A Silly Scavenger Hunt

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Tuesday was April Fools’ Day. While this whimsical “holiday” can be celebrated anywhere, a children’s museum is perfectly suited for foolish fun!

First, Educators Crystal and Meredith decided to fashion a Giant Yellow Mustache for our friend the Giant Blue Crab!

These three jokers, "mustache you a question"!

These three jokers, “mustache you a question”!

 

Our horse friend C.J. from the Dover Mounted Patrol even joined in on the fun!

Even police horses join in on April Fools' tomfoolery!

Even police horses join in on April Fools’ tomfoolery!

Our exhibits even got in on the act!

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And that’s when we unveiled our V̶e̶r̶y̶ ̶S̶i̶l̶l̶y̶ Extremely Serious Scavenger Hunt!

The Granite State is very proud of these wild animals that are native to our state! Our visitors – big & small – had quite a lot of fun hunting down all the wild subjects!

We were also kind enough to share some AMAZING TRUE FACTS with our visitors about the First Day of April!

Shhhh! Kanagaroo is learning how to stay calm in Mindball!

Shhhh! Kanagaroo is learning how to stay calm in Mindball!

Ah, yes - a royal rhino inside Pattern Palace.

Ah, yes – a royal rhino inside Pattern Palace.

Dodo Bird takes this high perch in our Mexican Cafe.

Dodo Bird takes this high perch in our Mexican Cafe.

Snow Leopards and Submarines are a perfect mix.

Snow Leopards and Submarines are a perfect mix.

Abraham Lincoln was hoping to relax inside this cozy tree.

Abraham Lincoln was hoping to relax inside this cozy tree.

Chameleon learned all about Air Mail in our Post Office.

Chameleon learned all about Air Mail in our Post Office.

Just your normal everyday hammerhead shark checking out the Dino Detective exhibit.

Just your normal everyday hammerhead shark checking out the Dino Detective exhibit.

Toucans love the vehicle construction in Thinkering Lab.

Toucans love the vehicle construction in Thinkering Lab.

Armadillo was curious about the River Model.

Armadillo was curious about the River Model.

Ring Tailed Lemur was curious about the children who used to work in the mills.

Ring Tailed Lemur was curious about the children who used to work in the mills.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dragon was hanging out at the top of our Cocheco River Map!

Dragon was hanging out at the top of our Cocheco River Map!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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“I Watched It a Million Times!” – CMNH Staff Picks Their Favorite Childhood Movies

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The film “Muppets Most Wanted” opens nationwide in theaters this weekend.

I’ve had this weekend circled on my calendar for a long time. I am a Muppet lover. A Muppet freak. A Muppophile. Not that I need to prove my Muppet cred, but let me share with you a few incontrovertible facts:

#1. I use Muppet band-aids exclusively.

#2. The vows I spoke to my wife on the day of our wedding were the lyrics from “Movin’ Right Along“.

#3. Kermit the Frog and The Muppets are the theme of my infant son’s nursery.

#4. I’m currently listening to Muppet songs while I write this blog.

I won’t bore you with numbers 5-100.

But how does such an o̶b̶s̶e̶s̶s̶i̶o̶n̶ appreciation of all things Muppets begin? Quite easily. 1979′s “The Muppet Movie” was my favorite movie as a small child. And as an older child. And as a teenager. And as a young adult. And as an adult. I didn’t know who the majority of the humans were in Jim Henson and company’s debut film, but I knew what I loved: Kermit, Fozzie, Gonzo – heck, everyone from Bunsen Honeydew & Beaker to each member of The Electric Mayhem, house band of “The Muppet Show” (1976-1981). I already knew and loved these characters from the television show and seeing my felted best friends get in to bigger budgeted adventures (Frogs and Bears don’t drive studebakers on the cheap, you know) only sweetened the pot.

Was it the first movie I ever saw in a theater?* No. I was only 10 months old for the original release of the film. I likely saw it either on a film projector at the local community center, on VHS or on television. Once the technology made it possible, my parents recorded the movie – commercials and all – off of WLVI 56 (Channel 10 where I grew up). One day, the tape stopped working. I brought it to my mother. She explained to me that the tape had become rundown and asked me if I had any idea how that might have happened.

“I watched it a million times,” was my matter-of-fact answer.**

At five months old, my son is too young for me to bring him to see the Muppets eighth cinematic foray while it’s playing at theaters. (No matter what I might say to convince my wife otherwise.) But I’m confident he’ll fall in love with it in time. But it might not be his favorite childhood film. That honor may likely go to a movie that hasn’t even been dreamed up yet. And who knows? Maybe his love of that future film will end up being the theme of my grandchild’s nursery.

* – The honor for first movie I ever saw at the theater goes to “E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial” at the Colonial Theater in Laconia, NH when I was 4-years-old.

** – The only other movie I came close to watching as many times as “The Muppet Movie” was 1987′s “The Chipmunk Adventure”.

We polled the staff at the Children’s Museum of New Hampshire to find out what their favorites were when they were kids. Do any of their picks match yours?

(1939) - Doug's pick / Caitlynne's 2nd pick

(1939) – Doug & Caitlynne’s pick

(1942) - Carol's pick

(1942) – Carol’s pick

(1960) - Katie's second pick

(1960) – Katie’s pick

(1964) - Heidi's pick

(1964) – Heidi’s pick

(1965) - Sarah & Meredith's pick

(1965) – Sarah & Meredith’s pick

(1967) - Heidi's second pick

(1967) – Heidi’s second pick

(1972) - Katie's second pick

(1972) – Katie’s second pick

(1977) - Jane's pick

(1977) – Jane’s pick

(1979) - Zach's pick

(1979) – Zach’s pick

(1982) - Jenaya's pick

(1982) – Jenaya’s pick

(1984) - Mark's pick

(1984) – Mark’s pick

(1984) - Crystal's pick

(1984) – Crystal’s pick

(1985) - Riley's pick

(1985) – Riley’s pick

(1985) - Crystal's second pick

(1985) – Crystal’s second pick

(1986) - Meghan's pick

(1986) – Meghan’s pick

(1986) - Caitlynne's second pick

(1986) – Caitlynne’s second pick

(1989) - Beth's pick

(1989) – Beth’s pick

(1989) - Sam's pick

(1989) – Sam’s pick

(1995) - Riley's second pick

(1995) – Riley’s second pick

(1999) - Annie's pick

(1999) – Annie’s pick

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Some quick observations about the Staff Picks:

- Nine of the twenty films were based on children’s books or fables.

- The Walt Disney Company is responsible for six films on the list.

- Steven Spielberg is associated with three of the films. (Spielberg directed “Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom”, contributed the story for, “The Goonies” and produced, “An American Tail”.)

- George Lucas is associated with two of the films. (Lucas wrote and directed “Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope” and wrote “Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom”)

- Jim Henson is associated with two of the films. (Henson produced and starred in “The Muppet Movie” and produced, co-directed and wrote the original story of “The Dark Crystal”)

- The most popular years for favorite childhood films of the CMNH staff were 1984, 1985, 1986, and 1989 – each year boasting two films.

What film did you watch a million times? What were some of the oft-watched family favorites growing up in your home? Brag about the movie that had the honor of being the favorite of your childhood in the comments section below!

Eager to Learn, Eager to Create – A Look at CMNH Art Camp

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Museum Educator Beth recently lead a three day Art Camp at CMNH for children ages 5 to 9 years old. The goal of the camp was to educate the campers about some of history’s greatest artists while allowing them the opportunity to create in the various styles of the artists they were learning about.

A sculpture takes form!

A sculpture takes form!

Beth, who has a Bachelor’s Degree in Art History with a Minor in Fine Arts from Plymouth State University, planned Art Camp over the last few months in the rare times she wasn’t interacting with families in the museum or launching new art projects for visitors to work on in the museum’s Muse Studio.

Narrowing the Focus

“Initially, I had a lot of ideas for lessons and projects, but I needed to take a step back and make sure the lessons were something all the campers – some of whom were almost five years apart – could conceptualize.”

"Can you make sure to get a picture of this flower that I drew?"

“Can you make sure to get a picture of this flower that I drew?”

But how does one decide which artists to cover when you only have three days?

“One of my hopes was that I could shed some light on some amazing artists that they wouldn’t necessarily be learning about in school yet,” says Beth.

“Of course,” she continues. “I also wanted to get them excited about learning about art as well as the whole process of creating art.”

“But narrowing down the list of artists we’d cover proved to be quite difficult,” admits Beth. “My list could have been much longer, but again, remembering the age of the children and what they’d likely respond to the strongest helped a great deal. All the artists that were chosen were well known, influential people who were revolutionaries in the art world at their respective times. Part of winnowing the list consisted of focusing on specific art movements that the children could comprehend and be inspired by. Yes, some of it was bound to be over their heads, but I was confident that the core concepts and ideas would not be lost on them. Ultimately, I felt that Impressionism and Cubism were movements that they would be able to understand. And, of course, I knew Pop Art would be something they could have a lot of fun with.”

Deleted Scenes

Had camp been longer, Beth has a pretty clear idea what other artists would have made the cut.

“I feel like I could have taught that camp everyday,” she admits. “It took me back to my college days, learning about a different artist each day. Jackson Pollock would have been great to teach the kids – with myriad directions we could have gone in. Jenny Holzer, who is still alive, focuses on text as art. She’s brilliant. Mark Rothko, a tortured man and a controversial artist, focused on color and emotion which the campers easily could have tapped into. Wassily Kandinsky, whose paintings have a clear childlike quality, would have been a lot of fun. Marcel Duchamp’s style of ready-made art could have been great and the I have to think the kids really would have been wowed with some of Salvador Dali’s pieces.”

Jackson Pollack, "Image Number 8" (1949)

Jackson Pollack, “Image Number 8″ (1949)

Jenny Holzer, "Survival" (1985)

Jenny Holzer, “Survival” (1985)

Mark Rothko, "Blue and Grey" (1962)

Mark Rothko, “Blue and Grey” (1962)

Wassily Kandinsky, "Composition VIII" (1923)

Wassily Kandinsky, “Composition VIII” (1923)

Marcel Duchamp, "With Hidden Noise" (1916)

Marcel Duchamp, “With Hidden Noise” (1916)

Salvador Dali, "The Persistence of Memory" (1931)

Salvador Dali, “The Persistence of Memory” (1931)

The Final Five

Ultimately, Beth’s final list of artists for Art Camp were Edgar Degas, Claude Monet, Vincent Van Gogh, Pablo Picasso and Andy Warhol. The campers had some familiarity with the eclectic group.

Degas

Degas

Monet

Monet

Van Gogh

Van Gogh

Picasso

Picasso

Warhol

Warhol

“I believe all of the kids had heard of Picasso,” Beth says. “His name was definitely known by them. They had a harder time identifying his works. Conversely, they all seemed to recognize Van Gogh’s ‘Starry Night’, but did not know the name of the artist. The names Monet, Degas and Warhol were a little foreign to them. A handful of the kids said they had seen some of their respective pieces when I showed them examples, but did not know the artist responsible.”

Despite her enthusiasm and extensive knowledge of the subject matter, Beth was still worried at the start of camp. Would the campers’ have a difficult time focusing on learning about and creating art when they’re based inside a children’s museum?

Monet, "The Japanese Bridge" (1899)

Monet, “The Japanese Bridge” (1899)

Water Lilies in the style of Monet

Water Lilies in the style of Monet

Colorful Bridge inspired by Monet

Colorful Bridge inspired by Monet

Watercolor water lilies in the style of Monet

Watercolor water lilies in the style of Monet

“I knew Art Camp would be a challenge because most children in that age range can be antsy and eager to play on a normal day, let alone when there’s a loud, bustling museum outside of the classroom walls – especially if they don’t already have a desire to sit and create on their own,” Beth shares. “My worries were that they wouldn’t be as enthusiastic as I was. I worried that it would start to feel like ‘work’ – which I know technically it is – but I didn’t want it to come across like it was a chore. I wanted the kids to see how passionately I felt about the art and about teaching it to them.  I was so relieved that my fears were unfounded and I was lucky to have such a great group of kids, several of which were wise beyond their years!”

Van Gogh, "Three Sunflowers" (1888)

Van Gogh, “Three Sunflowers” (1888)

3-D Flowers in clay pots, inspired by Van Gogh

3-D Flowers in clay pots, inspired by Van Gogh

Further painting and decoration of the Van Gogh-esque flower pieces

Further painting and decoration of the Van Gogh-esque flower pieces

Finishing Touches

By the end of the camp, each camper had compiled a full portfolio of artwork to share with their family and friends. Beth was pleased by the generally enthusiastic approach the campers had to learning about so many different artists and styles.

Degas, "Fin D'Arabesque" (1877)

Degas, “Fin D’Arabesque” (1877)

Pop-Up Ballerina inspired by Degas

Pop-Up Ballerina inspired by Degas

“I was delightfully surprised by the enthusiasm for the subject matter,” Beth says. “They all seemed eager to learn, eager to create, and open to doing something different.”

Warhol, "No Title" (1967)

Warhol, “No Title” (1967)

The campers black and white "Warhol-ized" portraits before they painted them, flanking two of Warhol's most famous works

The campers black and white “Warhol-ized” portraits before they painted them, flanking two of Warhol’s most famous works

See a short video of the campers paintings of their own handprints in the style of Andy Warhol.

“When parents have an interest in getting their children into the arts it makes me so happy. With so much funding for the arts being cut in schools these days, it’s important for parents to realize the importance of providing an environment for your children to express themselves; a place to get messy and let them be who they are. That’s the magic of art.”

Picasso, "Woman in Hat and Fur Collar" (1937)

Picasso, “Woman in Hat and Fur Collar” (1937)

The Picasso inspired, "A Woman's Face"

The Picasso inspired, “A Woman’s Face”

Another Picasso inspired portrait

Another Picasso inspired portrait

“When parents have an interest in getting their children into the arts it makes me so happy. With so much funding for the arts being cut in schools these days, it’s important for parents to realize the importance of providing an environment for your children to express themselves; a place to get messy and let them be who they are. That’s the magic of art.”

Despite three full days of Art Camp, it’s something that happened near the end of the program that will stay with Beth the longest.

“On the last day of camp, during our ‘free draw’ time, one of the campers approached me and asked me if I could write down all of the artists we learned about because she wanted to do further research about them and their art when camp was finished. She made my heart melt and I was so proud of the clear connection she had made to the art. It’s an experience like that that makes it all worth it.”

CMNH Art Camp - February 2014

CMNH Art Camp – February 2014

Be sure to check out the video below for some brief words from a few of our campers about their Art Camp experience!

A Skinnier Shamrock

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Tomorrow, March 17th, is St. Patrick’s Day. In a horrifying affront to my Irish heritage, I grew up loving the Shamrock Shake at McDonald’s. Irish or not, chances are you’ve tasted the bright green concoction that the fast food giant has been selling annually during the month of March since it was first introduced as the St. Patrick’s Day Shake in 1970 and then changed to the Shamrock Shake in 1978. (I can only speak for the New England area. The Shamrock Shake wasn’t available nationally until 2012!)

What's a shamrock taste like anyway? Answer: Mint

What’s a shamrock taste like anyway? Answer: Mint (apparently)

I haven’t had a Shamrock Shake since I swore off fast food years ago, but when my son is old enough, can I really deny/insult his Irish heritage by withholding this seasonal mint treat? Yes and no.

Yes, I can absolutely stop him from having one. For several reasons. #1. A large Shamrock Shake is an astronomical 820 calories. That’s equal to almost 2 Big Macs or 3 Egg McMuffins. #2. It contains ingredients that are not good for a young child (let alone an adult), such as High Fructose Corn Syrup, Sugar, Heavy Cream #3. It includes ingredients that are so scary I can’t even pronounce them, such as Carrageenan, Monoglycerides, Guar Gum, & Polysorbate 80. In total, the Shamrock Shake has over FIFTY ingredients!

No, I will not deny him the deliciousness of the Shamrock Shake because I’ve found a healthy – but, and here’s the key: still very tasty – Shamrock Shake alternative!

The geniuses at Skinny Kitchen created a Skinny & Fat-Free Shamrock Shake that will quickly become a St. Patrick’s Day tradition in our home and most likely yours. It’s 16 ounces and clocks in at only 184 calories! Quite the difference, no? Plus, it only takes about 10 minutes to prepare.

Ingredients for Shake:

¾ cup fat-free frozen vanilla yogurt

½ cup fat-free milk

⅛ teaspoon peppermint extract or mint extract

5 drops green food coloring

2 packets Truvia, Stevia, Splenda or your favorite sugar substitute

3-4 ice cubes


Ingredients for Topping:

Fat-free or Light whipped cream, optional


Instructions

1. Combine all shake ingredients in a blender and blend on high speed until smooth.  Stop blender and stir with a spoon to help blend everything.

2. Pour into a 16 oz glass. Top with light whipped cream, if desired and enjoy immediately. You really don’t need the whipped cream. It still tastes great without it!

The Skinny Kitchen site has a lot more healthy recipes that the whole family will enjoy.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

ps – Don’t forget to check out this vintage television commercial of Grimace’s “Irish” Uncle O’Grimacey shilling the early Shamrock Shakes!

Pi Pies Pie Chart

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Happy Pi Day everyone!

Pi Day is celebrated each March 14th. Get it? 3.14? I don’t want to get too bogged down in the origins of Pi Day or how the mathematical constant known as pi works, because I want to get to the part we’re all waiting for: PIE!

Because pi without the “e” is far less delicious than the kind with the “e”, many people celebrate Pi Day by baking pies! Sadly, we didn’t have a chance to bake and eat all of our favorite pies here at CMNH, so we did the next best thing: Conduct a Pi Day Pie Survey! We surveyed our staff, volunteers, and two school groups – one from Sanford, ME and one from Kennebunk, ME – and asked them a pretty simple question.

“What’s your absolute favorite pie?”

{Click on the chart to see a bigger version!}

{Click on the chart to see a bigger version!}

Here are the very scientific (and questionably nutritious) results! How did your favorite pie fare?

A few pies only garnered one vote. They were: Peach, Chocolate Peanut Butter, Pear & Gouda(!), Chicken Pot, Raspberry, Blackberry, Peanut Butter, & Butterscotch Pudding.

We hope you’re all having a delicious Pi Day!

When Ice is Nice

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Embracing the cold . . . all year long

The weather in New England is always interesting on any given day, but this winter has been especially memorable. When it’s not snowing close to two feet of snow causing people (and cars, buildings, Giant Blue Crabs, etc.) to be totally buried in the fluffy white stuff, it’s in the mid-50′s with families walking, jogging and playing outside.

At CMNH, we offer a safe and warm facility for families to enjoy – especially on those sub-zero Polar vortex days we’ve recently experienced. On moderate winter days, one of our favorite activities is guiding families into Henry Law Park in front of our building and creating Snow Art!

Our visitors use spray bottles full of non-toxic watercolor paint and water to decorate the landscape in Henry Law Park

Our visitors use spray bottles full of non-toxic watercolor paint and water to decorate the landscape in Henry Law Park

But whether the weather is freezing, windy, hailing or sizzling, one of the most popular indoor activities we run at CMNH is Ice Art. When we set up larger Ice Art projects (consisting of several tubs of ice) they can be worked on in the Muse Studio, while our smaller ones (usually one tub with one large or several smaller pieces of ice) can be found in the Naturalist Study near the CochecoNature exhibit on the first floor of the museum.

Parents & children (and staff!) experiment with cups of colored saltwater to see how their actions affect the ice.

- Does the salt make the ice melt faster or slower?

- What is the advantage of using a pipette to administer the solution?

- Do colors mix the same way on ice/water as they do on paper?

- How does an items density affect how it freezes inside the ice?

- How much time do you think it will take to free a trapped treasure from the ice?

- How do you make stripes of color – or a rainbow – in the ice without the colors mixing?

Through the help of our visitors, here’s some knowledge we’ve gleaned thus far in our years of ice exploration:

- Some dice floated to the top before freezing while some sunk.

- Glitter always floats before freezing.

- We had to weight the plastic sharks so they would freeze in the center of the ice.

- Ribbon is fun to freeze. Fabric is not fun to freeze.

- Pencils are fun to freeze. Pens are not fun to freeze.

- Plastic bugs look cool trapped in ice. Plastic food looks gross trapped in ice.

- Colors that slowly drip from one section of ice to another can create cool swirling effects. Too many colors in the ice at once causes brown and gray water. Yuck.

- Freezing different colors side-by-side takes a few days as each color must be frozen on its own first.

- The plastic human brain mold was our most popular ice shape. (Sadly, human brain mold developed a crack last year and had to be retired.)

- Visitors most favorite trapped ice objects are – hands down – plastic dinosaurs of all shapes and sizes.

Ice Art is an inexpensive, fun activity that can be done at home with Plastic containers, small cups, pipettes or paint brushes, table salt and watercolor paint or food coloring (but we recommend the paint as it washes off easier). The bigger the shape that you’re freezing, the more time it will need in the freezer. Museum Educators often set up their ice projects at the end of the museum day to be ready for the following morning.

Enjoy this short video of some of our most interesting ice art that we’ve seen at CMNH!

Zach once ate so many coconut flavored popsicles in a row that everything he ate for six months tasted like coconut.

CMNH & Libraries Walk Hand in Hand

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Promoting Literacy in Alternative Educational Environments

by Meredith LaMothe

The Children’s Museum of New Hampshire has been committed to promoting literacy with children for over thirty years. We share numerous goals with libraries that foster a love of reading, including exploring and learning in a fun and safe environment, making our services available to all people through library membership programs, promoting activities that pull in a wide range of audiences and bringing those activities to different locations through our outreach program. The Children’s Museum offers a variety of programs from our Summer Library Outreach program and Books Alive events to our weekly Storytime Sundays and our Library Membership Program that offers museum discounts through libraries. All of these programs aim to promote literacy and strengthen relationships between the museum and our neighboring libraries.

CMNH Educator Meredith leads the Summer 2013 library program about bioluminescence at Wiggin Memorial Library in Stratham, NH

CMNH Educator Meredith leads the Summer 2013 library program about bioluminescence at Wiggin Memorial Library in Stratham, NH

We are entering the third year of offering our fantastic annual library outreach program that relates to the ALA summer reading theme. The summer 2014 theme of “Fizz…Boom…Think!” will focus on recycling, saving the earth and learning about the human footprint through hands-on projects, demonstrations and fun! Programs in the past have been “Up All Night in New Hampshire!” and “Dig Into the Deep Sea: Fish Aren’t Afraid of the Dark.”

One of the participants shares his homemade underwater creature with Meredith

One of the participants shares his homemade underwater creature with Meredith

We travel to libraries all over New Hampshire, Maine, and northeast Massachusetts to present an hour long program. We’ve received much positive feedback from host libraries and cannot wait to begin another summer of bringing the museum to you!

You may want to call this a Rainbow Jellyfish but its real name Ctenophore or, "Comb Jelly" for short.

You may want to call this a Rainbow Jellyfish but its real name Ctenophore or, “Comb Jelly” for short.

Since 2006, our Books Alive program brings beloved costumed storybook characters to the museum three times each year. Recently we’ve had visits from Curious George and The Man in the Yellow Hat, Clifford and Emily Elizabeth, The Lorax and Corduroy! These events are very popular.

Books Alive! with Corduroy

Books Alive! with Corduroy

Books Alive! with Meredith & Sister Berenstain Bear

Books Alive! with Meredith & Sister Berenstain Bear

Stories about these characters are read, activities that related to the books are available and – of course – children can meet these storybook friends and have their pictures taken with them or just give a quiet high five. These events bring books to life as children step into the story and meet characters that are their friends. We also use this program to promote libraries as a resource and place where families can find the books we read and have on display for each Books Alive.

CMNH Experience Guide Riley meets Clifford the Big Red Dog & Mer . . . er, Emily Elizabeth during a Books Alive! event at CMNH

CMNH Experience Guide Riley meets Clifford the Big Red Dog & Mer . . . er, Emily Elizabeth during a Books Alive! event at CMNH

Books Alive! with Curious George & The Man in the Yellow Hat

Books Alive! with Curious George & The Man in the Yellow Hat

We also host a weekly program called, “Storytime with Meredith & Stu”. Our storytime is hosted by me – CMNH Educator Meredith Lamothe  – and local musician Stu Dias.

Storytime with Meredith & Stu - every Sunday @ 2PM at CMNH!

Storytime with Meredith & Stu – every Sunday @ 2PM at CMNH!

I read several stories on a theme – sometimes incorporating puppets or felt boards and Stu sings a few songs and sometimes joins in reading the stories. He will usually write a song specifically to suit the theme and is recording an album of these songs later this year!

Meredith & Stu prepare for a Royalty themed Sunday Storytime

Meredith & Stu prepare for a Royalty themed Sunday Storytime

Storytime is a great opportunity for families to get together and relax while enjoying books and music. We find Sundays to be a convenient time for families that might not be able to get to a weekday storytime at their local library.

Storytime duo Meredith & Stu will shout from the rooftops about how much they love reading to kids!

Storytime duo Meredith & Stu will shout from the rooftops about how much they love reading to kids!

We hope to meet many of you through our outreach program this summer or during your visit to CMNH. If your library doesn’t currently participate in our membership program, we’re always happy to explain the different levels of participation available for those communities that are interested in their libraries working with the Children’s Museum of New Hampshire.

Stu & Meredith celebrate their Fall themed Storytime in Henry Law Park in front of the museum in Dover, NH

Stu & Meredith celebrate their Fall themed Storytime in Henry Law Park in front of the museum in Dover, NH

We feel strongly that libraries and children’s museums walk hand in hand in their goals to foster a love of reading and promote literacy with visitors of all ages.

Meredith is a museum educator at CMNH. She is one half of, “Storytime with Meredith & Stu” and an original presenter of our summer library outreach program. She is also a MLIS candidate at Simmons College and reference librarian at Scarborough Public Library. Parts of this piece were originally published in, “Granite State Libraries” Newsletter from the New Hampshire State Library.

CMNH FoodWorks – Mini Iron Chef: Pizza Edition!

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Later today, the Children’s Museum of New Hampshire will host our third Mini Iron Chef Challenge as part of FoodWorks, our partnership with Hannaford Supermarkets. Museum Educator Meghan, who led our last FoodWorks event, is back at the helm again.

Screen shot 2014-03-09 at 11.12.04 AMThe original Iron Chef started in Japan in 1993, with the dubbed versions airing in the United States on The Food Network becoming so popular that Iron Chef America debuted on the network in 2005 and is still producing episodes today. A hallmark of each episode of Iron Chef in all its incarnations is the secret ingredient.

Secret ingredients from the history of the television series include such diverse selections as Asparagus, Eggplant, Lobster, Tilapia, Beets, Ostrich, Mango, Apples, Squid, Coconut, Wild Chinook Salmon and Zucchini.

Ripe mango fruit isolatedLobsteraubergineostrichCoconut

 

 

 

 

 

During past CMNH FoodWorks Mini Iron Chef challenges, the secret ingredients were revealed to be applesauce and vanilla yogurt. What will today’s secret ingredient be? We can promise you that Ostrich and Wild Chinook Salmon will definitely NOT be revealed to be this year’s secret ingredient!

Each Adult/Child pair will be making pizza for our panel of judges. The teams have been given a list of ingredients that will be available to them. How will they react when they find out the secret ingredient? How will they adapt it to the recipe they’ve been practicing at home?

Stay tuned for pictures, the Judges’ Results, and a report on all the delicious fun!

CMNH FoodWorks – Crock-pot Cooking for Kids!

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My name is Meghan and I am an educator at the Children’s Museum of New Hampshire. I want to tell you about a great event I recently led as part of our FoodWorks series.

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Every two months, CMNH – in partnership with Hannaford Grocery Stores – hosts an edition of our FoodWorks series. In the past, we’ve focused on creating quick and nutritious meals, educating families about food allergies, and hosting our own Local Roots Food Fair. FoodWorks is a great series that focuses on healthy eating for the whole family. There are many reasons that we love the FoodWorks events, but what I enjoy most about it is getting to work with Heidi Kerman, Registered Dietician for Hannaford. Having Heidi on hand to answer the many questions museum families have about nutrition makes a fun event extra educational. (It’s ok, you don’t have to tell the kids that’s it’s educational! That can be our secret!)

The ever-helpful Heidi

The ever-helpful Heidi

Heidi has given CMNH visitors great tips for picky eaters, exciting ways to introduce children to new food, and pointers for how to make your meals as healthy as they are tasty.

CMNH Educator Jenaya offers crockpot support to one of our visitors

CMNH Educator Jenaya offers crock-pot support to one of our visitors

Crockpot Lasagna is a great and easy meal on a cold day!

Crock-pot Lasagna is a great and easy meal on a cold day!

Our most recent FoodWorks event was, “Crock-pot Cooking for Kids!” I had never cooked in a crock-pot before so I was a little anxious. I decided on three recipes to cook up for the event. I spent the day before the event preparing the ingredients for one recipe that people typically associate with crock-pots – chili – and two recipes that people definitely do not associate with crock-pots – lasagna and applesauce! Despite my initial worries, I found out pretty quickly that I had nothing to worry about! The recipes were simple and tasty, and were loved by adults and children alike.

I’d like to share with you some of the recipes we made at our Crock-pot Cooking for Kids event:

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Our crockpot applesauce made the whole room fill up with wonderful apple scents!

Our crockpot applesauce made the whole room fill up with wonderful apple scents!

These recipes are allergy-friendly and easy to change to suit your family’s needs.

We all had so much fun. Our visitors even got in on the action, helping us make a new batch of our delicious chili! I hope that if you missed this awesome event you will be able to join our next CMNH/Hannaford Food Works event in March where we will be having our own Mini Iron Chef competition! This year it’s a special pizza edition!

Meghan B. (and the whole CMNH Team!)

Meghan prepares for some Crock-pot Cooking!

Meghan prepares for some Crock-pot Cooking!

30 years and counting …

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cm_sub_logo_rgb_130pixelsThe start of a new year brings a sense of promise and revitalization — a chance to reflect on the past and set goals for the future. Here at the Children’s Museum of New Hampshire, staff members have been sharing memories from the past 30 years as well as envisioning how we can continue to build a bright future for the Museum and everyone who is part of our community.

How do we do this? We ask ourselves tough questions about what we do, why we do it, and the impact we have on families, schools and community organizations.

Do we provide valuable experiences for visitors of all ages?

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From First Friends for children as young as six months old and the Make It or Break It afterschool club for up to age 12, to the Dover Mini Maker Faire for all ages and the Alzheimer’s Café for seniors, we are engaging with people at all stages of life.

Do we give families reasons to keep coming back?

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Our educators and exhibit team are always cooking up new ideas and experiments designed to deepen the impact of a Museum visit and provide fresh and exciting experiences for our frequent visitors.

Are we meeting the needs of schools? 

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Tying our group visits to teacher’s curriculum makes a visit to the Museum relevant. For schools that can’t reach us because of distance or bussing costs, we will pilot taking our programs out to schools this spring.

Can everyone who wants to participate in the Museum access our programs and services?

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Our Reach All Initiative ensures that families and schools have free or reduced price access to the Museum. Programs like Exploring Our Way also provide free access to families with children on the autism spectrum.

N.H. Children's Museum

the Children’s Museum of New Hampshire

Although times change, some things remain the same, such as the need to provide children and families with a safe and stimulating environment where they can take risks, ignite their creative potential and explore their passions. This is what has been fueling our work for the past 30 years, and we look forward to the next 30 years of nurturing new generations of innovative thinkers.

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