Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Funky Dance Fun with Cyndi!

You may have seen a fresh face dancing around at Please Touch Museum lately. Our new friend and museum intern Cyndi Strothers has been hard at work (and play) in our Community Programs, Outreach, and Partnerships Department and in the Education Department. Working with the Education Department, she has helped to develop and carry out dance programs on Mondays in Hamilton Hall. You can see some of the fun in these pictures!

I recently talked to Cyndi about her passion for dancing and here's what she had to say:

Pinky: When did you start dancing?

Cyndi: I began dancing when I was 3 – the first type of dance that I ever did was belly dancing with my Grandmother.

Pinky: Why do you like to dance?

Cyndi: Moving our bodies is a very important part of life. Dance gives me a chance to exercise daily, which helps me stay strong and healthy. Another reason dance is fun is because jumping and leaping freely to the music allows me to be happy and smile a lot. Also, people say that I look taller on stage!

Pinky: What is your favorite thing about doing dance programs at Please Touch Museum?

Cyndi: Dance programs give me a chance to interact with the children! Giving them different movements and introducing them to different types of sounds allows them to pretend to be any type of dancer they want to be.

Pinky: Do you have any tips for families to start dancing at home?

Cyndi: Pick a day of the week and make it your “dancing day”! Plan for at least 15 minutes for you and your child to move and groove together. Start by letting your little one put their favorite music on. You can teach them about stretching to get their bodies warmed up and ready to go. Don’t forget to reach for the sky and bend your knees for safe use of your body!

Monday, November 29, 2010

We Are Thankful For Your Art!

Here's a recap of all the awesome artwork we found in the Program Room. This past month, visitors had the opportunity to play with paints using easels in a kid-sized art studio. During Thanksgiving Weekend, we made "Give Thanks" cards where visitors told us about all the wonderful things they are thankful for! Enjoy!

Hide and Seek of the Week

This week’s collections object is the Play Family Nursery School playset! This carry-along nursery school was first introduced by Fisher Price in 1978. In addition to furniture and accessories needed to learn, the Play Family Nursery School also included all the necessary equipment to play!

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 part of school? What games do you play on the playground?

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

What are you thankful for?

Pinky asks the Please Touch Museum staff what they're thankful for this holiday season.

Monday, November 22, 2010

When I Was Your Age…

Hi everyone! Thanksgiving is just around the corner and I wanted to find out some favorite childhood holiday traditions from the staff at Please Touch Museum. I decided to ask around! I sat down with Daniel McCunney, Media Relations Assistant at Please Touch Museum and here's what he had to say:

Pinky: Hi Dan! Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays. What is your favorite part of Thanksgiving?

Dan: That’s a good question, Pinky. Thanksgiving is a good reminder for me to be thankful for everything I have and appreciate time spent with my family. I also love the food, though, Pinky! Thanksgiving dinner is one of my favorite meals of the year – from green beans and mashed potatoes to turkey and pumpkin pie, they’re all my favorites!

Pinky: Did you have any special Thanksgiving traditions when you were a kid?
Dan: Well, Pinky, I have a pretty big family (12 brothers and sisters!), and every Thanksgiving when I was young, the entire family came together and each person helped make a part of the meal – even the littlest ones - that way, everyone has a role in making the holiday special.

Pinky: Wow, that’s a lot of people! Does your family still do that now that you’re older?
Dan: Yes, we do! My family AND our Thanksgiving meals have gotten even bigger since I was a kid, so it’s a lot of fun at my house around the holidays.

Pinky: What other holiday traditions do you remember from when you were a kid?

Dan: The weekend after Thanksgiving, my siblings and I would take out all of the Christmas decorations from the closet and decorate the entire house. We always have a good time decorating together!

Pinky: That’s great, Dan. Thanks for sharing some of your holiday traditions with me!

Dan: Thank you, Pinky! And Happy Thanksgiving!

Hide and Seek of the Week

“…Five, six, pick-up sticks!” This week’s collections object is a set of Pixie Pic-Up Sticks! Manufactured by Steven Manufacturing Company between 1940-1960, the classic game tests the players ability to keep a steady hand while trying to pick up a stick without disturbing the rest.

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 sticks do you think you could pick up? Or simply play a quick game of pick-up sticks at home!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Please Touch Museum and United Way

Hi, everyone! Today, my friend Margaret Walker, Development Coordinator at Please Touch Museum, is here to talk about supporting our community outreach programs. Take it away, Margaret!

Margaret: Thanks, Pinky! Most of you already know that Please Touch Museum is a museum for children and for those of you who are a child at heart. Our mission is to enrich the lives of children by creating learning opportunities through play, and we believe that early childhood education and play are equal!

What you might not know is that the museum offers a number of community programs, to ensure that all children, regardless of economic situation, can experience Please Touch Museum. We are honored to partner with the United Way to fund several of these programs.

In fact, you can help support our community outreach programs by making a gift through the United Way and donor designating Please Touch Museum. When you donor designate the museum (#1134), your gift will be used to support one of our famous outreach programs, the Portable Play program.

The Portable Play Program provides interactive family play sessions, parenting workshops and Museum visits for minority families served by social service agencies throughout the Philadelphia region. Portable Play takes our mission of “learning through play” out into the community! The program concludes with a staff facilitated visit to Please Touch Museum, where program participants receive free lifetime memberships to Please Touch Museum and can come see Pinky whenever they want!

If your employer has a United Way Campaign, please consider directing your gift to Please Touch Museum (#1134) to support this important program. For more information, please click here.

Please Touch Museum will continue to provide award-winning community programs, and by contributing through United Way, you are supporting imagination, exploration, and lifelong learning for all children!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Happy 82nd Birthday Mickey Mouse!

Did you know that Mickey Mouse turns 82 this week?! On Thursday, November 18, 1928, Mickey Mouse made his debut in "Steamboat Willie" at the Colony Theater in New York.

To celebrate his big day, we have on loan a small sampling of JoAnn and Tom McDonnell's collection of Mickey Mouse objects. Tom and JoAnn are two the friendliest faces you will see at Please Touch Museum! You may know JoAnn from when you first enter the building at the admissions desk, or you may also have seen one of Tom McDonnell’s Magic Shows in the Please Touch Playhouse Theater. I had the chance to sit down with JoAnn McDonnell, Admission-Volunteer Supervisor, and she told me a little bit more about her awesome collection:

Pinky: I really love your collection of Mickey Mouse! How long have you been collecting everything "Mickey?"

JoAnn: I have been collecting since 1987, so it has been over 20 years. We now have thousands of Mickeys!

Pinky: That’s amazing! What made you want to start a collection?

JoAnn: We went to Disney with my children and really fell in love. We would buy small Mickey Mouse objects here and there then the collection grew. Friends would find out we liked Mickey Mouse and would give Mickeys to us, especially the ones related to magic because as you know Tom is a magician.

Pinky: What does your collection mean to you and your family?

JoAnn: For us it represents happy memories that we shared with family- many happy memories! It’s not just about buying Mickeys; it’s something that has to do with our family. You may see the Philadelphia sports Mickeys because our family likes the Phillies and the Flyers. Mickeys are everywhere in our house and a part of every holiday!

Pinky: I had a lot of fun seeing your part of your collection. Thanks for sharing!

Hide and Seek of the Week

Old McDonald had a farm, EE-I-EE-I-O. And on that farm he had a horse, EE-I-EE-I-O. This week’s collections object is a “Victory” Domestic Animal Spelling Puzzle produced by G.J. Hayter & Co., Ltd. Between 1920 and 1930. “Victory” puzzles were a popular brand of jigsaw puzzles made from the 1920’s until the 1980’s in Bournemouth, England. This particular puzzle features animals typically found on farms, like cows, horse, cats, etc.

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 sound does a horse make? What kinds of animals do you think live on a farm? Or simply sing a couple verses of “Old McDonald”.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Hide and Seek of the Week

You climbed up Rainbow Trail, ran passed the Crooked Old Peanut Brittle House and found your way through the Lollipop Woods. But be careful! Don’t get stuck in Molasses Swamp! No, it’s not a dream. It’s Candyland! This classic pre-school board game was created by Eleanor Abbott in 1945 and first produced by Milton Bradley in 1949. Since then, there have been four different versions of Candyland, the most recent released in 2002.

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 color? What candy would you make your own Candyland out of? Or simply play a game of Candyland when you get home!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

When I Was Your Age...

Please Touch Museum wanted to find out what their staff’s favorite things were when they were kids. I decided to ask around!

I sat down with Helene Pospischill, Supervisor of Retail Operations at PTM.

Pinky: Good morning, Helene! Tell me, what 3 words best describe what you were like as a 7 year old?
Curious, loud, and artistic.

Pinky: When you were a kid- what was your favorite toy?

Helene: Oh, my Lite Brite most definitely! Funny story, I used to leave my Lite Brite on all the time; it got so warm it would actually burn the carpet. From then on, my parents had a special designated Lite Brite time for me each day.

What kinds of things did you create with your Lite Brite?

Helene: I made cats, rainbows, fish- there was angel fish that was cool. I mainly remember making cats. I would use pink, blue, and purple-- I liked bright colors.

Pinky: So you mentioned you really liked cats. What other games did you play that incorporated cats?

Helene: I had pet cats and I also had a memory matching game that was animal-themed. My favorite memory match was the cat and the ball of yarn. I guess it all started when I was a baby because my mom actually decorated my nursery with cats.

Pinky: You said you were a little loud. Was there a song that you enjoyed singing at the top of your lungs?
Helene: Yes…Lamb Chop’s “This is the Song that Never Ends”. This is the song that never ends, yes it goes on and on my friends…some people started singing it not knowing what it was and then continued singing it forever just because…

Pinky: Well, I can understand how that song could go on and on. Thank you for sharing a little bit about your childhood.

Helene: Thanks for having me!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Hide and Seek of the Week

Pop! Pop! Pop! What’s that sound? It’s Popoids! They may look like they are from outer space, but these bendable guys are straight from earth circa the 1980s! Released by Tomy in 1984, Popoids construction sets included straw-like pieces that made a popping noise when bent or stretched.

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 make a popping sound? How many different ways can you bend and stretch?

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.