Tuesday, July 27, 2010

July 2010 in the Program Room!

Over the last month in the Program Room we've had a lot of activities and programs that reflect a favorite summer past time: travel!

Kids were able to make their own unique travel-themed artwork with "Painting with Vehicles"; each car has a different tread pattern, which makes for all kinds of road-worthy combinations. We also were able to use our imaginations to prepare for a fun journey with this month's Creative Dramatics program, "Take a Trip." Some pictures of this month's fun are posted below.

Are you taking a trip this summer?

Air Play!

Please Touch Museum is excited to announce a new addition to our Flight Fantasy exhibit! In this new activity, kids can explore the properties of airflow, using several Bernoulli Blowers and balls of different sizes, weights, and densities. While it may appear that the balls are hovering magically in the air, there are some very complex scientific principles at work. The balls are actually floating on concentrated air streams, which are generated by large fans and projected through flexible tubing. What do you think will happen if you change the direction of the air stream? Will the ball still float above it? What happens when you try to pull the ball out of the air stream? Do balls of different sizes and kinds float differently?

The new exhibit is based on the discoveries of a Dutch mathematician named Daniel Bernoulli. Bernoulli made many valuable contributions to the fields of fluid mechanics, probability, and statistics in the 18th century. One of his discoveries, named the Bernoulli Principle in his honor, exerts profound influence on the study of aerodynamics. You can see the implications of Bernoulli’s calculations about the movement of air in everything from a curveball to airplane design!

There are many different ways you can explore the properties of air and wind on your own at home. You can make your own air blower out of a 2 liter bottle, or make a windsock from an old t-shirt. You can even study basic aerodynamic principles by making a paper airplane.

Be on the lookout for even more brand new exhibits in the Flight Fantasy area, coming soon!

Monday, July 26, 2010

Hide and Seek of the Week

This week’s collections object is an Easy Bake Oven! Introduced in 1963 by Kenner, the Easy Bake Oven used two 100-watt light bulbs to “bake” specially formulated Betty Crocker cake mixes. Originally called “Safety Bake Oven” the name was quickly changed to reassure those unconvinced of the toy’s safety. While today’s Easy Bake Ovens resemble microwave ovens, the original design more closely resembled conventional ovens.

Put on your looking eyes and see if you can find it during your next visit! And while you are looking high and low, don’t forget to encourage curiosity by asking open-ended questions and engaging your child in the conversation. For example: What’s your favorite food? What food do like to help make? Or simply allow your child to help you in the kitchen when you get home!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

National Carousel Day!

This Sunday, July 25th, Please Touch Museum is celebrating National Carousel Day with special programming designed to celebrate the joy and beauty of our own Woodside Park Dentzel Carousel!

Our carousel was created and built by the Dentzel Carousel Company of the Germantown section of Philadelphia. It originally operated at Woodside Park-a West Philadelphia amusement park located less than 10 blocks from Memorial Hall. While several animals date back to 1908, the carousel first debuted at Woodside Park in 1924. After the park closed in 1955, the carousel spent a short time at the Lambertville Music Circus before being put in storage for the next 40 years. In 2005, Please Touch Museum acquired the carousel on a long-term loan from the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission and undertook the task of restoring it.

On Sunday, we will be celebrating the restoration and grandeur of our Woodside Park Dentzel Carousel with special programming centered in and around the carousel house. The day’s programming is intended to highlight major themes (music, art, animals) associated with carousels.

Kids will be able to create their own carousel inspired paintings alongside Artist in Residence, Lauren Nemchik. Nemchik is a Philadelphia artist whose works are based by digital cell phone photographs. Nemchik used a series of cell phone photos of our carousel to recreate the three dimensional experience of riding the carousel into a two dimensional medium of paint and canvas. The highlight of the day will be the 2:00 unveiling of Nemchik’s painting, Carousel Derby, inspired by the Woodside Park Dentzel Carousel’s lead horse. I can't wait!

Monday, July 19, 2010

Texture in the Program Room

In the month of July, Please Touch Museum welcomed Child Life Specialist Interns from the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) to learn about our mission of learning through play. PTM’s Staff partners with the interns and teaches them how they can help to bring learning opportunities back to the hospital with them.

The interns had the chance to interact with our visitors while Painting with Emergency Vehicles in the Program Room. They helped to familiarize the children with emergency vehicles, the places these vehicles bring you to and explain that the people driving them are there to help. It was a lot of fun and we learned a lot too!

Learning About Elements of Art Through Play: Texture refers to the way that the surface of an object appears and can also refer to the way in which different elements of artwork come together to create an overall texture. Children build up their spatial awareness by interacting and playing with the world around them. Invite your child to explore texture and their surroundings by printing with toy cars, trucks or other vehicles. Using non-traditional materials provides a creative outlet for your child to learn about new painting tools and to play with texture.

Here's how you can bring the experience into your home:

Painting with Vehicles VROOM VROOM!

• 3-5 Toy Vehicles that can roll
• Baking Sheet to hold paint
• Sheet of Paper
• Newspaper or tablecloth to cover workspace

• Place newspaper or table cloth over surface you are going to use to paint on

• Place a small amount of paint (about 2-4 tablespoons) onto the baking sheet and spread around to create a thin layer of paint. When printing remember the less paint you use, the better quality print you will come out with.

• Encourage your child to choose which vehicle they would like to paint with. Ask open-ended questions about the vehicle they have chosen: What kind of vehicle is it? Who drives in it? What kind of wheels does it have? Does each of the wheels have a texture that you can see? Can you feel the texture? Do you want to paint with this car/truck?

• Invite your child to drive the vehicle through the paint then drive the vehicle around their paper. Feel free to make different shapes, zig zag and move in different directions
• Repeat the process with all your vehicles and overlap using different colors to create a vibrant layered vehicle print!

• After you are all done printing encourage your child to help with the clean up process. Allowing your child to be part of the whole process fosters your child’s self-esteem and competency in performing independent tasks. We always say “A part of play is learning to put your things away”.

• Don’t forget to have fun and as always it’s okay to get a little messy!

Hide and Seek of the Week

This week’s collections object is the game of Cootie! This bug inspired game was first introduced by the W.H. Schaper Manufacturing Company in 1948. Each game set included enough cootie parts (bodies, heads, legs, antennae and mouths) to construct four complete Cooties. The first player to completely assembly their Cootie win!

Put on your looking eyes and see if you can find it during your next visit! And while you are looking high and low, don’t forget to encourage curiosity by asking open-ended questions and engaging your child in the conversation. For example: What is your favorite bug? How does a spider crawl? Or simply go outside and see how many bugs you can find!

Feel the Rhythm, Ring the Chimes, Come On Folks, its Rainforest Time!

Please Touch Museum is happy to welcome back Rainforest Rhythm! The Rainforest Rhythm exhibit has been in hibernation since November 2009, when it was moved to allow room for the annual Enchanted Colonial Village display, which was itself followed by “Exploring Trees: Inside and Out”. And now, after a restful 8 months, Rainforest Rhythm is back!

In Rainforest Rhythm, kids are provided with a fun and adventurous landscape to explore. There are musical instruments and percussion installed throughout the exhibit, which invite everyone to participate in a jungle jam session. These instruments, like the animal sound organ and the orchestra of bells hidden high up in the canopy, combine music and active, physical play.

Rainforest Rhythm is also home to Storybook Cottage. In this play space, which is ideally suited for younger and smaller kids, your favorite stories and fairy tales can come to life. By recreating their favorite stories in a fun and playful environment, kids are enriching their experience of reading and contributing to a life-long love of storytelling.

Rainforest Rhythm will be open until the fall, when it will once again be retired to make way for the seasonal appearance of the Enchanted Colonial Village Display.

Come visit and explore and make some noise!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Gram Adele Returns!

On Friday, July 16, Please Touch Playhouse opens Gram Adele, one of my favorite shows! The show runs until September 6, 2010. I had the chance to talk with David Hutchman, Theater Experience Manager about the show and can’t wait to see all the fun bubble over!

Pinky: What's this show all about?
David: GRAM ADELE is a puppet show all about a wise, old magical woman who has a mysterious pot that cooks all by itself when you sing the magic song. Trouble ensues when her helper, Silly D, makes the magic pot cook even though he doesn’t know how to make it stop.

Pinky: Do the kids in the audience get to do anything in the show?
David: Well, none of our shows at Please Touch Museum let you just sit there. Where’s the fun in that? Kids in the audience always get into the act! In this show, we ask for someone to come on stage and hold up a very important sign that Silly D needs to read. We ask them to help us sing the magic pot song, ask them all kinds of questions that we need the answers to and they even get to tell Silly D, usually very loudly, that he hasn’t made the magic soup pot stop cooking at all, even though he thinks he has. We cover them with rich, creamy soup and ask them to help the King come up with ideas to make it stop. At the end of the show, Gram Adele even asks them to help her figure out if Silly D is telling the truth or not. Boy, they get to do all kinds of stuff!

Pinky: What themes or "lessons" can children (and adults, too!) take away from this performance?
David: The big one is that you should own up to the things you did. Be responsible for the mess you made and, most importantly, tell the truth. In this story, Silly D finally gets asked if he is telling the truth about making the magic soup pot cook and he does everything he can to keep from answering the question honestly. He doesn’t want to be responsible for the things he’s done. But Gram Adele then asks the kids in the audience. Of course, the kids know what Silly D should have said.

Pinky: After kids see the show on stage, can they create a similar performance at home with and for their family?
David: Of course! The soup pot in the show is really just a bubble machine. If you don’t happen to have one of those lying around you can always just use the bubble solution and bubble wand you can buy at a lot of stores. Just ask your big person first before you fill the house with bubbles. The puppets are from Italy and are all really old. But you can use your own dolls for all the characters. You can even tell the story acting out all the parts yourself! You can play Gram Adele by just putting a scarf on your head. Or you can be Silly D, all you need is a funny hat! You and your friends can act like all the folks in the story!

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

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Bringing Get Up and Grow on the road

Here at Please Touch Museum, we’re all about making healthy choices fun! If you’ve visited before, you know all about our ABC Games, and maybe you’ve even already signed up for our Stroller in the Park event. But did you know that Please Touch Museum also brings our healthy lifestyles initiative out to schools and community organizations? That’s right! Our Portable Play Programs bring a little taste of the museum out to your classroom, camp or library. I got the chance to go out on a visit with Claudia Setubal, Program Coordinator at Please Touch Museum, and I learned so much!

One of the cool things about Portable Play is that the workshop themes are based on the exhibits you know and love here at PTM. Each workshop has lots of different educational components, like story time, free play, creative dramatics, art activities, and lots more! I went with Claudia to the City Capers workshop she did last week.

In the museum, City Capers is the home of the Shoprite supermarket, the CHOP medical center and the Busy Build construction zone. The City Capers Portable Play workshop uses a play kit filled with toys, games, and books reflect the themes in the exhibit. The workshop teaches kids about healthy habits, like eating fruits and vegetables, moving your body, and getting checkups at the doctor’s office. Each component of Portable Play is designed to meet Pennsylvania’s early learning standards, focusing on areas like gross motor skills, expressive language, healthy and safe practices, and literacy comprehension.

The workshop was so much fun! We read Eric Carle’s From Head to Toe and learned how to do some animal-inspired yoga poses. It was so hard to keep my balance sometimes! My favorite pose was the cat pose. Meow! We also played with so many different toys- I got to wear a doctor’s coat and a stethoscope and listen to my heartbeat.

I can’t wait to try out a new Portable Play workshop. Maybe I’ll go see Flight Fantasy next? For more information about Please Touch Museum’s Portable Play Programs, click here.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Hide and Seek of the Week

This week’s collections object is a Etch A Sketch! This mechanical drawing toy works by using a two knobs to control the vertical and horizontal movement of a stylus across a field of aluminum powder. The very first Etch A Sketch rolled off of the Ohio Art Co. production line on July 12, 1960! Over the past 50 years, there have been several versions of the Etch A Sketch, including the Animator, but none have been able to reach the popularity of the classic Etch A Sketch.

Put on your looking eyes and see if you can find it during your next visit! And while you are looking high and low, don’t forget to encourage curiosity by asking open-ended questions and engaging your child in the conversation.

For example: What would you draw on a Etch A Sketch? How big is the biggest Etch a Sketch? Or simply tell your child your favorite Etch A Sketch story from growing up.

Friday, July 9, 2010

World Music Festival!

This weekend at Please Touch Museum, we’re celebrating music from all over the world during our World Music Festival. There are special featured performances each day for everyone to enjoy! On Friday and Saturday Louie Miranda will be performing in the Please Touch Museum Playhouse at 11, 1, and 3. Also on Friday, Daria will be performing up in City Park at 12 and 2. Both these artists have super fun and interactive music programs that get you moving and grooving to their songs. On Saturday, in addition to Louie, we will have Unity Brass Band in Hamilton Hall. This group plays New Orleans brass band style music and you can join in on the fun by marching along to the parade. Sunday brings performances by the West Philadelphia Orchestra at 12 and 2. West Philadelphia Orchestra is a Balkan brass band known for their amazing dance parties. Come check out all the fun this weekend and celebrate the world and all its different kinds of music!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Happy Birthday Frida Kahlo!

Today in the Program Room we’re celebrating artist Frida Kahlo’s birthday! Frida combined her Mexican heritage with surrealist style and is best remembered for her self- expression portraits and vivid colors. Our “Self-Face Paint” activity will allow this style of painting to be experienced, which Frida believed to be a form of self discovery. This activity is an expression of the unique traits in every individual.

Kahlo began painting at 18 years old after suffering a terrible accident while riding a bus, which left her immobilized in a full body cast. This incident motivated Kahlo to concentrate on painting images that were most important to her such as self- portraits. Kahlo once reflected, “I painted my own reality.”

Try this activity at home if you are unable to visit the museum today: Set up some paper and art supplies such as pencils and paints in front of a mirror. As a personal form of self-exploration, like Frida, try to paint your face. While doing this activity, ask your children questions such as: What images are most important to you and why? Do you think it is difficult to paint yourself? What is your favorite image to paint?

Hide and Seek of the Week

This week’s collections object is a Playskool Postal Station! Playskool produced this childhood favorite from the 1940s into the late 1970s. This wooden mailbox shape sorter included six blocks in three different shapes. By placing each block into its corresponding hole on top of the Postal Station, children were practicing concentration and learning the basics of shape discrimination.

Put on your looking eyes and see if you can find it during your next visit! And while you are looking high and low, don’t forget to encourage curiosity by asking open-ended questions and engaging your child in the conversation. For example: How many squares can you find? How many triangles? What does a circle look like?

Monday, July 5, 2010

Wrapping Up ABC Games

Last week, Please Touch Museum waved goodbye to our annual ABC Games exhibit. ABC Games is a special exhibit at PTM, sponsored by US Airways. For the entire month of June, our Rainforest Rhythm exhibit zone was transformed into a fun and active site for physical play. Walls were scaled, weights were hefted, balance beams were balanced upon, and even the toddlers were able to join the fun with age-appropriate exercise equipment in the Jungle Gym, for kids 3 and under. Look for ABC Games to come back next year!

While the Games are ending, there’s no reason that your healthy and active summer should end with them. Make some time during your summer for active, physical, outdoor play. Shoot some hoops. Take a few swings. Go for a swim or a jog. There’s no wrong way to play and there’s never a better time than now to begin a healthy lifestyle!

See you outside!

Here are some pictures of the fun, as well as some inspired ABC Games flag designs created in our Program Room:

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.