Thursday, November 18, 2010

Instilling a Sense of Giving

Back when no curbside recycling existed, my sisters and I used to help our mother collect recycled materials to take to the volunteer-staffed recycling center. Although this experience started me on a philanthropic path, at the time I only knew it as a way of life. We looked at the adventure as fun!

Instilling a sense of giving can start early! Children three and under are primarily focused on themselves. A sense of giving is learned by watching grown-ups. When children observe adults share, listen or be kind to others, they learn compassion. "Giving" can mean your time or treasures. In this season of giving thanks and helping those less fortunate with food or gifts, you are modeling compassion! Even very young children can help shop, assemble and wrap donated items.

Support your philanthropic ideals via picture books, too, like The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein, The Giving Box by Fred Rogers or the classic Stone Soup.

By the time children start school, they are ready to be more involved in their own philanthropic adventures, usually centering on their own interests. After hearing about our Champions campaign, two second graders donated the proceeds from their lemonade stand to the Museum. Children's charitable involvement contributes towards raising self-esteem, developing social skills, fostering an introduction to the greater world and encouraging kids to appreciate all that they have.

Make giving a family affair by encouraging your children's interests and working together. By allowing them input and decision-making, you will start them on the path of lifetime giving!

(This article first appeared in the November (2010) issue of Positively Naperville - PN Monthly. This month's featured column, Raise Your Play I.Q.® is written by Jayne Carpenter, M.S. - the Early Childhood Specialist for DuPage Children's Museum. She has degrees in Child Development and Applied and Family Child Studies. As an Early Childhood Specialist, Jayne has a diverse background with a variety of experience in museum, parent, teacher and child learning programs spanning 30 years. Contact her at the Museum or via email at

Thursday, November 11, 2010

What Makes a Good Field Trip?

What was your favorite field trip when you were a child? What made it so memorable? Besides being thrilled to be out of the classroom, you probably got to interact with a fascinating guide, creative spaces or new materials in a way you had not experienced before. The interactions you had with your classmates may have helped make it memorable as well.

So what makes a good field trip? Good field trips connect to what children are learning. Authentic experiences that relate to and expand on previous knowledge can make powerful educational connections. For teachers, good planning must precede field trips. Teachers and caregivers should familiarize themselves with the site prior to booking a field trip. Parents want to know that their child will be safe and that the trip serves a planned educational purpose. If parents accompany their children on well-planned field trips, they can support their child's learning at home - and become the best advocates for future visits.

An increasing number of our volunteers under age 30 are reporting their memories of field trips at DCM. In particular, they recount experiences from our learning lab field trips. Our learning labs are memorable because they integrate what children are learning in school with their developmental interests and abilities. Teachers like them because they are well organized and align with the Illinois Learning Standards.

Do you have a favorite Museum field trip memory?. Post a comment with a group compiling those memories here. If you have a favorite field trip memory from DuPage Children's Museum, leave us a comment on our blog.

Consider booking a field trip with us soon!

Friday, November 5, 2010

Good Toy Choices

We will be hosting our third annual toy show and sale on Friday, November 12. With so many good toy choices both during the sale or any time in our Explorer Store, how do you choose? Here are a few suggestions to consider:

At any age, co
nsider puppets. When children play with puppets, they make them talk, encouraging the development of language skills and the expression of various emotions. Add a puppet stage (also available in our store and at the sale) and you've got a performance!

I like to keep these Magic Noodles (colored biodegradable peanuts and sticks) around when friends stop by with their children or grandchildren. Just add a damp paper towel and let the creativity take center stage. This activity helps children to think spatially, and the ideas are endless. Read about how we use biodegradable peanuts in the Studio here.

In consideration of
older children, we've added science kits to our collection of learning toys this year. Create your own mechanical moving robot or choose a kit where you can design a hovercraft or praxinoscope. School-age children are ready for figuring out how things work. Your child's increasing concentration and problem solving abilities are challenged when they explore the complexities of a science kit.

For more information about the toy show and sale, click here. Our Explorer Store is always open during Museum hours. You don't need to pay admission to visit the store. Consider a trip to our Explorer Store this holiday season.

Please enjoy additional tips
from a previous post to guide you as you make good toy choices!

See you at the sale on November 12th!