Friday, May 30, 2014

Common Household Items = Tools for Learning?

Many of us are familiar with reduce, reuse, and recycle—but don’t forget re-purpose! You might be surprised to know that many items you have laying around your house, or even those tucked away can become tools for learning. If you have any of these items, consider using them to engage in learning fun:

Clothespins and Coffee Filters
Learning = Lifecycles, imaginary play, literacy, & fine motor development
 1. Draw on the coffee filter with a marker and spray with water.
 2. Dry. If not too wet, this does not take long!
 3. Scrunch or fold the filter several times back and forth.
 4. Use a pincher grip to open the clothespin around the folded filter.
 5. Spread out the colorful wings.
 6. Use your work of art to tell the lifecycle story or another story of your own!

An Egg Carton and Old Buttons
Learning = Early math and science through sorting and classification, literacy, & fine motor development
1. Inspect the collection of buttons with your child.
2. Describe the buttons. Discuss size, shape, and/or the number of holes in the buttons.
3. Decide what attribute you will use to sort the buttons—by color, shape, or size will do! 
4. Sort buttons into several different compartments of the egg carton. Note: younger children will enjoy using just a few compartments; older children will enjoy using many!

What other learning tools do you have tucked away? 

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, May 23, 2014

News from the Creativity Studio: Finish a Face!

Last week in the Creativity Studio we utilized our drawing skills to explore ideas of symmetry as we finished faces of people, cats, dogs, Charlie Brown, and more!  Kids selected a face to complete using markers, colored pencils, pencils, and crayons.  Mirrors were provided to help kids imagine what the other half of the face might look like.  While at first many children (and parents) thought this seemed like a rather advanced project, once you break down a face into shapes and colors, it quickly becomes much simpler.  For example, “What shape is the cat’s
eye?  A circle.”  An eye may seem difficult to draw but a circle is something that we practice all the time!  This is a great activity to strengthen kids’ math skills utilizing ideas of symmetry, geometry, and spatial awareness while at the same time teaching kids about drawing techniques such as shape, line, and value.  Many kids were shocked at how well they were able to finish their faces!  From young children focusing simply on an eye and working on drawing shapes to older kids exploring ideas of tone and value, this was a GREAT week for artistic exploration!  

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, May 16, 2014

Exhibit Focus: Math, Science, & Art

At DuPage Children’s Museum (DCM) we focus our attention on the integration of mathematics, art, and science. Concepts relating to these disciplines are a central focus to many of our exhibits.  Where might you find math, art, and science at DCM?  How does learning come into play? Let’s take a closer look. 

Window Art
Located on the second floor in our Math Connections Neighborhood, Window Art draws the visitor’s attention to shape, color, and the blending of the two.  Geometric shapes can be named and overlapped to create a new shape. Colors can be identified and overlapped to make a new color. The science skills of comparing, contrasting, and classifying might all be engaged! While all this is happening, the work of Wassily Kandinsky hangs above the interactive experience to draw the child’s eye to art that illustrates the use of vibrant colors, lines, and shapes!

Glow Art
This exhibit is located in our Creativity Connections area on the main level of the Museum. This is large version of the famous Lite-Brite™ that many children of the 70’s know and love! Translucent and colorful rods are the perfect size for small hands to grasp and place in a grid that is located under a black light.  The science behind the use of a black light fascinates many of our young visitors and their caregivers.  Many are in awe of the change that takes place when the rods capture the light and illuminate! Young visitors explore mathematical concepts by creating patterns with color. The art process is engaged when designs are created that literally light up the exhibit!

There is more! Look for the art, math, and science during your next visit!

Friday, May 9, 2014

The Next Gen Board at DCM

Developed in 2013, DuPage Children’s Museum Next Gen Board is made up of over 30 dedicated and energetic community and business leaders who work together to support DuPage Children’s Museum while developing a strong foundation for future leadership and success.
The board is a unique way for parents and community members to gather and contribute to the Museum’s mission in a meaningful way whether they wish to work with DCM in the future serving on the Board of Directors or simply want to play an important leadership role in giving back  to the organization.
For more information on the Next Gen Board, including how you can join or help out, contact DCM Special Events Coordinator Julie O’Keefe at 630-637-8000 ext. 3190 or  You can also connect with the Next Gen Board via Linked In.
JUNE 20 from 8:00 - 11:00 P.M.
A fun, adults only night out with totally awesome 80′s music, tubular trivia, silent auction items, rad raffles, and to-the-max dancing. Please join us to go back to the 80′s to beneļ¬t the future of our children.
  • Featuring CLTV News Anchor, Dolly McCarthy, as Honorary Chair
  • 80s themed music, dancing, trivia, and competitions
  • Silent auction and raffles
  • Fun themed appetizers, desserts, and beverages
  • Photos with replicas of your favorite 80s icons
  • Feel free to come dressed in your favorite 80s style
The Next Gen Board hosts an adults only night out at DuPage Children's Museum sure to be like no other! Join us for an exciting evening of fun and games 80's style! 

Friday, May 2, 2014

Incorporating the Weather into Early Learning Adventures

The weather can be a wonderful way to introduce children to many ideas and concepts. Children love to stomp in puddles, build snow forts, and bask in the sun! Why not throw some learning activities in with all the fun?

Daily weather observation can be a fun way to collect scientific data. 
Preschool children can chart their daily weather observations for several days. Children can draw the sun, rain, or snow and dictate a brief description. Use the chart to answer questions such as, “How many days in a row did the sun shine?” “Did it rain yesterday?” Weather observations can also be included in a class journal (Illinois Early Learning Project, 2013). 

Making a human rainstorm may help children cope with 
weather-related fears.
Use a toilet paper tube and beads or pebbles to make a shaker that sounds like pounding rain. Try cutting long slits in any rubberized material and shake, simulating a softer, steady rain.  What might you make with a recycled plastic container and buttons? A child might even pat on a metal pan to simulate thunder. Turn out the overhead lights and turn a flashlight on and off rapidly and you have lightning! 

Exercise the imagination through story dictation.
Children are often enthusiastic about changes in the weather! Capture this enthusiasm using story dictation. A child can tell you a weather related story while you write it out. Build literacy skills by reading it over and over again!  

Looking for more?   
Try these links to see additional weather-related activities:

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.