Monday, December 21, 2009

Hide and Seek of the Week: Holidition!

This week's Hide and Seek is a broken plate of cookies! Now don't be sad, these cookies are just one of the many props used to decorate The Enchanted Colonial Village! Originally displayed in the Lit Brother’s department store in downtown Philadelphia, the Village now resides at Please Touch Museum and is displayed during the holiday season!

Put on your looking eyes and see if you can find it during your next visit! For more info about Hide and Seek of the Week, click here.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Happy Holidays!

Season's Greetings!

'Tis the holiday season, which means there's oh so much happening at Please Touch Museum! The museum celebrates the holidays each year with an annual trip back in time to the Village—the Enchanted Colonial Village! I love watching parents, with fond childhood memories of their own, bring their children through the village for the first time because it brings out the true spirit of the holidays.

Another way the museum celebrates the holidays is our annual Countdown to Noon celebration on December 31. I love ringing in the New Year early with my friends young and old, so be sure to stop by on New Year’s Eve for countdowns at Noon and 1 p.m.!

How do you and your family celebrate the holidays?

I'd love to hear about your family traditions and other holiday happenings. Please comment below for all to see and enjoy the holiday glee!

Hide & Seek of the Week

This week's Collections object is Donald Duck as Han Solo action figure!

Released in 2008, in conjunction with Disney and Lucasfilms Ltd., this line of Star Wars inspired action figures features Disney classics designed to resemble Star Wars favorites.

Put on your looking eyes and see if you can find it during your next visit! For more info about Hide and Seek of the Week, click here.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

On stage Friday: "The Building Show"

On Friday, December 11, one of my favorite Please Touch Playhouse shows opens!
The Building Show
will be on stage until January 25, 2010.

I had a chance to talk to David Hutchman, Theater Experience Manager, who both wrote the script and constructed the set for the show.

Pinky: So, David, what's this show all about?
David: Well, Pinky, it's all about what happens when The Three Little Pigs unexpectedly cancel their show that's all about building things. But the show must go on and Big Blue and his furry gang of hearty understudies throw on their costume pig noses and leap on stage to do the show anyway! They build words, they build houses and they even build sandwiches! The show is also full of surprises. There's a talking box. There's the Flying Brick-o-Leen-O family of acrobatic bricks. And there's also a house made of sticks and one of straw that looks like French fries!

Pinky: That sounds fantastic! What themes or "lessons" can children (and adults, too!) take away from this performance?
David: The big idea is that building isn't just something you do with a hammer. When you spell a word and get all the letters in the right order you're building; when you make a sandwich and add all the things you like, you're building. In a way, the puppets are building the show even as you watch it. It's all about building things, but the things that get built might not be what you expect. It's a fun way to learn and fuel every child's imagination!

Pinky: After kids see the show, how can they create a similar show at home for their family?
David: Just as our puppets stand in for the Pigs, the kids can use almost any stuffed animal they have at home to re-tell the story. And they can use the ideas in the show every time they are building other things in their lives. When they make the bed, when they get dressed, when they play blocks they can do a version of the things they saw Big Blue and the other puppets do.

To find out more, visit the Please Touch Playhouse online!

Monday, December 7, 2009

Hide & Seek of the Week

This week's Collections object is Mego Batman action figure! Introduced in the early 1970s, Mego’s Batman was the first ever Batman action figure. The original version had a removable mask. Our Batman is from 1974 and has a molded mask.

Put on your looking eyes and see if you can find it during your next visit! For more info about Hide and Seek of the Week, visit here.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Art to celebrate the Holiday Season!

Please Touch Museum's Program Room has some new activities to help usher in the holiday season!

At our 'Shaving Cream Paint' activity, kids can create their own paintings using a unique type of paint, a mixture of shaving cream, glue, and liquid water color paint. The glue added to the shaving cream makes it more viscous and thick, making it easier to use as a painting medium and enabling it to dry nicely in place.

'Tracks in the Snow' uses the same paint mixture as Shaving Cream Paint, except in this activity kids can use it to create their own winter landscapes on construction paper. Once they make their snowy patch, kids can use animal toys to make animal prints and tracks, to create a unique and beautiful nature scene.

Continued from November's programming, kids can create a card for someone they love at our 'Holiday Cards and Mail Art' activity. We emphasize the importance of staying in touch with families and friends especially during this holiday season. As we play and create we are aiding in school readiness. This activity acts as a basic introduction to the mail system by showing our little visitors how to write and address a letter. In addition, we practice memory recall by remembering what you liked most about your visit!

We do hope you'll come see us in the Program Room this holiday season to take part in our open-ended, child directed, and process driven art experiences!

Happy Holidays!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

November Fun Recap

Time flies when you're having fun... and we had SO much fun in the Program Room in the month of November!

Visitors had a chance to create quilt mosaics, which involves cutting pieces of paper into different shapes and designs then pasting them onto multicolored construction paper. We learned a lot about color, shape, and pattern. We also played with crayon and watercolor resists and saw how these two materials interact with each other. It was loads of fun!

And as you know, keeping in touch with friends and family is important, especially during the upcoming holiday season. We learned about the mail system by practicing how to write and address a letter. "Mail Art" and "Holiday Card" activities will continue through December in the Program Room,
so please come visit us and create your own! See you soon!

Hide & Seek of the Week

This week's Collections object is a Centennial Teacup! This white porcelain teacup dates all the way back to 1876! It features George Washington's portrait on one side and "A Memorial of the Centennial 1876" on the other.

Put on your looking eyes and see if you can find it during your next visit! For more info about Hide and Seek of the Week, click here.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Hide & Seek of the Week

This week's Collection object is the Fisher Price classic Snoopy Sniffer! The very first Snoopy Sniffer was introduced in 1938 and was recently reintroduced in 2005 to celebrate Fisher Price's 75th anniversary. When Snoopy Sniffer is pulled along all four legs move, his tail wags and he makes a "woof-woof" sound!

Put on your looking eyes and see if you can find it during your next visit! For more info about Hide and Seek of the Week, click here.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Nancy Kolb Retires

Please Touch Museum's President and Chief Executive Officer, Nancy Kolb, retired on Friday, November 20 after 21 years as the museum's leader. Nancy had a lot to say about what her retirement means for her, the museum and its visitors. Read on for more!

Pinky: Hi Nancy! We're going to miss you at Please Touch! How did you decide you were ready to retire?
Nancy: This has been a long journey to get us here [Memorial Hall], it took 11 years! I'm leaving on a pretty high note and am turning it over to someone that's been here just as long and whose skill set better matches what the museum needs now.
But, I’m still going to be around. They aren't getting rid of me, that's for sure! Please Touch Museum will always have my heart. How could you not love a job where you ride a carousel and have a serious conversation with a three year old?

Pinky: What has your time at Please Touch Museum taught you?
Nancy: The museum has taught me the importance of a creative environment where everyone can be successful. I have one of the most remarkable staffs and it took the board, the staff [particularly the visiting staff], proper funding, our members and a good investment bank to get where we are today. We all have had a shared vision and that’s the key element in all of this.

Pinky: What will you miss the most about your time at Please Touch?
Nancy: I'm going to miss the kids and the carousel. I try to go on at least once a day! My time with the children is precious to me. I have a wonderful time conversing with them and their want to have fun is joyous! Whether I'm here or whether I’m not, they will be here. And I'll be back to talk to them from time to time.

Pinky: The carousel's my favorite too! What are your plans after you retire?
Nancy: I'm not sure what I'm going to do when I leave here. I'll spend more time with my grandchildren, work on my golf game, learn Spanish and do the inevitable traveling. Fun is a core value in the museum and part of my life.

Pinky: Thanks for talking with me today Nancy! You will be greatly missed and I hope you visit soon and ride the carousel with me and my puppet pals!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Now on display: The Enchanted Colonial Village!

Please Touch Museum kicks off the holiday season with a trip to the village-- The Enchanted Colonial Village!

Millions of families in the 1960s and 70s took holiday trips to Lit Brothers Department Store in Center City to shop and visit the Enchanted Colonial Village. For over 40 years, it has been a staple in Philadelphia and continues to delight children and adults alike. Designed by Lit Brothers display designer, Thomas Comerford, the Village was built by a German toy firm specifically for the department store. It is a 3/4 life-size display, which originally depicted 18 scenes of a small colonial hamlet preparing for the holidays. After Lit Brothers closed in 1977, the Sun Oil Company (Sunoco) bought the display, but was unable to find a new home for the Village. In '82, it was restored by Williamson Trade School of Media, PA and given to Longwood Gardens for their holiday celebration.

After a few other stops in the late 80's and 90's, Please Touch Museum purchased the Village for $1 in the year 2000 and restored the remaining eight scenes. To this day, the Enchanted Colonial Village provides families with a glimpse into the past, while giving them a chance to share their favorite childhood memories!

I recently talked to Milton Boone, Exhibit Technician Extraordinaire at Please Touch about the Village. Read on for more...

Pinky: So how long does it take to put up the Village every holiday season?
Milton: It usually takes about two weeks to get everything in the right place and set up all of the accessories.

What is the Village made of?
Milton: Mostly wood. The buildings are all made of wood. Even the people figures are made of wood and paper and painted. A lot of it has been updated... most of the figures have new technology inside to make them move. A lot of the eyeballs had to be replaced. Oh, and a lot of the clothing was updated, too!

And what do you like most about the Village?
Milton: I am always amazed by how many people remember seeing it for the first time at Lits and how much they enjoy it! Some visitors will even point out if something looks wrong- like a mechanism isn't working the way they remember it! It's a great holiday tradition.

Be sure to stop by and see this Philadelphia tradition before January 3, 2010! Happy Holidays!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Hide & Seek of the Week

This week's Collections object is Bob the Teenage Boy Doll! Bob, along with Suzette the Teenage doll, were sold exclusively in W.T. Grant stores during the 1950's as a less expensive version of Uneeda's wildly popular line of Tinyteen dolls.

Put on your looking eyes and see if you can find it during your next visit! For more info about Hide and Seek of the Week, click here.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Celebrating Georgia O’Keeffe's Birthday

This Sunday, November 15th, Please Touch Museum will be celebrating the birthday of artist Georgia O'Keeffe!

Georgia O'Keeffe was born in Wisconsin in 1887 and was one of the most influential American painters of the 20th century. O'Keefe is mostly known for her numerous colorful paintings of flowers and other natural objects. Despite the natural focus of her artwork, her painting was not always purely representational, as she would often experiment with style and color to transform these natural objects into powerful and unpredictable abstract shapes.

In our Program Room, kids can see examples of Ms. O'Keefe's artwork and create their own watercolor paintings at our 'Paint a Flower' activity. This style of painting offers kids a chance to create their own representational paintings, which encourages development of their ability to make connections between images in paintings and real objects in the world, while additionally offering them a chance to experiment with different art materials, colors, and shapes.

We hope you’ll join us in our Program Room on Sunday for lots of artistic fun!

To learn more about the artist, visit the Georgia O'Keeffe Museum's website.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

2009 Great Friend to Kids Awards

Did you know Please Touch Museum honors very special people every single year with its Great Friend to Kids (GFTK) Awards? 2009 marks the 14th Annual GFTK Awards and I am so excited to share the winners with you!

All of these individuals have made outstanding contributions to enriching the lives of children. They have inspired, served, educated, and entertained kids of all ages, and by recognizing their efforts Please Touch Museum hopes to inspire others to make similar efforts in the community.

Drum roll please. . . .

The 2009 GFTK Award winners are:

Phillie Phanatic
Anne Hamilton
Shire Pharmaceuticals
Cordella Hauser
Tom Toscani

The Great Friend to Kids Award was initiated in 1991 by the Association of Children's Museums to honor individuals who have made outstanding contributions toward strengthening education for children. National Great Friend to Kids Award winners include Fred Rogers and Marian Wright Edelman. Please Touch began presenting its own award in 1996 to coincide with the museum’s 20th birthday. Most recently, Nancy Kolb was presented with the Great Friend to Kids Lifetime Achievement Award on October 3, 2008.

Want to learn more? Click here!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Hide & Seek of the Week

This week's Collections object is a 1983 Row Boat Smurf! Smurfs were created by Belgian cartoonist, Peyo in 1958. However, these little blue creatures didn't gain widespread popularity until the creation of the 1980s Hanna-Barbera Productions cartoon The Smurfs.

Put on your looking eyes and see if you can find it during your next visit! For more info about hide and seek of the week, click here.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Fall Fun in the Program Room

Now that November is in full swing, be sure to stop by the Program Room for loads of Fall Fun activities!

Kids can experiment with an interesting art process at our “Crayon and Watercolor Resists” activity. Use wax crayons to create designs on a piece of paper and then paint over them with watercolor paint! Since wax is water resistant, the paint will only absorb into the paper around the colored designs, creating an interesting and beautiful pattern. It’s tons of fun!

The “Quilt Mosaic” activity lets children utilize square and triangular tiles, pieces of paper, and other collage elements to create their own unique ‘quilts’ on sheets of construction paper. Did you know Quilt making has a long history in America? It was a popular form of folk art for the first generations of our country, and continues to be practiced today! Quilting is also a good way to reuse something that might have otherwise been thrown away. Can you think of other art forms that can use recycled materials?

Here's a sample masterpiece from one of our visitors:

Get into the holiday spirit by participating in our “Holiday Cards and Mail Art activity!” Blank greeting cards and envelopes are used as a canvas and turned into beautiful masterpieces. Celebrating holidays is an important part of family life, and this activity gives kids a creative way to participate and learn about the importance and fun of sharing special time with their families.

If you enjoy the activities you find in the program room and want to take what you learned home with you, our Kids Store has a great selection of arts and crafts materials to choose from. The Kids Store items of the month are “Stone By Stone” and “Mosaic Clock Kit,” two exciting activities that emulate the art of ancient mosaics!

So come by our Program Room this month and celebrate the coming holidays, the fall season in which they happen, and your family to share them with!

Monday, November 2, 2009

Hide & Seek of the Week

I hope everyone had a great Halloween! It's Monday and that means it's time for Hide and Seek of the Week!

This week's Collections piece is a 1981 Topps Tug McGraw Baseball Card. McGraw joined the Philadelphia Phillies in 1974 as one of their most reliable relief pitchers. In the 1980 World Series against the Kansas City Royals, McGraw struck out Willie Wilson to clinch the Phillies first World Series Title.

Try and find it during your next visit! For more info about hide and seek of the week, click here.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Happy Halloween!

Hey Everyone! I want to wish you all a safe and fun Halloween!

Do you like my costume? I'm a mummy! Me and my friend Buster are very excited to trick-or-treat tomorrow. Hopefully we'll see everyone in their costumes tomorrow at Please Touch Museum!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Introducing: Hide & Seek at Please Touch Museum

Do you know what one of my new favorite games to play at Please Touch Museum is? I'll give you a hint. You have to look up, down and all around…give up yet?
It's Hide and Seek of the Week!

Hide and Seek of the Week invites kids and their grown-ups to actively engage their curiosity and imagination, all the while encouraging our young audience to engage with the museum's ever-growing collection of objects. Part of what makes Please Touch Museum so unique is that we actively collect and display objects that reflect the work of childhood-play! Our Collection consists of over 12,000 objects, the majority of which are toys. We collect toys, not just because they're fun, but more importantly because they guide play, spark the imagination and encourage critical thinking.

Our objects not only provide a simple introduction to museum collections, but provide kids a tangible and relatable link to begin understanding the differences and similarities among cultures and time periods. Collections support and encourage kids and their grown-ups to connect and talk with one another by using toys as a jumping board. "When I was a little…," "What was your favorite toy?” or "One year for my birthday…"

So put on your looking eyes and getting ready to search high and low for the new Hide and Seek of the Week!

Hide and Seek of the Week features are located throughout the gallery floor at the bottom of the Today's Fun Signs. Check out these cool past Hide and Seek of the Week items:

Monday, October 26, 2009

Healthy Lifestyles, Healthy Eating and Safe Halloween

Hey guys!

October is our “Healthy Lifestyles, Healthy Eating and Safe Halloween” month presented by PECO! While Halloween candy is something to look forward to (you can even come trick-or-treat with us at the museum on October 31st!) it’s a good month for kids to learn that healthy food can be delicious, too. If they practice making good choices today, they are more likely to follow a healthier lifestyle into adulthood!

Just look at our on-site food options in the Please Taste Cafe! It doesn’t sacrifice flavor for nutrition even though their wholesome meals will energize you for more playtime in our exhibits.

I sat down with Scott Swiger, the general manager on-site for Max & Me Catering, and asked him a few questions about the food in our Cafe.

Pinky: So what’s special about the food in the Please Taste Cafe?

Scott: We try to emphasize healthy eating without limiting options. So, for instance, we have the choice of whole wheat pasta and even our soft pretzels have a higher whole wheat percentage than most. We also have fresh fruit and Kashi snacks. The one thing we don’t have is fried foods. Our kitchen doesn’t even have a fryer! And you can always follow up with a tasty dessert. We have everything from ice-cream sandwiches to frozen yogurt to one of our best-selling cookies. It’s gluten, dairy and egg free! We do have soda, but also a wide selection of juices, including Froose!, an organic, fiber-enriched juice that comes in delicious flavors like “Perfect Pear.”

Pinky: Is the Cafe parent-friendly?

Scott: Absolutely! We have some delicious salads and all our pasta is made to order. So while an eight-year old may want his pasta with cheese sauce or just plain butter, mom or dad can get it with all kinds of fresh vegetables.

And, to make sure everyone can enjoy their meal, all prepared foods are nut-free.

After you finish your meal, you can go visit the Supermarket in our City Capers exhibit, where kids can decide for themselves what’s healthy and delicious. Then they can go to the nearby kitchen and let their imaginations create whatever they like from their recent “purchase.”

It’s important to learn that nutrition is important and that healthy food is yummy. That way kids grow accustomed to loving good food at an early age! After all, one of the museum’s mottos is “The choices we make today create our future.”

Pinky: Thanks for all the great tips, Scott! Well, I’m going to go get a snack, but I hope to see you soon! Stay healthy!

For more info, visit

Friday, October 23, 2009

What is big and bright and spins all day...?

It's the Woodside Park Dentzel Carousel!

Today I'm excited to tell you about one of my favorite parts of Please Touch Museum. And who better to tell us about the historic Dentzel Carousel and its wonderful story than the museum's Curator of Collections, Stacey Swigart? Read on to get the full scoop from Stacey…

"For many years, Please Touch Museum planned to grow into a big museum with lots of really amazing things to play with and have fun. We wanted to build a shiny new carousel with many different characters that children (and their Grown-Ups!) could ride. But then we found out that a historic carousel-- one that was built and operated in Philadelphia-- was available if someone was willing to bring it back to spin once more. That carousel was no other than the original, historic Woodside Park Dentzel Carousel!

As Curator of Collections, I was lucky to get the job of finding out all of the history of the carousel and to figure out how we were going to get it spinning again. I spent many hours researching Woodside Park in West Philadelphia, and learned that it was built in 1897 as a final stop for the Fairmount Park Transportation Company trolley line that traveled through Fairmount Park and dropped people off at Woodside. It was a wonderful amusement park with lots of rides like roller coasters and a Ferris Wheel.

When Woodside Park closed in 1955, all of the rides were dismantled and either sent to the trash, or sold for other amusement parks. The Dentzel Carousel bounced around for a couple of years: From Rockaway Park (New York), Lambertville Music Circus (New Jersey) and then the Smithsonian Institution bought it and put it in storage. Almost 35 years later, they gave all the parts and pieces to the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission who turned around and loaned it to Please Touch Museum! In 2006, the restoration process began and finally, in 2008, after 40 years in storage, the carousel was back in operation and found a new home at Please Touch Museum!"

You can find historic images and more info about the Woodside Park Dentzel Carousel here.

Be sure to take a spin on your next visit!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Celebrating Birthdays!

Please Touch Museum is celebrating the birthdays of two very important artists this week!

Today, October 20, we celebrated the work of Crockett Johnson. Mr. Johnson is probably most famous to kids as the author and illustrator of the Harold and the Purple Crayon series of books. The first Harold book was published in 1955 and since then he has become an emblematic figure of children's literature, one of its most recognizable and beloved characters. Harold's adventures are wonderful depictions of the elaborate dramas and complex imaginative play that can arise from simple materials.

Mr. Johnson was also the creator of the comic strip Barnaby, which was a very popular comic in the 1940s and 1950s about a 5-year-old boy named Barnaby and his friends and family.

To celebrate the legacy of this wonderful author, some of PTM's artists created their own stories at our "Purple Crayon Drawing" activity. Here are some examples of their great work:

And on Thursday, October 22, we will be celebrating the birthday of artist Robert Rauschenberg! Rauschenberg was an American artist born in Texas in 1925. He was a pioneering artist in the use of non-traditional materials and found objects in art, especially in his combines. By using objects from the everyday world in his art, Rauschenberg gave ordinary things a new and interesting meaning.

On Thursday, to celebrate this important artist, kids can explore their own creativity and create their own mixed media artworks in our Program Room! Be sure to stop by!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Please Touch Museum's Wild Rumpus

Did you know Please Touch Museum used to house a Where the Wild Things Are exhibit?

I sat down with Laura Foster, Please Touch Museum's Executive Director, who recalls the very day museum staff met with Maurice Sendak himself to plan the wonderful exhibit. Read on to get the full scoop!

Pinky: So how did all of this come about?
Laura: In the mid 1990's, the museum worked with Maurice Sendak to develop and design an exhibit based on Where the Wild Things Are, and some of Sendak's other books. We used Sendak's original artwork as backdrops to set the scenes, adding interactive elements such as Max's bed and the boat Max sails to get to the Wild Things; a jungle made of vines to swing on, and child activated "wild rumpus" sound effects. The exhibit followed the narrative of the story so that children could act it out and the entire exhibit was developed by Please Touch exhibits staff in consultation with Maurice.

Pinky: That sounds like so much fun! I love Sendak!
Laura: It really was! We actually made regular trips to Sendak's home in Connecticut to show him the plans as they evolved. The exhibit was also developed in collaboration with the Rosenbach Museum and Library, which has the original artwork. Maurice even met with our staff the day of the exhibit opening party to discuss his creative process. I still remember the excitement that day in our theater where the staff gathered to meet him!

Pinky: How long was the exhibit part of Please Touch Museum?
Laura: The exhibit opened on April 29, 1995 and remained at the museum until we moved to Memorial Hall in fall 2008.

Pinky: Thanks for all the great info, Laura!

Spike Jonze's film adaptation of Sendak’s Where the Wild Things Are opens in movie theaters tomorrow; a highly anticipated project that has been in development for almost a decade! And to celebrate the legacy of this wonderful book, Please Touch Museum will host its own Wild Rumpus! Check out all the details below and be sure to stop by!

All day fun in the Program Room:
- "Make a Wild Thing" open-art activity
- Where the Wild Things Are storytimes at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m.
- Wild Rumpus Dance Party at Noon & 2 p.m. in Hamilton Hall

Let the wild rumpus start!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

"Fall Fun" Creative Dramatics

Hi everyone! Have you ever imagined what it would be like to be a farmer, picking your apples from the orchard for the coming harvest? Or a tree swaying in the fall breeze, dropping all of your colorful leaves before winter? With the "Fall Fun" program here at Please Touch, you can do just that!

"Fall Fun" is part of the Creative Dramatics playtime program here at the museum and it allows kids to use their imagination by exploring different fall themes through open-ended, dramatic play activities. Creative Drama activities complement a variety of learning styles and support Please Touch Museum’s "learning through play" philosophy by encouraging imagination, physical movement, improvisation, creativity, and cooperation.

In our "Fall Fun" program, Kids can discover how animals and trees prepare for winter by interacting with different objects and props, explore and act out the story of the first Thanksgiving and how families get ready for this annual feast or imagine what it's like to be a farmer as you pick your harvest and race to complete your chores before winter.

"Fall Fun" provides opportunities to open up your imagination through creative, pretend play activities. Many of these activities can also be done after you leave the museum and can be the perfect opportunity to "learn through play" at home by encouraging creativity and improvisation!

So as the weather gets cooler and the leaves start to fall, come to Please Touch Museum and let your imagination wander in our "Fall Fun" Creative Dramatics program! Check the "Today's Fun" signs on the gallery floor for performances.

Here are some book suggestions that you're sure to 'fall over!'

Wild Child by Lynne Plourde
Fall is Not Easy by Marty Kelly
How Do You Know When It’s Fall? By Allan Fowler
The Little Old Lady Who Was Not Afraid of Anything by Linda Williams
The Night Before Thanksgiving by Natasha Wing
Autumn: An Alphabet Acrostic by Steven Schnur

Monday, October 12, 2009

Pinky's Pals: PTM and Puppets!

Today I want to tell you about the Puppet Pals at Please Touch Museum. The Puppet Pals are all very special. I should know because I’m one of them!

People of all ages, especially children, enjoy puppets because we offer an element of magic. Puppets personify make believe—we cannot exist without someone imagining us to life. While people sometimes disagree on where exactly puppets originated, evidence indicates we have been around for millennia throughout the globe! People have made puppets out of all sorts of things: animal hide, wood, clay, fabric, paper, foam, etc. An easy puppet to make at home is the classic sock puppet. Just take a sock, put it on your hand, and use markers to decorate it. Instant puppet! Remember, your hand is a puppet without a sock, too. Everywhere you travel, two puppets go with you!

Here at PTM, our Playhouse Theater performers are puppeteers as well as actors. They use puppets to delight kids, and to nurture imagination, improvisation and pretending skills. While most kids love puppets, sometimes children can be wary or frightened of puppets, the same way they may be scared of an unfamiliar pet. PTM puppeteers are skilled at gauging a child’s comfort level with puppets and will adjust an interaction as needed. Many PTM puppet appearances are listed on the Today’s Fun signs, but often puppets pop up unannounced for a visit on the gallery floor. So, keep your peepers peeled for Pinky (that’s me!) and other PTM Puppet Pals! Here are a couple of my friends that you might see:

Winston is a “wizard in training” but is already an expert on making friends with PTM visitors! With his trusty wand by his side, Winston is sure to make any PTM visit even more magical.

A little grizzly and a lot green, PTM’s Pickle likes to nap and take it easy. Tickle his furry feet, however, and he’s sure to give you a giggle.

PTM’s in-house physician, Dr. Penny makes her rounds in the PTM hospital. She reminds kids to wash hands often and that the baby patients in the ward need love more than anything else!

Penelope the Princess of Play, Winston the Wizard’s little sister, works hard to be a good princess, but still needs more practice. Her favorite color is purple and she is perfecting her curtsy. Princess Penelope enjoys dancing and talking to other princesses at the museum.

See you soon!!

If you can't make it to the museum, Please Touch Museum's Play Patrol and Pinky will be at the Michener Art Museum for Jim Henson's Fantastic World exhibit on Friday, November 6th from 6-9 p.m. with a fun "Make a Puppet" activity.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Fantastic Black Light Theater Show Premieres TOMORROW!

Please Touch Museum will boldly glow where it has never gone before with the debut of this illuminating new theater show!

Fly/Fishing, a Black Light Show presented by PECO, is a fantastic tale of a little girl who genuinely learns the old adage 'there is no place like home.' On stage October 10 through December 6, 2009, "Fly/Fishing" will be the first Please Touch Playhouse show to utilize black light as a major storytelling element!

The show incorporates elements of fantasy, props and puppets to take the audience on a journey to the most interesting of places. The audience follows Quinshaya, a four-year-old girl, who goes on a quest to find her lost plush bunny rabbit. Through the magic of black light, she travels from the bottom of the sea to the tops of the clouds, flies with the whales and swims with the birds, until she lands in the most surprising place of all. It is a tale of loyalty, friendship and having a never-give-up attitude.

Showtimes are Monday-Saturday 11 a.m., 1 p.m. and 3 p.m.; Sunday 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. The show is FREE with museum admission. Please check our online calendar for the most up-to-date listings.

Here's some recommended reading that goes along the themes of the show:

- Flying by Kevin Luthardt
- Dream Big (an Olivia book) by Ian Falconer
- Only in Dreams: A Bedtime Story (Julius!) by Paul Frank Industries
- Cat Dreams by Ursula K. Le Guin
- The Berenstain Bears and the Bad Dream by Stan and Jan Berenstain
- Dreams by Ezra Jack Keats

And after you see the show in the Playhouse, be sure to check out these fun activities and info about the stuff that dreams are made of by clicking here!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

DesignPhiladelphia kicks off today!

Hello everyone! Remember when I told you about Please Touch Museum's participation in this year’s DesignPhiladelphia week? Well, it officially kicks off TODAY and I can't even begin to tell you how excited I am! The exhibit runs through Tuesday, October 13, 2009 and I wanted to give you a little sneak peek of what to expect. Below is a selection of some of the amazing hand-made dollhouses on display. Be sure to stop in before it’s too late!

The exhibit is a great way for kids to see that anyone can make art, as long as you let your imagination run wild! Dollhouses come in all kinds of shapes, colors and sizes, and there's no one specific way to create and decorate your dream house. Please Touch Museum's hands-on philosophy is colorfully exhibited in the highly innovative dollhouses children, adults, artists and students created. Creative thinking and exploration are promoted, and the exhibit is sure to inspire other kids and their grown-ups to get crafty at home and learn through play!

After viewing the DesignPhiladelphia exhibit, kids can create their own buildings in our Program Room! Some of the open-ended play opportunities include:

Building Houses with Books and Cards:
In this activity, kids can build structures and houses from two different sets of materials: Jumbo-sized playing cards and clips that hold them together so that kids can make elaborate houses of cards; or a stack of books and blocks, which kids can use as building objects in conjunction with the blocks to make their own imaginative buildings.

Architecture Blocks:
These are block sets that build famous buildings. The blocks are shaped like architectural pieces, as opposed to regular blocks, which resemble regular shapes. Although they contain the pieces to make the prescribed building, the activity is open-ended in that kids can use the blocks to create their own works of architecture.

For more information about DesignPhiladelphia, click here.

We're all about learning through play.

Join Pinky, one of Please Touch Museum's resident puppets, on an inside look into all the fun, educational things happening at Philly's Children's Museum. This blog is not just about what we do at the museum, but about the educational philosophy behind why we do what we do.