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.