Friday, September 26, 2014

StoryWalk™ Draws Families into Reading

DuPage Children's Museum partners with the Naperville Public Library and the Naperville Park District for a StoryWalk™ on the Riverwalk! 

Over 210 people arrived downtown on a brisk September morning to take part in the first ever StoryWalk™ on the Riverwalk. The morning was filled with reading, play, and FUN! 

 StoryWalk™  is a literacy and physical activity medium that engages  community members in reading children’s books in unique environments,  like the beautiful Riverwalk in Naperville. StoryWalk™ is a series of signs  featuring sequential spreads from a children’s picture book, allowing the  reader to follow along the story by walking. The StoryWalk™ concept was  created by Anne Ferguson and developed in cooperation with the Kellogg  Hubbard Library and the Vermont Bicycle & Pedestrian Coalition.

 As participants arrived at the Naperville StoryWalk™ event, they were  greeted by library staff who provided a map directing them along a path  that highlighted the well known book Stellaluna by Janell Cannon. Big book pages were staked into the ground along the path to encourage interaction with the beautiful landscape of Naperville's Riverwalk--all while engaging in literature and exercise! At the end of their walk, families found refreshments and the Museum's portable exhibits. DuPage Children's Museum offered a playful learning
experience on the Riverwalk with smaller versions of the exhibits that you see inside of the Museum

If you missed it this year, don't worry! Be on the look out for the StoryWalk™, it will be back next year! 

Contributing blogger Rashmi Mehotra is Children Services Supervisor at the Naperville Public LibraryShe seeks new opportunities to encourage and engage children to become lifelong readers. Nichols Library is right across from the beautiful Riverwalk, a perfect natural setting for a StoryWalk™

Friday, September 19, 2014

Engaging the Colors of Fall

It is late September. Here in the Midwest that means that temperatures fluctuate and the weather is inconsistent. What a great time to savor the colors of fall!  Orange, green, yellow, red, and brown all stand out as colors we see more vividly at this time of year. Young children absorb so much through their senses! Make the colors they see, the changes in temperature they feel, and the smells of fall come to life with these engaging activities.

Leaf Rubbing
Collect some leaves during a fall walk. Talk about why the leaves fall from the trees, how they fall, and what colors you see. When you get home, tear off the wrapper of an orange crayon, grab a piece of paper, place one of your leaves under the paper, and rub using the long edge of the crayon--What do you see?  What kind of leaf is this? What is the name of the tree this leaf fell from? 

Extend the activity by looking up the leaf and searching online. You may also go to the library to look up all things fall!

Painting with the Colors of Fall 
During your fall walk you might pick up all kinds of souvenirs! Add sticks, twigs, pine cones, and acorns to your leaf collection. When you return home, place fall color paints in separate, shallow containers. Get a dish or pan with a two-inch rim and place a piece of paper inside. Use your imagination and paint with your souvenirs! With your souvenirs, there is no need for paint brushes. Dip items in the paint--roll the pine cones around, tip the pan from side to side with the acorns inside, use the twigs to paint with brush strokes! Make some beautiful works of art with the colors of fall!

Activities that engage children in the arts while integrating mathematics and science concepts are available in DuPage Children's Museum's (DCM) Creativity Studio daily. Check DCM's calendar to plan your next creative adventure! 

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, September 12, 2014

Don't Miss the DCM School Bus!

Special Exhibit! Making a stop at DCM!

Class is in session at DuPage Children’s Museum (DCM)! Take an imaginary ride on the DCM school bus for an exciting adventure in education, recess, and all things school-related!

The Museum welcomes its newest exhibit to the Interact with Art Gallery on Monday, September 15, 2014. Don’t Miss the DCM School Bus! transforms DCM’s second floor into a bustling “back to school” scene, complete with a colorful classroom, recess playground, and a bright yellow school bus. The temporary exhibit will make a stop at DCM for three weeks before the traveling exhibit, XOXO: An Exhibit about Love & Forgiveness, opens October 11, 2014.

Exhibit Features
Yellow school bus with sound effects and flashing lights
Traditional classroom
Dramatic play opportunities – become a crossing guard, bus driver, teacher, or school nurse!
Microscopes and fun science experiments
Recess playground featuring classic games and activities – hopscotch, obstacle course, teeter totter, and much more!

Dramatic Play and Learning
“The exhibit incorporates a number of opportunities for dramatic play – an important part of a child’s learning process,” said Margaret Hanly, Director of Education & Community Outreach, DuPage Children’s Museum. “When children are in charge, directing their own play, they are constantly experiencing creative thinking. Developing language, verbal skills, and cultivating social and emotional intelligence are skills that children practice through pretend play.”

The exhibit’s key feature, a bright yellow school bus, will immediately draw the attention of youngsters, who can imagine themselves as bus driver, student, or crossing guard and pretend play at a make-believe bus stop, neighborhood, or school parking lot. The bus will feature sound effects, flashing lights, and a functional stop arm, which helps to reinforce school bus safety.

A traditional American classroom, complete with wooden school desks, a chalkboard, books, and art supplies, will excite young visitors and provide an opportunity for creative thinking and dramatic play. Using costumes and props, children will be able to link various school subjects to explore professional careers.

Will you become a teacher? A doctor? A nurse? The classroom also features a science-specific area, with microscopes and fun experiments to extend classroom learning.

Incorporating Art
“To incorporate art, the exhibit will feature a number of visual elements, including artwork, illustrations, and artifacts typically seen in classrooms,” said Marcia MacRae, Public Programs Manager & Content Integration Specialist, DuPage Children’s Museum. “We want children – especially younger children who may not yet be enrolled in formal education – to visualize and get excited about the complete school experience.”

Time for Recess!
After class, recess is held on the DCM playground until it’s time to take the school bus home! The temporary exhibit will feature a recess scene, where children will participate in classic playground games and activities, such as a slide, hopscotch, teeter totter, basketball court, and an obstacle course, while engaging their gross motor skills.

Friday, September 5, 2014

Flying Machines Land in the Creativity Studio!

Leonardo da Vinci—Model Flying Machines
To kick off August’s theme of Inventions and Innovations, we explored the ideas of one of history’s most influential artists and scientists… Leonardo da Vinci.  Many children in the Studio recognized Leonardo’s name and his famous Mona Lisa; however, very few knew about his scientific experiments and inventions.  Leonardo was obsessed with the idea of flight and designed numerous flying machines and even invented the parachute!  After a brief overview of Leonardo’s machines the children were asked to create their own flying machine.  Some children created models of “real flying machines” such as airplanes and helicopters; others created new designs and models, and one boy even built a model of one of Leonardo’s designs!  Many considered aerodynamics and experimented with their flying machines using the fan in the Studio as well as DCM’s Wind Tunnel.  This activity united art, math, science, and history as children designed, built, and experimented with their unique inventions. 

The Creativity Studio re-opens on September 15 with Shaving Cream Creations! Explore ideas of line, shape, and pattern through the sensory experience of drawing with shaving cream directly on the Studio's tables! The Creativity Studio will be open from 10:00 a.m. until 12:00 p.m. and 1:00 p.m. until 3:00 p.m. every day.

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.