Friday, December 26, 2014

News from the Creativity Studio!

Fabric Bound Books: 

Creativity Studio Drop-In Engages Guests in                         Creativity & Literacy Fun! 

Guests who visited a Creativity Studio drop-in late last summer learned a new skill… simple book binding.  We explored a number of different binding options, from basic yarn sewing to more advanced needle and thread techniques.  After learning about binding their pages together, kids took the lead to personalize their books.  Some children wrote stories about animals, their family, alien octopuses, a sunny day, and their visit to DCM.  Others turned their books into illustrated art books, photo albums, and even a dictionary!  This is a great skill building activity that  fosters immense creativity and story-telling as well.  

Blogger Katie Fodor is a Program Developer at DuPage Children's Museum. Katie has an MA in Art History and Museum Studies from Case Western Reserve University. Katie joined DCM’s team in the summer of 2013.  

Friday, December 19, 2014

Inside Fun for Everyone!

Are cold temperatures keeping you inside? Have you run out of ideas to help keep the children active? If you are looking for ways to keep the young ones engaged in hands-on, interactive, playful learning at home, try these easy and fun-for-the-whole-family activities!

Hallway Bowling 
A hardwood hallway can make a great lane for bowling! No hardwood hallway? No worries! Any floor surface, some empty plastic bottles and ball--even a roll of socks will work.Ten pins are standard, yet six will do. 

Play with math skills! Count the pins; subtract them as they fall; add them as you reset. You can even keep score and challenge young ones to consider how many different ways they can add to ten.

Indoor Obstacle Course
This one may be over the top for some parents, yet there are so many opportunities for gross motor development, agility, and movement right in your home. If you are a parent that allows climbing on furniture, jumping from a footstool, or climbing under the table, the indoor obstacle course can be a blast! 

This activity offers math fun too! Get out the stop watch and estimate. How long will it take Mom to get through the course? How about Dad? 

Get creative with your obstacle course design. Add a limbo section and a spot for jumping jacks. What about a reading nook at the end?


build an indoor fort, build an indoor cubby, rainy day activities, fun for kids, fun kids activities
Building forts is an               old-fashioned favorite that never goes out of style! Grab some clothes pins, a few blankets or sheets, and strap over the couch, table, or chairs. Engage the architect and critical thinker in your young one by drawing out your own blue prints before you begin. Designs can be intricate or simple. Everyone loves a hideaway! 

If you just can't shake cabin fever, plan a trip to the Museum! School's Out CampsCreativity Studio drop-ins, and our guests Anderson's Insect Zoo promise fun and learning for all ages.

Friday, December 12, 2014

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 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 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. A few years ago, two second graders learned about our Champions campaign and 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!

Content originally shared by Jayne Carpenter, M.S., former Early Childhood Specialist with DuPage Children's Museum. 

Friday, December 5, 2014

Math Young Explorers at DuPage Children's Museum

As many of you know, XOXO: An Exhibit about Love and Forgiveness moved into the upper level of DuPage Children's Museum (DCM) in October. When traveling exhibits visit, we rearrange and adjust space to fit the needs of the exhibit components. Since XOXO offered so much, we moved several exhibits to storage and some to other areas of the Museum. Some of our Math Young Explorers exhibits moved into the Family Resource Center (FRC), a small room in the back corner of the upper level. Here we share information about the math exhibits now located in the FRC.

The Peekaboo Bridge offers gross motor skill development coupled with the fun of a childhood favorite, peek-a-boo. Our young explorers love the element of surprise that comes along with a game of peek-a-boo! Children explore geometric shapes and color as they crawl, toddle, or run across the bridge. If we can get them to stop along the way, we have the opportunity to draw attention to the identification of shapes or the way color can change the look or perspective of what we see! 

Large and smaller Lego™ pieces also draw children to make math connections. Watch spatial development skills in action with shape building/stacking pieces and Legos™. Spatial activities encourage children to distinguish a characteristic of a single object while determining the relationship between two objects at the same time. As they build, children have to consistently determine the size and shape of one object relative to another, how those objects will fit together, and if it meets the goal of what they are attempting to accomplish. Building with Legos™, and bigger Lego™-like blocks for younger ones, is spatial reasoning at work! 

In addition to math skill building, the FRC is home to several special activities including a story time with Ben Webber every Friday, Music My Way with Nancy Culp each third Thursday of the month--the Naperville Public Library also visits on select Wednesdays to host a program. During your next visit see what is happening in the FRC!

Friday, November 28, 2014

Make it Move Young Explorers at DuPage Children's Museum

How does a ball roll? Is there a reaction when I stomp on the floor? What is that blowing my hair? This week we continue our exhibit focus by turning our attention to Make it Move Young Explorers. In this exhibit space young ones can focus on exploring how things move as well as the effects of forces like their own body weight and the fluidity of air! Take a look at some of the experiences offered.

Make it Move Young Explorers is located just behind the Moser Construction House on the main level of the Museum. This area hosts exhibits that engage younger guests in many different levels of movement and activity. 

Walkers can jump on tiles and watch colors move beneath them--this helps young learners begin to recognize the effect of their own body weight. Jumping on the tiles gives a more dramatic effect. This "splash" is illustrated by a rapid movement of the color beneath their feet that comes with the force of their jump!

Crawlers and walkers alike can feel the effects of moving air from pvc piping that blows from the floor beneath them. It is engaging and enjoyable to feel the air moving around the body and blowing through the hair or in the face! Cover the hole and explore by feeling the pressure of the air!

Colorful balls fill a small ball pit too! Our youngest guests usually sit among the balls and feel the tactile sensations of being among spheres that pop up and around them as they move about! They also enjoy developing the motor skills that come along with throwing and kicking these safe, lightweight, hollow balls.

Look for more on DCM's Young Explorers Neighborhoods next week! We will find out more about Math Young Explorers. Where did it go when XOXO moved in?

Friday, November 21, 2014

Creativity Connections Young Explorers at DuPage Children's Museum

DuPage Children's Museum (DCM) is full of exhibits that attract all ages--even parents and caregivers! We specifically focus efforts on engaging learning and play experiences for children 0-10 years of age. We are keen on keeping our youngest guests in mind with three areas designed specifically for infants and toddlers. These areas are located in the Creativity Connections, Make it Move, and Math Neighborhoods. In the blog this week, we draw your attention to the Creativity Connections Neighborhood.

Located right next to the Creativity Studio, Creativity Connections Young Explorers offers experiences that engage creativity! Sensory tubes attract the young eye; colorful texture blocks engage tactile awareness; small instruments and sound exploration provide auditory stimulation and discernment. 

Sensory tubes are colorful tubes that encourage infants and toddlers to watch closely--observing the interaction of water, oil, beads, and more. Turn the tube over and the oil slowly moves to the top, creating bubbles that move slowly through as well. Tip it over and back again to watch the colors and materials move in an engaging way. Fine motor skills, coordination, and concentration all come into play! 

Sensory discovery can also join a playful learning experience when young children explore color and texture. As they compare and contrast with their hands, they build vocabulary with words like roughsmoothbumpybrightdullshiny, and more! 

In addition, building vocabulary can combine with sound exploration to engage young children in the learning that accompanies play. Identifying instruments and discovering the noisy or soft sound a drum makes can be a lot of fun for young ones. Not only are these fun experiences enjoyable to watch, they can also lead to further     self-directed investigation!

Look for more on DCM's Young Explorers Neighborhoods in the coming weeks! We will take a journey inside Make it Move and Math Young Explorers.

Friday, November 14, 2014

News from the Creativity Studio!

Art in Red
Red is a warm color that can have a powerful effect! During Art in Red week in the Creativity Studio, we turned the Studio into a RED oasis where we experimented with the effects of color and light on our artwork!  
We covered the overhead lights with red plastic wrap, which gave the room a warm, red glow.  Children were invited to draw using oil pastels under the red light and see how their colors react to the lighting.  Upon completing their work, children were invited to take their art around the Creativity Connections neighborhood to explore the changes that took place under the black light, different color lights, and even regular lights.  

Children loved viewing their work in the different lighting areas and often returned to the Creativity Studio to create more art! Many faces were filled with wonder as they watched the changes that took place. An inquisitive "Why?" was asked by many.  All art activities embody science, but this week the science of light and color was shining extra bright!

Join us for creative learning experiences in DuPage Children's Museum's (DCM) Creativity Studio everyday! Upcoming projects are listed on the DCM EVENTS CALENDAR. Enjoy Printing Press this weekend and Family Portraits in Oil Pastel next week! Studio programs are FREE with admission and happen everyday from 10:00 a.m. until 12:00 p.m. and 1:00 p.m. until 3:00 p.m. Specialy trained staff are even there to guide you along the way!

Blogger Katie Fodor is a Program Developer at DuPage Children's Museum. Katie has an MA in Art History and Museum Studies from Case Western Reserve University. Katie joined DCM’s team in the summer of 2013.  

Friday, November 7, 2014

My Colorful Plate & Young Children: Encouraging Healthy Food Choices

In recent years the United States Department of Agriculture has moved from the Food Pyramid to MyPlate to help guide our portions and food choices. MyPlate is a new generation icon that prompts consumers to think about building a healthy plate at meal times. The new MyPlate icon emphasizes the fruit, vegetable, grains, protein foods, and dairy groups (  

This guide and the resources below can be helpful, yet you might wonder how this all plays out at meal and snack times. If you are a parent, you know all too well! You might hear things like,"I don't eat broccoli! The salad is too crunchy! I won't eat that without ranch dressing! Brussel sprouts, blah!" These comments are all happening along with crumpled faces, hand gestures, and emotions that make for a stressful meal. So, what can we do? 

Unfortunately, there is no magic formula. However, some of these suggestions may help your young eaters choose healthier options.

Allow time for preparing healthy meals and snacks together. Use this time to discuss healthy options, why some foods are better for your body than others, and how foods can affect how we feel. 

Make healthy food preparation fun and engaging. Cut your sandwiches in the shape of a butterfly. Add pretzel stick antennae and cran raisin spots! What creature will you make for your next snack?

Prepare healthy snacks or parts of a meal ahead of time and store in the freezer. Pancakes and muffins loaded with blueberries, bananas, nuts or other healthy ingredients can be warmed quickly and carried along if you are in a rush! 

Register for a DuPage Children's Museum S.M.A.R.T. Cafe Series Creativity Class. Try one of DCM's Creativity Classes to encourage the young ones in your life!

USDA Choose My Plate: Healthy Eating and Super Tracker Nutrition Lessons 

This article also published in Positively Naperville--a local, reader supported, monthly newspaper published in Naperville, Illinois.Positively Naperville has been supported by a great group of local businesses, organically growing four pages at a time since it was first printed issue in September 2001.

Friday, October 31, 2014

Family Fun Friday Nights

Fairy Tale Festivities and
Creative Costumes Engage Visitors
Family Fun Friday Nights at DuPage Children's Museum (DCM) are designed to give busy families the opportunity to take advantage of extended hours on Fridays during the school year. The Museum is open until 8:00 p.m. and visitors can enjoy a full Museum experience with the whole family, including a special activity or performance on most Friday nights.

Last Friday DCM celebrated the season with the annual Fairy Tale Fest! Knights, princesses, superheroes, and fairies all participated in specially designed active-learning experiences while playing in DCM exhibits.

The Creativity Studio became adorned with all the details of a Renaissance kingdom. Crowns, cuffs, hats, a tower, a castle, a throne, and even a moat with a drawbridge--all were created by DCM guests! 

Throughout the Museum, storytelling, puppet shows, and mysterious treats and potions rounded out a magical event.

Congratulations to the Fairy Tale Fest                                     
Creative Costume winners:  
Don't miss this exciting annual event. Make your plans now to attend Fairy Tale Fest 2015!

Friday, October 24, 2014

Hedda Sharapan Visits Our Neighborhood

DuPage Children’s Museum offers a presentation Just for Grown-Ups!

          October 26, 2014 from 3:00 p.m. until 4:30 p.m. at                 DuPage Children's Museum

Hedda Sharapan visited DuPage Children's Museum (DCM) in 2012 to share her wisdom on S.T.E.A.M. (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math) as well as the value and importance of creating lasting, memorable relationships with the children in our lives.
This year Sharapan visits to share knowledge and expertise on engaging children and families in XOXO: An Exhibit about Love & Forgiveness. Her presentation will focus on developing resiliency skills in children. With warmth, humor, and humanness, Hedda Sharapan will share what she has learned about love and forgiveness—about building, maintaining, and repairing relationships (for all of us, young and old alike)—from her 48 years at The Fred Rogers Company and a master’s degree in Child Development.  Sharapan worked closely with Fred Rogers beginning in 1966. Together they wrote books for children and parents and authored professional development materials for early childhood educators. Ms.Sharapan is now the Director of Early Childhood Initiatives with the Fred Rogers Company. XOXO is DCM's newest traveling exhibit borrowed from a museum right in Sharapan's neighborhood! The Children's Museum of Pittsburgh has loaned XOXO to DCM through February 1, 2015. Don't miss this opportunity to engage the children in your lives in experiential activities all about love, forgiveness, and the emotions they feel! 

Friday, October 17, 2014

XOXO & Exploration of Emotional Intelligence

Almost 20 years ago, Daniel Goleman popularized the term Emotional Intelligence (EI). His best-selling book, Emotional Intelligence: Why it Matters More than IQ, informed readers of a theory that defines our understanding of the emotions we all feel. At the time, Goleman’s theory on EI was groundbreaking and expanded upon Howard Gardner’s work on Multiple Intelligences. There has been a great amount of thought and research developed over the years related to EI. 
As stated by Jeffery Berstein, Ph. D. and author of Liking the Child You Love, EI appears to be a key predictor of children’s ability to make suitable peer relationships, get along at home, develop a well-balanced outlook on life, and reach their academic potential at school. The term encompasses the following five characteristics and abilities:

1. Self-awareness - knowing your emotions, recognizing feelings as they occur, and discriminating between them.

2. Mood management - handling feelings so they're relevant to the current situation and you react appropriately.

3. Self-motivation - "gathering up" your feelings and directing yourself toward a goal, despite self-doubt, inertia, and impulsiveness.

4. Empathy - recognizing feelings in others and tuning into their verbal and nonverbal cues.

5. Managing relationships - handling interpersonal interaction, conflict resolution, and negotiations.

DuPage Children’s Museum (DCM) is currently hosting the exhibit XOXO, a traveling exhibit from the Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh. XOXO is an exhibit where families can come together in a place that fosters conversations and interactive experiences around love, forgiveness, and exploration of emotions. 
Visit DCM and foster conversations about emotions with the important children in your life! 

XOXO: An Exhibit about Love & Forgiveness visits DCM October 11, 2014 – February 1, 2015.

This article also published in Positively Naperville--a local, reader supported, monthly newspaper published in Naperville, Illinois.Positively Naperville has been supported by a great group of local businesses, organically growing four pages at a time since it was first printed issue in September 2001.