Thursday, May 31, 2012

Experiential Learning at Summer Camp

Many of us have fond memories of summer camp. For some of us it was an overnight camp where we bunked in a cabin or tent, and for others, it might have been spending several weeks with an aunt or grandparents. It also might have been a day camp setting where you were able to get away from the traditional classroom and learn by experiencing. 

Experiential learning offers opportunities to create meaning from direct exposure and hands-on experiences. Examples include learning about water flow by walking through a stream, learning to count by numbering your steps or understanding volcanic eruptions by mixing baking soda and vinegar.  

Preschool Summer Camp
Summer camp is a perfect opportunity for children to be actively involved in learning and focus on experiences of personal interest. Rich opportunities for learning exist in the summer camp setting because most camps provide a platform where learning is informal, meaningful and hands-on.

Cool Chemistry 2011
At DuPage Children's Museum, we offer several camps throughout the summer for children ages 3 through 10. Our Preschool Summer Camps cover several topics of interest to preschoolers. Camps offered include Water and Bubbles; Color, Light and Shadows; Playing with Math and more. Lego camps welcome children ages 5 to 10.  Summer S.T.E.M. (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) camps engage learners ages 7 through 10 in programs that focus on robots, chemistry, aircraft and mathematical wonders. 

Learn more about DCM’s summer camp schedule at:     

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

The Newly Renovated Family Resource Center

On May 15, 2012, the Family Resource Center (FRC) officially re-opened to the public with a ribbon cutting ceremony attended by representatives from the Museum and Edward Hospital. Through a generous donation from Edward, DCM renovated this popular area, which provides a quieter space tucked away from the activity and busyness of the Museum. The FRC is an extension of our exhibit philosophy and is a comfortable place to extend early learning. 

The Newly Renovated FRC
Materials provided in the FRC enhance early learning with a focus on literacy. Books and reference materials are provided for children and adults alike. Parents are encouraged to read side by side with children in our oversized, overstuffed chairs. Tables, chairs and shelving are at just the right height to allow children to pull materials and interact in a way that illustrates this as a place designed just for them! 

Caps for Sale reading in the FRC
 Story time takes place every Friday morning at 10:00. Ben Weber, DCM’s highly engaging and interactive story teller, reads aloud accompanied by Andrew  Moran playing the accordion.  In addition, the Naperville Public Library joins us in the FRC on the first Wednesday morning of each month at 10:00. 

Come visit, enjoy the renovated FRC and look for continuing updates with a literacy focus!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Gross Motor Skills in Early Childhood

Gross motor skills are serious business.  Many of us attribute the development of these skills to expending energy, or child’s play, especially outdoors. The truth is that gross motor skills are important to the physical development and well-being in all children. 

According to the Encyclopedia of Children’s Health, gross motor skills are the abilities required in order to control the large muscles of the body for walking, running, sitting, crawling and other activities.  Encouraging gross motor skills requires a safe, open play space; peers with whom to interact; and some adult supervision.

Recently DuPage Children's Museum had the opportunity to conduct several gross motor workshops with one of our partners, One Hope United.  Below you will find a video titled “Healthy from the Start.” This video highlights gross motor skills as well as the Communities on the Move video challenge.  

The Let’s Move! Communities on the Move Video Challenge invites faith-based, community, and other non-profit organizations working with children to create short videos highlighting their participation in Let’s Move! and efforts to reverse the trend of childhood obesity (, 2012).  

Read more: 

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

The Week of the Young Child: YWCA Childcare Resource & Referral Open House

The YWCA USA is one
of the oldest and largest women's
organizations in the nation,
serving over 2 million women,
girls and their families (YWCA, 2012)

In recent years, DCM has partnered with the YWCA to extend support through training and other collaborative efforts.  Through offices in Glendale Heights, the YWCA offers training and support to parents, caregivers and Early Childhood professionals.

On Saturday, April 28, DCM staff joined the YWCA for an Open House.  Children were able to interact with exhibits that are portable and replicas of what you find in the Museum.  A group of 11 and 12 year-olds spent over an hour with our Build it Big exhibit--a life-sized version of what many compare to Tinkertoys.  They built, tore down and reconstructed several structures. 

Pin Screen & measuring
A crowd of children moved in and out of the room throughout the day.  They were able to interact with our Pin Screen, Magna-tiles, Light Box and Glow Art exhibits.   

Several other organizations were present to show support for the efforts of the YWCA and the community at-large.  A police officer came through the building and gave out badges to young ones.  Children were able to climb in and out of a local fire truck as well as honk the horns and set off the siren. Finally, the StoryBus was on hand to share interactive exhibits from The Little Red Hen

For more information about DCM partners; the YWCA Childcare Resource & Referral; and StoryBus, a Children’s Museum on Wheels, click on the links provided here.