Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Hide and Seek of the Week


This week’s collections object is The Pink Tower block set! This set of ten graduated pink cubes were created by Dr. Maria Montessori in the early 20th Century to illustrate to the concepts of size and dimension to young children. Montessori, founder of the Montessori method of education, emphasized the importance of hands-on, child-directed learning within a child friendly prepared environment. In addition to founding her own model of education, Montessori also developed specific materials to use in the classroom. The Pink Tower was just one of those such materials.

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: Which block is the smallest? Which block is the largest? How high can you build a tower?

Monday, August 23, 2010

Hide and Seek of the Week



This week’s collections object is the Crazy Traveler game. This unique and exciting game was first introduced by Parker Brothers, Inc. in 1908. The game consisted of a game board, six wooden pins and one spinning top. Each player had three attempts to spin the top and try to knock down as many pins as possible.

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 does a top spin? Or simply make your own version of the game at home!

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Dance Dance Dance with Adams Dance Co.

CELEBRATE DANCING DAYS

The perfect combination of music and movement is coming to Please Touch Museum this weekend! The Adams Dance Company will be performing a variety of dance styles including tap, jazz, hip-hop and modern. This is a great performance to check out if the little people in your life are interested in starting dance lessons. There will be some wee ones doing a hip-hop version of the itsy-bitsy spider! It will be a fun and inspiring weekend of performances by these talented young dancers. Come check out all the fun today, August 21 at 2:00 and Sunday, August 22 at 12:00 and 2:00!



BRING THE FUN HOME WITH YOU

You can dance too! Allow your child to choose what songs they want to listen to. Let the music get a little loud and get your groove on! Encourage your child to try new things and experiment with the movement of their bodies.

One of the ensembles from Adams Dance Company performs a tap dance using kitchen utensils as their props. What a fun way to incorporate everyday household items into your dance routine! Can you find a ladel and a pot or pan to dance with? Can you tap your feet to the beat of the song?




Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Block Party! (No, Different Kind of Block)


Summer is a great time for active, physical play outdoors. But on some days, the heat or inclement weather can leave you stranded indoors and what do you do then? Well, you will not believe what we have in store for you today! The at-home activity we’re going to talk about today not only provides an open-ended, process-driven art experience, but it can also help you to beat the heat!

With this activity, kids can create their own unique and colorful ice sculpture, using common materials that you can find in any store, if not already in your house. Following these simple steps, and your own individual artistic method, you can create a work of art that is, in terms of its artistic appeal and its temperature, really cool!

Materials:
• Water
• Empty Milk Carton
• Freezer
• Pan or plastic container
• Rock Salt
• Food Coloring
• Eye Droppers

Steps:
1. Fill your empty milk carton with water and leave it in your freezer overnight.
2. Remove the solid block of ice from the milk carton (you’ll probably have to tear it open).
3. Place the block of ice in the pan or plastic container (if you’re doing this activity indoors, you may want to cover the surface with plastic to protect it from water damage).
4. Sprinkle a few grains of rock salt on the top of each block, observe what happens.
5. Use the eyedroppers to squeeze a few drops of food coloring on the top of each block; the coloring will run down into the tunnels created by the salt and will create beautifully colored network of veins throughout your ice block.

This activity is a great open-ended activity for kids, but can also provide an opportunity to talk about some other concepts with kids, such as the chemical reaction that occurs between the salt and ice!

Have fun and stay cool!

PTM & Variety's Disability Awareness Night


At Please Touch Museum, we want to make sure that all children have opportunities to learn through play. In that spirit, PTM is teaming up with Variety - the Children's Charity of Greater Philadelphia to host a night dedicated to families of children with disabilities on Saturday, August 21, from 6pm – 9pm. This is the second collaboration between PTM and Variety; we had an Autism Awareness night back in March that was a huge success! You can read a little about that event here.

For this special event, PTM and Variety are inviting families for an evening of hands-on, interactive, sensory-filled activities. We have a ton of fun things planned! Kids can explore touch and texture play in the Program Room, meet some of our puppets in City Park, and explore all of our exhibits.

Speaking of those exhibits, we'll be tweaking them just a little bit for this event, by turning off or down any loud noises or bright lights, and providing quiet rooms for anyone who needs to take a break. That way our visitors who have sensory sensitivities can enjoy the museum fully. It'll be a great time!

If you're planning on coming, make sure to check out the accessibility page on our website. There you can find a map of the museum to get an idea of where things are, and a Museum Story guide that can help kids and grownups get ready for a visit. Our Kids' Store also carries sensory toys, weighted vests and noise-blocking earphones if you need a little extra help.

Another special thing about this event is the Resource Fair - several disability-related organizations from the area will be here to answer questions and offer resources to families. It will also be a great opportunity to meet other parents and caregivers and exchange ideas.

I'm so excited to meet new friends at this event! If you'd like to attend, here's the info: Families can register for the event here. Tickets are required to attend the event and are available at a cost of a $20 donation per family. One hundred percent of the $20 donations will go toward the growth of Variety's programs. I can't wait to see you there!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Hide and Seek of the Week



This week’s collections object is the Smack and Yack Plush Luigi! This plush little car is based on the character from the popular 2006 Disney Pixar movie Cars. Luigi, modeled after the 1959 Fiat 500, is the owner of Casa Della Tires tire shop in the fictional town of Radiator Springs. When this plush version of Luigi is thrown or pressed, he utters several phrases from the movie.

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: Can you show me how fast a car goes? Who is your favorite Cars character? If you were a car what kind would you be?

Thursday, August 12, 2010

PTM in the Community: Growing Parkside

Please Touch Museum not only works with children, it also works with teens! The ACES (Achievement through Community, Education and Skill building) students are working with the West Philadelphia Senior Center with a plan to rehab a park in a nearby underprivileged neighborhood, Parkside, at 41st and Poplar Street. The ACES Program is a program for teenagers at PTM that helps high school students improve social skills, prepares them for the workforce, presents college preparation skills, and provides community service opportunities. ACES student, Imani tells us all about her experience:

The park was enhanced by KABOOM in 2000 with new swings, jungle gyms and benches, but was not kept up with over the years. Garbage covered the grass of the park. The plants and flowers died due to nine scorching summers of heat. A touch up for the paint on the benches was greatly needed. What was once the light of this community had become dark and the ACES were to the rescue!

Teens from PTM’s ACES program felt the urge to fix this broken window of Parkside. We worked together with the senior citizens of the West Philadelphia Senior Center to brighten the park with yellow paint. First we picked up the garbage in the park and surrounding areas. Then we painted the benches and flower pots. We also repaired and painted a utility shed that will aid in future park upkeep. I know it made a huge impact on the community surrounding this safe haven. Before, children of the neighborhood were not interested in playing in the park but shortly after we made the improvements I saw one boy excited to play in the revived park. When that young boy came to play on the slide a smile rose on my face and I felt proud of our team’s accomplishment.


This intergenerational project was a great experience for both teens and seniors because the two groups do not usually have the opporunity to work together. It was a long few hot summer days, but this achievement turned out to be a victory!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Hide and Seek of the Week


This week’s collections object is a Magic Dance Hat! This orange fuzzy hat looks just like the one DJ Lance Rock wears in the hit Nick Jr. television show Yo Gabba Gabba! This high energy show was developed by two Southern California dads with no prior television in an effort to design a show that both kids and parents would enjoy. Yo Gabba Gabba! premiered on Nick Jr. on August 20, 2007 and quickly became a sensation among children and parents alike.

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: Who is your favorite Yo Gabba Gabba! character? Can you dance like DJ Lance?

Don't forget, Muno and Foofa will be at the museum Friday, August 13th for an interactive dance party at 11:00 a.m.!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Happy Birthday Andy Warhol!

This Friday, August 6 we are celebrating the Artist Andy Warhol’s Birthday in the Program Room. Warhol is a famous American Pop Artist well known for his reproduction of images with slight variations. He gave common everyday objects importance through his art. We will be encouraging the kids to create Warhol-inspired prints using a special gelatin printing method. We will use Knox unflavored gelatin to create a gelatin printing plate. The kids will stamp onto the printing plate then press a piece of paper against the plate to create a print.



Warhol’s Pop Art can relate to our young audience because he represents things that kids see every day. When Mom is cooking Campbell’s chicken noodle soup on a rainy day they may notice the colors, letters and shapes on the can or if Dad is cleaning using Brillo pads they may notice the bubbly lettering. Art then becomes anything we see around us on a daily basis. Encourage your child to view those everyday items as art. What around your house inspires you? What would you consider art?


Did you know that stamping is a form of printmaking? You may have already had your child participate in a form of printmaking without even knowing it. In addition to silk screening, Warhol used rubber stamps to repeat a pattern or symbol. His pop art took commercial images and reproduced them over and over again.

Have a Printmaking Party for Warhol’s Birthday:

• Collect all the stamps in your house and lay them out on a large table or other flat surface

• Look at all the stamps with your child- encourage them to choose their favorite ones and ask them to explain why they like them

• Use a child-safe stamp pad (we use Colorations®) to ink your stamps then stamp onto your paper. Repeat as many times as your child would like. Feel free to use the same stamp on the same sheet of paper and also try using different color stamp pads

• You can extend this activity by using markers/crayons to enhance the prints you have created!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Hide and Seek of the Week


This week’s collections object is the Omnibot! First produced by Tomy in the mid 1980s, the Omnibot was the first of many toy robots created by the company. This remote control robot not only rolls forwards and backwards, but features a cassette tape deck and can grasp large objects in his right claw!

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 things would you make a robot do? How does a robot sound? Or simply do the robot!

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.