Thursday, January 28, 2010

Hide and Seek of the Week

In honor of Lewis Carroll’s birthday, this week’s Collections object is an Alice in Wonderland jigsaw puzzle! This 200 piece puzzle depicts French illustrator, Fernand Nathan’s, interpretation of Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland. Produced in 1981, this puzzle was sold at Fine Art Museums throughout the world.

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, January 27, 2010

Celebrating Lewis Carroll's Birthday

Did you know today was beloved author Lewis Carroll's birthday?

We here at Please Touch Museum were very excited to celebrate the birthday of Alice in Wonderland's author, Lewis Carroll! He was born on January 27th of 1832, which would make 2010 his 178th birthday.

Lewis Carroll was actually the pen name of Charles Lutwidge Dodgson, an Oxford graduate and a published academic in the fields of geometry and mathematical logic. His penchant for mathematical and logical puzzles greatly influenced his artistic work. He produced a large quantity of poetry and prose works throughout his lifetime, including the narrative poem The Hunting of the Snark and the novel Sylvie and Bruno, but it is for his 1865 story Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and its 1872 sequel, Through the Looking-Glass and What Alice Found There, that he is most well known.

Carroll's style was highly original in the field of children's literature at the time, and, along with the work of Edward Lear, was influential to the 'nonsense' school of verse. The story has influenced countless authors and artists since its publication and has been adapted for theater and film many times – most recently Tim Burton's forthcoming film, to be released on March 15th of this year. Alice's story, and its characters, have become culturally pervasive to the extent that they would be easily recognizable by someone who has never even read the story.

True to the literary spirit of this day, we celebrated in our brand new Story Castle! Some of our favorite characters from Carroll's book stopped by, too: The Mad Hatter, the Queen of Hearts, and Alice herself! We also read from Jon Sciezcka and Mary Blair’s adaptation of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, as Carroll's original text is quite long, and may be too advanced for some of our younger visitors.

You can also visit our Wonderland exhibit, to play and reenact some of your favorite scenes from this wonderful book.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Musical Playtimes

Here at Please Touch Museum, we make music in a lot of different ways. One fun way that we explore music is by putting together groups of instruments that are generally found together.

As you may know, February is "Junior Jazz" month at Please Touch Museum, so we will be having a "Jazz Café" in the Program Room made up of instruments that are typically found in jazz combos! There will be a little piano, a trumpet, a flute and, of course, lots of drums. Kids will have the opportunity to listen to some jazz music and play along, and even make up songs of their own! By doing this, they'll learn about the context surrounding different types of music, as well as hearing the differences between musical styles. Kids also be learning about how to produce different sounds and what different instruments look, feel and sound like-- all while having fun. It's the perfect example of how Please Touch Museum's mission of learning through play comes alive!

Besides exposure to different types of instruments and genres, music is important for early childhood education. Children learn by exploring the world around them, so music is a perfect introduction to math with emphasis on numbers and counting musical beats. Language and vocabulary skills are boosted as well when singing songs. In this particular music program, we will tie in geography and history by traveling around the world to explore music from other cultures. Making music is also one of the best ways to build our hand-eye coordination, self-expression, creativity, team work skills and foster self confidence and joy.

A great way that you can hold your own "jam session" at home after visiting the museum is by having a family band. You can use re-purposed objects like pots and pans and play along to different types of music, or just make up your own songs. Everyone can count off together and take turns singing verses, or you can all sing together-- however your band makes music, it's sure to be a harmonious experience for everyone!

On your next visit, be sure to check out all the different instruments and fun in the Program Room. Most Musical Playtimes take place Sundays, Mondays and Wednesdays at 2 p.m., with the exception of special performance days. For details, check the "Today's Fun" signs on the gallery floor.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Exploring Trees Inside and Out

We here at Please Touch Museum are very excited for the grand opening of the “Exploring Trees Inside Out” exhibit this Saturday, January 23!

Please Touch Museum will be hosting the traveling exhibit through May 2, 2010. Sponsored by Doubletree Hotels and the Arbor Day Foundation, this exhibit is designed to create a better understanding among children about the significant role trees play in the environment.

“Exploring Trees Inside and Out” features a variety of inventive and interactive activities that allow children to explore trees in a multi-sensory way never before possible. For example, children will be able to explore the “heart” of a tree trunk and move the “blood” of the tree up and down its “veins” or smell scents from various trees, then discover just a few of the many products we get from trees.

Please Touch Museum is very excited to host this exhibit because it follows our mission of creating learning opportunities through play. We hope this exhibit will help children learn some simple steps they can take at home to help conserve the earth's natural resources such as recycling materials or planting seeds to foster new growth.

During the exhibit's stay, there will be environmentally themed programming planned throughout the museum, specifically in our Program Room. Program Room art experiences will be based on the concept of creative re-use, with projects like postcard art with leaf stampers, creative re-use collages, and drawing from nature with recycled crayon cakes. The tools for these activities are made from recycled materials, such as artwork from other art activities in the creative re-use collages, or melted down remains of smaller used-up crayons for the crayon cakes.

Here are some great books to read at home with your children related to trees and the environment:
The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein
Michael Recycle by Ellie Bethel and Alexandra Colombo
The Lorax by Dr. Seuss.

For more information on Eaploring Trees Inside and Out visit:

Monday, January 18, 2010

Hide and Seek of the Week

This week's Collections object is the Globe-Trotters board game! Manufactured in the 1950s by Selchow & Righter Co., this board game allowed players to "visit" cities across the globe. The goal of the game was to visit as many cities throughout the world and make it back home first and with money to spare! Not only did this game encourage it’s players to learn world geography, but it also allowed them to learn basic information of countries and cities all around the world.

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, January 15, 2010

Martin Luther King, Jr. Day combines Art, Literacy and History

This upcoming Monday, January 18, we will be celebrating Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day by involving visitors in the collaborative process of creating a mural! Our visitors will learn how to cooperate and share with others. The day will be a meditation on the life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and an introduction for our young visitors to a significant historical figure.

Visitors will have a chance to create four different types of murals that honor Dr. King's legacy. The murals will focus on words and phrases that are meaningful to Martin Luther King and our mission here at Please Touch Museum. Painting about these words will promote self-expression and critical thinking skills. These concepts include CARING for others, LEARNING, and COMMUNITY service.
During this activity, we will create linguistic associations between a word and its meaning. When a child thinks of a word, there are certain connections we hope they will make. For example, the word CARING may be defined by a young child as the feeling of love or understanding for others.

The way that we personalize every child's experience and make it a significant one is by asking open-ended questions. Asking open-ended questions allows your child to think for themselves and cultivate a unique response.

For example, we might ask what does the word CARING mean to you? How do you CARE for others? How does CARING for others make you feel? Can you paint what the word CARING means to you? This method of focusing on one word can be used for any word your child is trying to add to their vocabulary and is a way to practice learning comprehension skills early on.

The last mural is about Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s famous "I have a dream" speech. We will highlight Dr. King as a man who spoke up for what was just and what he believed in. Our younger generation of leaders can begin to think about what is important to them personally and how they are capable of bringing about change. The children will paint in the clouds with what they dream about and what dreams they have for their futures.

We are looking forward to having a great day in the Program Room and hope you will be able to join us!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Story Castle Opening

Last Saturday, January 9, Please Touch Museum opened its newest programming space: the Story Castle!

Our friends Cinderella, the Jester, Winston the Wizard, and our newest friend, Sir Read-a-Lot were all there for the opening ceremony. In case you missed the celebration, here are a few of my favorite photos. And be sure to stop in the Story Castle on your next visit to Please Touch Museum as there’s different programming happening every day!

Sir Read-a-Lot conducts our first story time in the Story Castle. The first of many to come!

Winston the Wizard and the princess Cinderella helped our
visitors welcome the Story Castle.

The Story Castle’s trumpeting herald welcomes all – loudly.

Our friend the Jester has a lot of things in the air!

Monday, January 11, 2010

Hide and Seek of the Week

This week's Collections object is a Dorothy and Toto doll! Produced in 1974 by Mego, Dorothy and Toto were the first in a line of Wizard of Oz dolls and accessories. Dressed in her iconic blue and white gingham dress and ruby red shoes and carrying Toto in her basket, Dorothy is ready to set out to find the Emerald City. In addition to Dorothy and Toto, Mego also released The Tin Man, Scarecrow, Lion, Wicked Witch and Glinda the Good Witch dolls and an Emerald City playset.

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, January 8, 2010

Grand Opening of the Story Castle is tomorrow!

Tomorrow, Saturday, January 9 at Noon, Please Touch Museum will unveil its newest feature. . . .

The Story Castle!

We are over the moon about the opening of this very special, intimate programming space located in the museum's Kids Store. You can expect to see a variety of programming happening there seven days a week: story times, story telling, puppet pals, and special visits from our favorite storybook characters!

The Story Castle will provide kids with a smaller and quieter space to enjoy PTM’s interactive, dramatic, and storytime programming. While it is easily accessible from the gallery floor, it is tucked away in our Kids Store so that you and your child can enjoy a story and other programming in a calm, relaxed atmosphere.

Literacy skills are an important educational benchmark in young children, and the Story Castle will offer kids a chance to participate in PTM’s interactive literacy programming in an environment conducive to enhanced focus and concentration. It is never too early to read with your child and introduce them to books and reading, and engaging activities help to create the cognitive foundation that is necessary for a lifetime of learning.

I hope you can join me tomorrow at Noon for the grand opening celebration, which will feature storytimes every hour on the hour, plus special appearances by Cinderella and the Queen of Hearts, along with your favorite PTM puppet pals!

Monday, January 4, 2010

Louis Braille's Birthday

Today at Please Touch Museum we celebrated the birthday of Louis Braille, the inventor of the Braille alphabet system! Braille was born in Paris in 1809, and became blind at the age of three from an accident in his father’s workshop. He was an incredibly gifted student and, in addition, a widely recognized organist, for which he performed in churches across France.

Braille completed his invention of the Braille alphabet system in 1824 at the age of 15. The Braille Alphabet uses 26 unique arrangements of up to six raised dots which correspond to each of the letters of the alphabet, creating a way for the blind and visually impaired to read through tactile rather than visual sense. Louis Braille also created Braille systems for numbers and music.

To celebrate his birthday in our Program Room, visitors were introduced to the Braille system through special Braille alphabet cards and the book The Black Book of Colors by Menena Cottin and Rosana Faria, which invites children to imagine colors as someone with impaired vision may experience them. There was also an open activity table which presented a variety of activities designed to allow children to experiment with different tactile materials and sensory objects. In addition to the sensory learning experience, kids were also encouraged to think about and describe what they were feeling, exercising important linguistic and critical thinking functions.

Here is a picture of our special guest pianist Maurice from Overbrook School for the Blind, who played piano for our visitors in the Program Room:

He was awesome! Don't forget to check our online calendar before your next visit!

Hide & Seek of the Week

Happy New Year!

I hope you had a wonderful holiday season and got to ring in 2010 with lots of fun!

To kick off the new year, here's a great new collections item for our "Hide & Seek of the Week:" An old-school box of 24 Crayola Crayons!

Crayola Crayons were first introduced to young artists in 1903 by cousins Edwin Binney and C. Harold Smith. The name Crayola was created by combining the French words for chalk and oily. The Crayola factory has been located in Easton, PA since the early 1900s.

Put on your looking eyes and be sure to search for this fun collection item as you make your first visit of 2010 to Please Touch Museum! For more info on Hide & Seek of the Week, 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.