Summer Programming Wrap Up

“Play is the work of the child.” – Maria Montessori

   Hello everyone! It’s hard to believe that summer’s coming to an end- some of our local elementary schools are already back in session. We debuted a couple of new S.T.E.M.-based activities over the last couple months and hope you had a chance to experience them. Our goal was to promote science, technology, engineering, and mathematics in an informal, play-based environment. Inquiry plays an especially important role in early childhood science learning- “What happens if. . . ?” and “What if we try this?” We were happy to hear this type of dialogue between the children and their parents, our staff, and other children.

Once a week, we took over the art center for S.M.Art Fridays- science, math, and art. Kids became the architects in our fort-building activity and used shapes to create Mondrian-inspired art. Spaghetti and packing peanuts turned into construction materials on “Make an Earthquake-Proof Building” day.

The fun didn’t stop there! Our awesome volunteers ran the “Let’s Take It Outside” activities. We experimented with different paper airplane designs and learned about how bubbles form. The “Frozen Exploration” ice activity was another popular one- kids used tools and water to free plastic animals and other treasures from a big block of ice.

Early childhood is an incredible time- kids are building their motor skills, language, interpersonal relationships, and generally learning how the world works. By pairing this development with S.T.E.M. exploration, we’re trying to spark the imagination of our future scientists. We hope that you had a chance to enjoy some of these activities and maybe even continue some at home.

S.M.Art Fridays will continue every Friday in August in the Family Art Center from 11-3.

“Let’s Take It Outside” activities are offered on the weekends (weather permitting and depending on volunteer availability)

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Full S.T.E.A.M Ahead This Summer!

Hello, summer! The school year just flew by, didn’t it? With a busy summer season approaching, we’ve been hard at work creating new activities for kids of all ages. You may have heard or seen the word S.T.E.A.M a lot lately- it stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Mathematics. This summer we’ll be debuting several new S.T.E.A.M-based activities that will get even the youngest child excited about learning.

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S.M.Art Station Fridays in the Family Art Center

Each Friday, our art room will be taken over by your young scientists. They’ll build a roller coaster, experiment with balloon rockets, create a fort city out of cardboard boxes, and more! We’ll have a different activity every week.

S.M.Art Station Fridays, every Friday from 11-3pm. Visit lhcm.org for details. Free with paid admission.

Let’s Take it Outside Activities

Our volunteers will be hosting different activities each week outside on the brick patio. This month you can try our Paper Airplane Challenge- How does a paper airplane fly through the air? Make your own and see how far it can go! Or, maybe you’d rather grab a wand and check out the Bubble Lab. Have some good clean fun while you investigate the properties of bubbles.

Time and day will vary; call (562) 383 4236 for schedule or visit lhcm.org. Free with paid admission.

July: Frozen Exploration & Junk Boat Challenge

August: Earthquakes! Is Your House Still Standing? & Bubble Lab

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Scholarship Tours and Community Outreach

Wow, it’s been a busy spring here at the Museum. We opened our new exhibit, Creepy Crawlies, we’ve been implementing new programs like our Girl Scout overnight campout, and we have hundreds of local students coming for field trips every week!

But our work isn’t just what you see contained within the Museum walls. Community outreach is a vital part of our Museum mission. Having a presence at special events is a great way for us to meet our community as well as get exposure to people who aren’t familiar with the Museum yet. A few weeks ago we had a booth at the Baby and Kidz Expos in Pasadena and Costa Mesa, and we’ll also be at Imaginology- Full S.T.E.A.M. Ahead! at the OC Fair and Event Center this Friday.

Another important part of outreach is our grant-funded scholarship program. Qualified schools receive an in-class workshop taught by Museum staff, free admission to the Museum, and a bus voucher for their transportation. In the pictures below, you can see some excited students in our earthquake-themed 2nd grade workshop. They’re using marshmallows and toothpicks to build structures which are then placed on a Jell-O tray to simulate an earthquake. The workshops are created to reflect Next Generation Science Standards, so we get to learn while we have fun. We’re very grateful to be able to offer these learning opportunities to K-2 students in our community!

   A limited number of scholarships are available. The interest list opens every August for the coming school year.Only Title 1 schools may apply. For California Science Quest scholarships, contact Kristine at ksmith@lahabraca.gov. For On the Road to Energy Conservation (OTREC) or H2O Here We Go! (La Habra school district only), please contact Eden at echung@lahabra.gov. Scholarships are awarded on a first-come, first-serve basis.

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Antique and Collectibles Sale

Have you ever wondered what happens to all the cool artifacts and objects from our past exhibits? Typically our curator and staff place items that aren’t being displayed in our storage unit. We love to reuse them in future exhibits or events. In a perfect world, we’d have unlimited space for these unusual collections. However, we’ve gathered so many unique items that it’s time for a little spring cleaning!

This Saturday, February 6th, we’re holding our first ever Antiques and Collectibles Sale! We’ve been busy tagging and cleaning lots of one-of-a-kind treasures, like vintage cameras, military equipment, educational materials, and much, much more! All proceeds go directly to the museum to provide funding for future exhibits and programming. If you’ve ever wanted to own a custom-built space shuttle or a small piece of La Habra history, now’s your chance. Hope to see you!

Antique and Collectibles Sale

Saturday, February 6th from 10am to 4pm

(562) 383-4236

Creepy Crawlies Sneak Peek!

Did you know that, pound for pound, spider silk is stronger than steel? Or that if you rounded up all the ants on Earth they’d weigh more than all the people? Want to get up close and personal with a big yellow banana slug or a walking stick hiding in plain sight? Visitors can see all this and more at our upcoming Creepy Crawlies exhibit! Opening March 29th 2016, it will offer a glimpse into the hidden lives of these fascinating yet sometimes misunderstood little creatures.

Museum staff are already hard at work preparing for the exhibit, so we thought we’d offer a behind-the-scenes look at one of our new live animals: a gorgeous adult Vietnamese centipede. This impressive arthropod is about 8 inches long when fully grown. Here at the Children’s Museum it eats crickets, but in the wild they’ll chomp down on anything they can catch, including the occasional rodent or frog! Despite their name, they’re found all over Southeast Asia, not just Vietnam. Similar but smaller species of centipede are even found right here in the United States, mainly in the southwest.

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Photo credit- “Scolopendra subspinipes mutilans DSC 1438” by Yasunori Koide. Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Commons

Centipedes use their speed, legs, and venomous bite to catch and subdue prey. They live about 10 years and hide in burrows or under rocks. Many people wonder about the difference between centipedes and millipedes- centipedes only have 1 pair of legs per body segment, and are predators. Their slower-moving relatives, the millipedes, have 2 pairs of legs per body segment and eat plants and decaying plant matter.

Now, we know that some of our more bug-averse visitors might be EW!-ing from their seats, but remember that centipedes and all the other “creepy crawlies” are important parts of their complex ecosystems. They help keep the balance in the populations of the prey that they eat. They also serve as a food source for birds and reptiles.  Centipedes, like most venomous insects or spiders, will only attack if provoked.  We hope that seeing an unusual creature like this Vietnamese centipede will inspire our visitors to learn about more animals, as well as the world around us!

Make slime at home!

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Keep your little ones occupied this winter break with some fun, educational science experiments! A favorite experiment at the Children’s Museum at La Habra is homemade slime! You may have the supplies for this experiment already in you cupboard!

Materials

8 oz white glue bottle

Food coloring

Borax

Water

Zip lock baggies (to store your experiment!)

Spoon

Mixing bowl

Experiment

Step one: Combine equal parts of white glue and warm water and mix.

Step two (Optional): Add a few drops of food coloring to give your slime some pizazz. (FYI parents: Too much food coloring can stain)

Step Three: In a separate container mix a teaspoon of borax with ½ cup warm water until dissolved.

Step Four: While stirring the glue in the mixing bowl, slowly add a little of the Borax solution. You will notice that you’re soupy liquid is now changing shape!

Step Five: Use your hands for better mixing.

What is this magic?!!

No, it’s not magic. It’s science! The mixture of glue with Borax and water produces a putty-like material called a polymer. Mixing the borax and water solution with the glue resulted in a reaction. Another example of a reaction is mixing vinegar and baking soda that bubbles when combined.

Have fun with it and experiment by adding more or less borax solution! You can place the finished product in a zip lock to keep, or roll it into a ball, let dry and bounce it outside!

 

 

National Family Literacy Month

Hello, friends! Did you know that November is National Family Literacy Month? According to the National Center for Families Learning,

Literacy is essential to success in today’s economy, now more than ever. The family literacy approach harnesses the strength of parent-child bonds to help those who are most at risk of failing economically, emotionally, and socially. We build success by strengthening their confidence, increasing their ability, and broadening their outlook.

What a powerful message! We thought it would be fun to see what our staff’s favorite books are.

Scott (Visitor Services)- Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak.

Lynn (Visitor Services)- Madeline by Ludwig Bemelmans. “This series was always my favorite. They all stood in line except Madeline.”

Lorena (Visitor Services)- Little Bear. “This was one of my favorite books as a kid, a cute little bed time story that I read over and over.”

Ally (Visitor Services)- If you Give a Mouse a Cookie by Laura Numeroff and Lyle Lyle Crocodile by Bernard Webar.

Kristine (Visitor Services)- The Giant Jam Sandwich by John Vernon Lord. “A town is invaded by wasps so they make a giant sandwich to trap them. Enough said.”

Steven (Volunteer Coordinator)- Where the Sidewalk Ends by Shel Silverstein. “I loved how silly they were and would try to draw the pictures in my notebook.”

Maria (Assistant Director)- The Napping House by Audrey Wood. “This book would always help my kids wind down for bed when they were little. The illustrations are beautiful and the story is quite sweet.”

Lisa (Curator of Exhibits and Education)- “My older sister had a set of Dr. Seuss books (this was back in the 60’s, so they were probably originals) and she wouldn’t let me read them, so one day I snuck the entire set into the barn and camped out in a manger reading all the books in one day (along with a horse).”

Eden (Exhibits and Education Assistant)- The Tacky Penguin by Helen Lester.

What are your favorite books? Leave us a comment below, and check out the books in our Preschool Play Park treehouse, Nature Walk, or Nanny’s Travels to create your own story time!

For more resources on family learning and literature, visit Reading Rockets  and Wonderopolis. Happy reading!

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Volunteers make the world go round!

With Thanksgiving right around the corner, the museum staff is feeling thankful to the many individuals that help the museum run – our amazing volunteers! The museum is fortunate to have a roster of dedicated volunteers who lend their time and skill to ensure our guests have an unforgettable visit. Volunteers at the museum work in many capacities, from helping with craft prep to conducting fundraisers!

Our weekend volunteers are primarily made up of local high school students who, with their already busy schedules, give their time and energy to assist with events and activities. You can see our weekend volunteers swarming around operating our Dentzel Carousel and conducting animal presentations of our critters in our Nature Walk gallery.

Another indispensable part of the museum machine is the museum guild. The guild is comprised of a group of energetic and creative ladies who come together to support educational programs by fundraising throughout the year through various events. The museum guild also runs and maintains the Fascination Station (the Museum gift shop!)

Our Target Free Sunday’s could not be possible without the help and generosity of the National Charity League and the museum volunteers who help prepare activities and crafts for hundreds of eager families out for an afternoon of fun.

Thank you volunteers for your continued support of The Children’s Museum at La Habra!

Visit the museum and share what you are thankful for on our Tree of Appreciation in our Nannie’s Travels gallery!

Tree of Appreciation!

Mini Monsters Bash and Dia de Los Muertos

Wow, October just flew by and we hope yours was as fun and busy as ours! On October 30th we had our annual Mini Monsters Bash and it was a graveyard smash! Visitors enjoyed a costume parade, special crafts and activities, and animal presentations. Our art room was transformed into a spooky maze and our friends from PizzaRev showed up with a game to add to the excitement. Museum staff got into the Halloween spirit with our costumes, too. Thanks to all who attended!

The fun didn’t stop there! November 1st was our Target Free Sunday with a Dia de los Muertos theme. Students from Lynwood High School volunteered their time to paint faces and work our crafts booths and sugar skull decorating class. Our staff set up a special altar, or ofrenda, honoring family and loved ones. Day of the Dead altars are built to honor the lives of those who have passed. They are often quite beautiful creations, constructed with love and care. Creating these altars is one of the most important traditions during Day of the Dead in Mexico and in Mexican-American communities around the globe. On top of the altar, offerings are laid out for the dead. These are items that the spirits will enjoy when they come back to earth to visit their living families and friends.

Here are some some pictures from our events, and hope everyone had a safe and fun Halloween!

Pumpkin Carving!

Pumpkin carving is a Halloween tradition that encourages young and old to roll up their sleeves, dive in, and get messy! It is a wonderful opportunity for families to take a moment to create and work alongside their little ones! Feeling uninspired and doubtful of your pumpkin designing skills? Well, fear not! For some pumpkin carving ideas for kids check out this article from Better Homes and Gardens!

Engage your little one’s creativity and think outside the box to add some character to your gourd. There are endless ways to decorate a pumpkin. Paint, carve, glue- whatever the design you will be providing your youngsters with a memory that will last a life time!

Don’t forget about our Mini Monsters Bash on Friday, October 30th from 10-12! We will be having special Halloween themed crafts, a mini maze, and presentations of our critters! PizzaRev in La Habra will also be hosting a fundraiser for the museum! Stop by anytime from 11am-10pm and mention the museum to support the Children’s Museum at La Habra!

Have a happy Halloween!