey
Friday, August 2 at 10am
Meet and learn about hawks, owls and vultures in this program presented by New England Reptile and Raptor. Their goal is to dispel myths and teach kids scientific facts about wildlife.  NE Reptile and Raptor use live reptiles and birds of prey for illustrative purposes to focus on educating children about reptiles and birds and their biology, physiology, and function in the ecosystem.

For more information on events that involve science click here.  For some more science fun stop by the FECTH! Lab and you might find a fun experimenting waiting!

Websites that you can go to for science activities to do at home with everyday items are Curious George or Peep and the Big Wide World if your child is pre-school age and FETCH! or Zoom if your child is older.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Tie Dye At Home

Who doesn’t love tie dye?  It’s a fun way to create a colorful piece of clothing that is unique every time.  Tie dyeing with kids however can feel complicated and get a little messy.  Here are some ideas and tips to help you make the most of tie dyeing a new piece of clothing.
  1. You’re not the intended item to dye.  That being said, use gloves to prevent having colorful hands for a day or two. 
  2. Try to tie dye outside.  It’s possible to dye inside if it’s raining, but if possible, I’m sure you’d rather have to worry about the grass getting stained instead of something in your home.  
  3. Wear old clothes.  If you haven’t already realized, dye STAINS.  Don’t wear your favorite shirt or brand new jeans when tie dyeing, wear something that can get ruined.  If you have clothes you wear for working in the yard or painting those are a good choice because you won’t care if they end up covered in dye.
  4. If you’re dyeing a new shirt instead of an old white shirt that’s in need of a facelift wash the shirt before you start the dye process.
  5. Be prepared.  Make sure you have all of your supplies ready before you go, especially rubber bands.  You don’t want to find you’re missing something once you’ve started.  You also don’t want to make a mess or mess the process up because you didn’t plan through from start to finish.  If you’re using a kit, follow the instructions, they’re there to help you keep on track with the whole process and different kits may have slightly different instructions depending on the type of dye involved.
Now that we’ve covered some of the basics about precautionary measures let’s move on to the actual dyeing.
  1. Pick a design.  There are tons of different ways that you can arrange a shirt or other item of clothing to be dyed.  For some different design ideas you can try looking here or here for inspiration and maybe try them yourself before giving kids a turn as some require more patience and finesse than others.  Also, pick a method here, are you going to use a spray bottle or a squeeze bottle?
  2. Here’s where we actually start the tie dye process.  Make sure to soak your shirt or other item to be dyed in a lukewarm soda ash bath for about 10 minutes.  When the shirt is done soaking wring out as much of the water mixture as possible.  This step is an important preparation step because it helps the fibers in the shirt hold the dye.
  3. Now place your shirt on a relatively flat surface.  Even if you’re outside, try to get a flat surface for tying your pattern, it’s more likely to come out how you want if you do it on something flat instead of on the grass.  Fold, roll, scrunch and rubber band your shirt into the design that you’ve picked.  Make sure the rubber bands are tight or your pattern won’t come out well as the dye will run.
  4. Now we dye.  If you’re outside but want to avoid getting dye on the grass you can put down a plastic tablecloth where you’ll be dyeing.  Keep in mind when you dye your shirt that it’s easiest to put lighter colors on first, they won’t show up well if you try to put them on over a darker color.  Make sure also to cover any space you don’t want to be white, that means getting into the folds as well as dyeing the surface that you see.  Next is where instructions will vary based on the method you chose.  If you used a spray bottle skip to number 7 otherwise continue to number 5.
  5. Patience.  Once you’ve finished dyeing the shirt how you like with a squeeze bottle, place your shirt in a plastic bag and let sit for at least 8 hours in a warm place.  You can leave it in for up to 36 hours and the longer you leave it the brighter the color
  6. Once the waiting is done you can rinse your shirt out using tap water (I would suggest either in a utility sink you don’t mind getting messy or using a hose over a storage container.  BEWARE, lots of dye will wash out when you do this so you should still wear gloves.  As you’re rinsing the shirt take off the rubber bands.  
  7. If you chose to spray dye your shirt, let it sit rubber banded and dyed for about 5 minutes.  Afterwards, flatten it out and let it dry in the sun.
  8. Before wearing your new shirt, wash it a couple times by itself to make sure the color sets in. 
For more detailed instructions look for the instructions in your tie dye kit or search for them online.
There are a few ways to tie dye.  You can follow the above methods or try a slightly less messy method and use sharpies instead.

The Enterprise covered our Summer Drop-in Day! Check out some pictures here: http://www.enterprisenews.com/photos/x273434864/Tie-dyed-fun-in-Easton

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Things To Do This Summer Part 3: Sunny Day Fun

Warm summer days are easy to plan for; no matter what, the kids can always have fun playing in the yard.   Trips to your local park, the zoo or one of the many wonderful museums in New England are always a fun way to fill up your summer.  Sometimes though, you just want to let your kids do something that’s a little different to keep them from getting worn out.  Even though kids are pretty inventive in finding new activities for themselves, here are some creative ideas that you and the kids may not have thought of yet and allow for some great family time together. 
  1. A great way to explore the area and have a fun adventure is to go geocaching.  It’ll be a day for the whole family to spend time together while searching for treasure.
  2. For some outdoor fun in the backyard, host your own Olympics!  Before you go outside you can have the kids make their own medals with some cardboard and string.  Once outside create different events for the kids to participate in like running, jumping and throwing.  Another fun thing to do is place cones, Frisbees or something similar around the yard and let the kids race to see who can get the most first.  After the first round, let the kids place the cones around the yard and go again.  This will keep the kids active and let their imaginations run wild as they pretend to be Olympic athletes. 
  3. A unique outdoor craft to do with the kids is water balloon art.  Use some cheap art canvases that you can buy at a local craft store and either water color crayons or washable markers.  Let the kids design their own piece of art with the crayons or markers on the canvas.  Then, let them take the canvases outside and throw water balloons at them.  If you don’t have water balloons, water guns work well too.  The water will change the kids original design on the canvas giving them a funky design that they can then decorate their room with. 
  4. Take the kids berry-picking.  Not only will it get the kids outside, but they’ll have fun picking fruit that you can eat later on!  A lot of berry picking farms have other activities for the kids to do as well.  Once you’re done, let the kid’s help you make something to eat that contains some of the berries that they picked. 
  5. Go for a classic American pastime.  A fun treat for the whole family to enjoy is to go to a drive-in.  The kids will not only enjoy getting to stay up a little later than normal,  but the experience of watching a movie  on a giant screen while sitting in the trunk in pajama’s will also make them smile.  For a list of Massachusetts drive-ins click here.
Summer allows for so many wonderful opportunities to have a great time.  With all the ideas that you’ve seen here recently and your own summer ideas and traditions, this summer is sure to be that one your kids will look back on fondly when they’re older just as you do with your own childhood summer memories.