Family Game Week

Hi there! Thank you to everyone who has been following along with this week’s theme, Family Game Week! We love games as a way to play together as a family while having fun. But did you ever stop to think of the learning that’s happening while playing games? Counting, patterns, observing, and making predictions are essential STEM skills that are also part of game play.

We thought we’d start with a simple game of bingo. Here’s a link to the bingo cards that were distributed to the museum. You’ll also need to print the bingo call sheet.

Children’s Museum Bingo Cards 

bingo call sheet

If you’d like to play at home, print out the cards (there are 8 different designs) and make sure that each person playing has a different design. You’ll also need a bingo “marker” to cover the number that is covered on your card- we like using pennies or small squares of construction paper. Also print the bingo call sheet- cut out the letter/numbers and put them in a hat or basket for the bingo caller to pick. The first person to make fill their squares in up, down, or across is the winner- Bingo!



Sidewalk chalk play is familiar to a lot of children and their caregivers. It’s inexpensive, easy to use, and tactile. Take your chalk play to the next level by drawing a “sidewalk maze” and having your child walk along it. Ask your child to draw different shapes or lines, which builds their motor skills while reinforcing shape recognition. Drawing patterns (circle, square, circle) also reinforces math and observational skills. You can use your chalk in classic games like hopscotch, or create your own games together! Try using your chalk on different surfaces (black construction paper, brick, concrete) and talk about your observations. We love dipping chalk in water for a smoother application, or drawing on wet pavement. The possibilities are endless!

Click this link for more chalk play ideas from our educational partner, Angela Russ-Ayon/

Chalk activities



Caterpillars 101

Hi friends! Thank you again to all who have supported us through a caterpillar adoption or tuned in to our Instagram Live. For anyone who missed that or would like to know more, keep reading!

You have adopted a Painted Lady caterpillar. Painted ladies are one of almost 200,000 species of butterflies! Painted ladies are found all over the world. The caterpillars feed on various plants like thistle, certain daisies, and cheeseweed. Adults drink nectar from flowers. All butterflies undergo a complete metaphormosis, or change from one form to another.

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Your caterpillar will spend about a week in its caterpillar form. You don’t need to feed it or give it water- it comes with all the food it needs. Keep it at room temperature, away from sunlight or cold air. As much as we want to look at our caterpillar, try not to open the lid too much- you risk it falling out, and this can let in germs that might make your caterpillar sick. It will shed its skin several times before it turns into a chrysalis, getting bigger and bigger each time.

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Meanwhile, you’ll need to prepare a butterfly box. When your butterfly comes out of its chrysalis, it needs space for its wings to develop properly. If the butterfly “hatches” while in the cup, its wings will be deformed and it won’t be able to fly.

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Use a shoebox or similar-sized container. If you have netting or screen-type material, use that to cover the open end. If you don’t have netting, simply cover the opening with plastic wrap or cut a Ziploc bag to fit, then poke a few holes in for air. Place a twig or stick in the box- your butterfly will need to climb up something, and then hang upside down while it pumps body fluid into its wings to expand them.

You can also use “bug houses” like the one shown below. Again, place a stick inside to give it a place to hang upside down when the butterfly emerges.

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After about a week, your caterpillar will stop eating, climb to the top of the cup, and form into a chrysalis. Yay, this means that it is one step closer to becoming a butterfly!

Do not handle or try to move the chrysalis for at least 24 hours after this change!
After 24 hours, gently remove the coffee filter/chrysalis and tape securely halfway up the side of your butterfly box. Note: If your chrysalis is not attached to the coffee filter, just put it on the bottom of your box. Again, be very careful and gentle when handling the chrysalis.

Look at the photo of the butterfly box above- you can see the paper with the chrysalis attached that is taped halfway up the side of the container.

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After a few days in chrysalis form, your butterfly will emerge! Watch as its wings go from small, soft, and crumpled to strong and flat.

If you’d like to keep it in your container for a few days, you’ll want to feed it. You can mix equal parts brown sugar and water, then dip a cotton ball into this and place it in your butterfly box. You can also give it slices of juicy fruit like oranges or watermelon! If you have a small spray bottle, mist the box gently once a day
 with water. Make sure that the spray bottle you use is clean and has no chemicals in it.

It will live 2-4 weeks in its adult form as a butterfly. You can keep it in your container with food the whole time, or you may choose to release it. If you’d like to release it, wait at least 24 hours for your butterfly’s wings to harden, and release it on a nice, sunny afternoon. Good bye and good luck, butterfly!


Many people are alarmed to see red liquid coming from their butterfly when it first emerges from its chrysalis- don’t worry, that’s not blood! The red liquid is called meconium and is stored waste from when the butterfly is in its chrysalis form.

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Good question! Male butterflies have a skinny abdomen (the last part of an insect body), while females have a more plump and round one. Of course, it can be hard to tell unless you have several butterflies to compare.

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Butterflies are being harmed due to loss of habitat (living spaces) and certain chemicals that people use in their gardens. Think about adding a few butterfly-friendly plants to your garden. A good list is found HERE on the Monarch Butterfly Garden website. Also, plants that we consider “weeds” are often food for butterflies, so leave them some weeds! Finally, insecticide sprays used to control mosquitoes or other garden pests can be harmful to all insects, so limit use if possible. Your new butterfly friends will thank you!







Behind the Scenes: American Native!

Native American Friendship Day.png

Though we are so sad to say goodbye to our Dinosaurs exhibit (which we know you all LOVED), we are so excited to bring American Native to our Museum audience! American Native: First Nations Tales is a story-telling celebration of indigenous cultures, complete with amazing visual aids provided by community members and arranged by our Museum Curator, Lisa Reckon.

Lisa has worked hard to incorporate visual elements, arguably one of the most central parts of the exhibit, following story-telling as the main focus. Let’s learn more about how these visual elements contribute to the oral histories that Indigenous communities are known for!


One of the focuses, if not the main focus, of our new changing gallery is the element of story-telling. Storytelling is a traditional art form which has been practiced for thousands of years in every society and culture known to humankind. For indigenous cultures, storytelling has evolved as an important way of transforming knowledge from one generation to another! Why the focus on storytelling in this gallery? Well, traditional indigenous stories have been passed through folktales, songs, rituals, chants and even artifacts. These oral narratives are critical historical components that pre-date written words! They explain the culture and how it came to be (Scroggie, 2009). IMG_7853Above is one of the many stories available for exploration in this exhibit. It’s important to remember that all stories have a purpose. This story provides us with several themes about community, paying reverence to land and animals, and tells us the importance that corn played in this particular tribe. Each story has many takeaways and we are so excited for our families to read, enjoy, and reflect on each story!




Beadwork is another important and vital part to indigenous cultures that we explore in American Native. The precise and delicate nature of beading makes it special as a decoration and adornment, but did you know they had a deeper purpose? Before there were ways to write, indigenous folks mastered storytelling and the visual aids we use to understand. Beading was an extension of storytelling that could travel, allowing different tribes to not only see art from different regions and exchange ideas, but to communicate historical events through that art. Beadwork is a special, and sacred, craft that is ingrained in the fabric of indigenous society and culture.

To this day, bead work in traditional Native regalia is seen as a very personal and artistic expression of the dancers’ lives, feelings, interests, family and spiritual quest…often elements of the regalia are gifts from Elders or treasured people in the dancers’ lives who they are honoring and are to be worn with pride and responsibility (Belcourt 2010).

Thank you for joining us for this small teaser of the visual elements in our new exhibit, American Native: First Nations Tales! We hope that you join us when our exhibit opens to celebrate the rich culture of our First Nations people.

We express our deepest gratitude to those who have allowed us to showcase their collections in our Museum for American Native: First Nations Tales. We honor the stories that are represented in our gallery and hope that our museum community cherish them as well.

For more information, please visit:

Works Cited:

Belcourt, Christi. 2010. Beadwork : First Peoples’ beading history and techniques. Owen Sound, Ont: Ningwakwe Learning Press.
Scroggie, A. M. (2009). Preserving tradition and enhancing learning through youth storytelling. Journal of Bhutan Studies, 20, 7692.


Backyard Bug Safari

For today’s Bug Week activity, we’re taking you on a safari in your own backyard (or other outdoor space).

No special tools needed, though a magnifying glass, spoon/small shovel, and a container to hold your critters are nice to have.

This is a great time to practice your observation and inquiry skills. Questions like “Why do you think it has so many legs?” and “What do you think that ladybug eats?” will help your child build language, vocabulary, and STEM skills to benefit them in school- and beyond!

*Remember to be gentle with the critters that you find, and release them after you are finished observing them!*



Don’t let that cute coloration fool you! These insects are predators who can often be found eating aphids on plants.

There are over 6,000 species of ladybugs (also called ladybird beetles) around the world. They come in many different patterns and colors.

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Like butterflies, their “babies” hatch out of eggs as larva. After about two weeks, the larva undergo metamorphosis and emerge as the small, brightly-colored insect that we are familiar with!


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Pillbugs (also called sowbugs or roly polys) are actually a type of crustacean! Unlike their shrimp and lobster cousins, pillbugs have adapted to live on land. They have gills to breathe and are usually found in moist areas like under rocks or potted plants.

These critters are known for their ability to roll into a ball when disturbed. They eat dead and decaying plant material like fallen leaves- think of them as one of nature’s recyclers!


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Ants are one of our favorite insects! Observe two ants meeting on an ant trail- if you look closely, you’ll see that their antennas are moving rapidly or even touching each other. This is how ants “talk”! They release small bursts of chemicals (pheremones) to communicate to their sisters.

Ants live in a large group called a colony. The colony works together to collect food, fight off invaders, and take care of their babies.

Ants are incredibly strong and can carry 50 times their own body weight- pretty amazing for a humble little insect!


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Butterflies are one of our most beloved insects. With their bright-colored wings, it’s easy to see why!

All butterflies have a 4 stage life cycle: egg, larva (caterpillar), pupa, and adult butterfly. Caterpillars eat plant leaves, while the adults sip nectar and occasionally eat a bit of flower pollen.

You can help butterflies where you live by growing plants like milkweed for monarch caterpillars, or pollinator plants such as zinnias, lantana, sunflowers, and yarrow. And please, avoid using pesticides and herbicides if you can!


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These long-legged flies are sometimes called mosquito hawks, but they do not eat mosquitos, nor do they bite people!

These delicate and harmless flies spend the first part of their life as larva underground, feeding on roots and decaying plants. Come springtime, they emerge and can be found flying around outside or hanging under leaves. If they come into your house, simply place a cup over them and transfer them outside.

We hope you enjoy your Bug Safari! Please leave a comment below and let us know what you found!

The Age-Old Fascination of Dinosaurs

The Age-Old Fascination of Dinosaurs

Dinosaurs: Thunderlizards is the newest exhibit at The Children’s Museum! It allows visitors to journey through time to see, learn, and explore new things about some of the largest creatures to have ever walked this earth! One of the reasons the museum decided to create a dinosaur exhibit is because kids love dinosaurs­— but what is it about dinosaurs that make them so appealing to children? Adventure with us as we unpack this question!


It wouldn’t be unrealistic to turn on the television to a station such as PBS and come across a show featuring dinosaurs. This isn’t a recent trend in children-based entertainment – for years, dinosaurs have been the popular talk among younger generations. The Land Before Time, Ice Age, Barney and Friends, and Disney’s Dinosaur were kid favorites around the turn of the century, introducing even the smallest of children to the concepts of dinosaurs. Backpacks, lunch boxes, notebooks and other back to school supplies feed off dinosaur-themed designs, tailored to children everywhere. Similarly, toy sets, games, and puzzles also capitalize on these prehistoric animals and stories.

Recently, television shows like Dinosaur Train and animated movies like The Good Dinosaur have continued to keep the dinosaur tradition alive among children. Despite the obvious appeal to kids, even adults have chimed in to the dinosaur fandom with the Jurassic Park and Jurassic World movies series, which has made over a billion dollars worldwide.

jurassic parkland before time

Almost everyone knows what a T-REX is and that a pterodactyl is the dinosaur that can fly. This “common knowledge” is normally acquired at a young age, and Kelli Chen, a pediatric psychiatric occupational therapist states, “Asking questions, finding answers, and gaining expertise is the learning process in general.” In other words, if children are interested in dinosaurs, they are going to find out as much as they can about them. Writer for The Guardian, Brian Switek also chimes in as to why dinosaurs hold a special place in the hearts of children, claiming that they pose no threat (because of extinction) and promote curiosity and imagination. Because many children have grown up watching dinosaurs on the screen and imagining them in their minds, a love for these prehistoric creatures has developed over time. One thing is for sure –Dinosaurs are not going to go extinct in the lives of children any time soon!

The next time you are feeling nostalgic, take your children to The Children’s Museum, make your way to Dinosaurs: Thunderlizards, journey through the dino-maze, and explore as much as you can about dinosaurs. Who knows, maybe it will revive an old pastime of yours!

t rex

Dinosaurs: Thunder Lizards will be open to visitors until March 1, 2020.

Museum hours and admission:

Tuesday-Friday: 10am-4pm

Saturday: 10am-5pm

Sunday: 1pm-5pm

Mondays: Closed

$12 General Admission

$11 La Habra residents

Bowen, Cat. (2019). Why Do Kids Love Dinosaurs? Their Obsession Isn’t Going Extinct Any Time Soon. Romper. Retrieved from

Morgan, Kate. (2017). A Psychological Explanation for Kids’ Love of Dinosaurs. The Cut.   Retrieved from dinosaurs.html.


A Look Into the History of Halloween


It’s that time of year again­! Our annual Mini Monsters Bash is right around the corner, so to get everyone excited, here’s a little bit about the history of Halloween!

santa and firefighter

We all know Halloween as the last day in October when you dress in a costume and ask for candy from your neighbors (those who have their porch lights on, of course!). Jack-o-lanterns, corn mazes, flannels, and bobbing for apples are just a few of the traditions commonly associated with the harvest season, which is right around the time of Halloween. What many people don’t know is why Halloween and its associated fall activities are even celebrated in the first place. Alas, we must turn to history for the answers…

Imagine yourself in Ireland on Halloween… only 2,000 years ago. The Celts would be celebrating the festival of Samhain, marking the end of harvest and the beginning of winter. This holiday was commonly associated with the transition from life to death, and it was believed that the ghosts of those passed came back that night. Bonfires, costumes, and stories were commemorative traditions the Celts partook in, which have all trickled down in history to become things we still do in modern times.

jack o lanterns

As the Roman Empire grew in numbers and strength, they conquered the Celtic lands and brought about new harvest traditions that still influence Halloween, such as bobbing for apples and making the day about those who have died. The colliding of cultures eventually shifted in the 9th century, as November 1st became known as All Saints Day, while October 31st was labeled as All-Hallows Eve. These days of celebration were similar to Samhain, and ultimately created the holiday that we call Halloween.

This holiday was not always as popular as it is now. Early America was home to many different people, which meant they each had their own ways of celebrating Halloween, some excluding the ‘pagan’ holiday altogether. Over time though, many of these traditions warped together and started to include trick-or-treating, parties, and dressing up in costumes. Halloween was a full-blown reason to celebrate by the mid-20th century, and it still gives people a reason to gather with family and friends (and eat candy!). Who knows how Halloween might change in the future…

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Halloween Fun Facts:

  • Beginning in the 1900s, The United States adopted the tradition of trick-or-treating
  • Americans spend around $6 billion on Halloween candy
  • Popular Halloween movies include: Halloween, Nightmare on Elm Street, and The Nightmare Before Christmas

Now that you know a little bit more about Halloween, be sure to stop by the museum on October 31st from 10am-12pm to partake in our spooky but fun Halloween festivities during our annual Mini Monsters Bash. Games, crafts, and the mini-maze await– can’t wait to see you there wearing your best costumes! Be there or beware!

Mini MonstersMini Monsters Bash


Museum hours and admission:

Tuesday-Friday: 10am-4pm

Saturday: 10am-5pm

Sunday: 1pm-5pm

Mondays: Closed

$12 General Admission

$11 La Habra residents

For more information on this topic, click here.

“Halloween 2019” (October 9, 2019).


Interview with our Curator, Lisa Reckon!

If I Lived in a Castle.pngLast week we celebrated the opening of our exhibit If I Lived in a Castle, a throwback to the land of Kings, Queens, and Court Jesters! For our very first blog post of the year I wanted to interview the mastermind behind the exhibit, Lisa Reckon! Lisa is the Alpha and Omega of every changing gallery at the Museum. She is the artist behind the blueprints, the interior designer, and the hand holding the hammer! Lisa builds all of our changing galleries starting with an empty room and building from there.


What’s your official job title?

Curator of Exhibits and Education!

How long have you had your position? What were you doing before this?

You’re asking me to count?! Let’s see.. It’s been 9 or 10 years! Before this, I was exhibits coordinator which is another position here–everything I’m doing now but with no paperwork!

What is your favorite part about building exhibits meant for play?

Well it’s really fun when I go in there and I see the kids having a great time. It’s a way for me to expend some of my creative energies in a way that gets me paid!

What is the hardest part of creating and building exhibits?

Probably working as we do with a tiny budget. Our Museum Guild brings in quite a bit of money but we have $9,000 for each changing gallery exhibit that we do, so I really have to pound my brain and figure out, “How can we do this? Can I re-use and re-paint something else? Where can i find something that will stand up for five months of kids pounding on it but it’s not that expensive?” It’s a lot of trying to envision what’s going to happen to those things and then putting them into the exhibit and making it happen within my budget!

What has been your favorite creative object transformation?

Let’s see. For one exhibit, we needed a space shuttle. My options were buy a blow-up space shuttle that would last 30-seconds or spend my entire budget on a space shuttle. There was no in between! So I had to design and build a space shuttle! I found plastic potholders and transformed them–and they were perfect! So I painted them, screwed them in to the back, and it totally looked like a rocket! Basically I have a really good eye for looking at stuff and going, “Well, geez, if you just did this to it then it could be something else!”


What has been your favorite exhibit to build?

Well, I really liked building Castles and Kings. The exhibit now [If I Lived in a Castle] is kind of the same with a few tweaks and the kids have such a great time in there. I also had a really great time with Time of Giants. That was a real stretch! You know, you can find dinosaurs everywhere but it’s really hard to find Ice Age animals and information about them. It was fun to have actual artifacts in that exhibit. For instance, the arrowheads and cutting tools were actually 8,000-10,000 years old! That was great that I had the budget to acquire something that was an actual exhibit piece and not something that was fake or plastic. Even though they were under acrylic, it was awesome to hold something that old. I was holding a hide-cutting tool and it fit perfectly into my hand, just the way that it had fit into the hand of some person 10,000 years ago. That was an awesome bit of history where I really felt… connected to my ancestors and history.


What do guests have to look forward to in If I Lived in a Castle?

It’s bright, interesting, and really inviting! It’s one of those exhibits where kids can really put themselves into the moment. You go in there and there are kids wearing the armor, the crowns, being little lords and ladies! They’re imagining themselves in that moment. This morning I was watching these girls in the apothecary taking the ingredients and shaking them over the mortar and pestles. Of course, nothing is coming out, but they were grinding and shaking–just like they were putting ingredients in there! The kids get it– they know that they are making medicine using dragon’s blood and frog’s breath! That’s always fun to watch.


Thank you Lisa for carving a bit of time for me. Right after this interview I’m sure Lisa went to sand something that she’s building, she’s always on the go! Come see Lisa’s latest exhibit, If I Lived in a Castle and see the work for yourself!

Gourmet Guys–Who, What, Where, When, and Why!

You may have heard some of the buzz coming from our Facebook and Instagram about a delicious event called Gourmet Guys–even the name evokes a little drooling! So let’s talk about the 26th Annual Gourmet Guys event and what it means to the Children’s Museum at La Habra and the entire community!

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Taking place at the La Habra Community Center on Sunday, October 21st from 12:00noon – 3:00pm, this delightful, taste-filled event brings together over 350 hungry members of the public and a team of 100 amateur chefs, a.k.a. “Gourmet Guys”, made up of local community leaders who compete for top recognition of their signature gourmet dishes! Not only do you get to eat their yummy dishes, but there’s a silent auction, a raffle, and a bar for guests to enjoy throughout the event!

If you’ve ever wondered “how can I give back to the children of La Habra?” then this event is for you! This isn’t just an amazing event to come and enjoy with your friends, you’re actually raising “bread” for children in the local community! Proceeds of Gourmet Guys go to funding our special Autism events, field trip scholarships for local Title 1 schools, brand new gadgets and gizmos for the Museum, and TONS more!

Want to come eat your heart out for a good cause? Tickets are $40 per person and can be purchased online at with a credit card or in person at the event!

If you are interested in cooking at our event this year, please click here: or contact Roy Mueller at Hurry before the deadline, October 9th, approaches!

And of course, a HUGE thank you to our sponsors who make this event possible!

Try an assortment of cakes, cookies, and pastries from the best local shops and home bakers in the city!.png

Learning, Learning, Everywhere!

If you’ve come to the Museum in the last two weeks, you have surely seen the double-decker bus placed at the front desk. The bus, filled with the smiling faces of drawn children, asks for donations of just $1 to fund a field trip for under-served students.

Some guests have asked how their $1 will fund a field trip. Well, each dollar donation is put into our Title 1 Scholarship Fund that will cover the admission cost of up to 35 students AND include a bus stipend–a major financial barrier for under-served schools.


A lot of guests donated but didn’t know that we do anything in the community besides tours! In addition to thanking those guests for their generous donations, we’d like to provide answers about what we do in our community. We are not just at 301 S. Euclid Street, we’re everywhere!

Our Museum is a public and private partnership between us and Friends of the Children’s Museum, a non-profit fundraising organization that supports our educational programming, exhibits, and special Museum projects! Our Museum also applies for grants, special funding money that we use to create programs like the following:

Science Meets Art Saturdays by SoCal Edison — Science Meets Art Saturdays is a day dedicated to families honing in their scientific inquiry skills with a guided, hands-on STEAM activity.
Cal Recycle by Cal Recycle — Museum Educators go into first grade classrooms in the La Habra City School District and teach students about the importance of recycling, it’s effect on our earth, and do a fun recycling planter activity.
Lil’ Innovators by Institute for Museum and Library Services — Lil’ Innovators seeks to increase preschoolers’ essential science, technology, engineering , and math ability while providing professional development for La Habra Early Childhood Development teachers and Museum Educators.

[Image description: Children painting with shaving cream in our Family Art Center; Person creating a Police Station for our Box City in our Family Art Center]

These are just some of our programs that have been generously funded by outside donors, just like yourself! If you donated even $1 to our Fund-a-Field-Trip Bus, you’ve made it possible for students from ALL OVER Orange County and Los Angeles to come to our Museum and learn through play! Even $1 can make a HUGE difference and open a world of possibilities for a child.

Interested in donating to the Children’s Museum at La Habra? Click here!

Spotlight on Miss Chrissie!

Hi everyone! Hopefully you’ve had a chance to join Miss Chrissie in Little Learners, our mini-class that’s been offered here at the museum over the summer. In honor of recent National Intern day (July 26th) and Miss Chrissie’s last week, here’s a little bit more about our wonderful intern and Little Learners instructor!


What are you studying in college and what are your plans for the future?

I am a senior at the University of La Verne and I am majoring in educational studies. After I graduate in the Spring of 2019, I will get my multiple subject credential and earn a Masters in Educational Technology from La Verne as well. Since I was little I always wanted to become an elementary school teacher because I love learning and working with children. I would prefer to teach either 1st or 2nd grade but I am open to teaching older kids as well!

How did you hear about the Children’s Museum?

My mother loved this museum and told me that I visited the Children’s Museum with my preschool class. Although I do not remember much about the museum since it was a number of years ago, my mom told me that I loved playing in the toy grocery section of the museum.

Do you have any hidden skills, interests, or talents we might not know about?

I am a huge fan of the Nancy Drew mystery novels! Even though they are old fashioned, the books are so nostalgic. I own every single Nancy Drew that was written and I enjoy reading them in the summer.

What will you remember most about your time here at the Children’s Museum?

There are so many moments that I will remember about this museum. In regards to the museum in general, I admire the fact that it supports STEM-based activities and exhibits for young children. Since our classrooms are increasingly becoming STEM-focused, it helps that children are getting an introduction to science and technology before they enter the classrooms. However, what I will remember most about this museum are the children who chose to attend my sessions. I never dreamed that I would have so many enthusiastic, engaged, and excited students! The children who visited this museum really made my day when it came to this internship and I am grateful for the opportunity to introduce STEM to my “Little Learners.”

Thank you, Miss Chrissie! We’re lucky to have had such a warm, responsible, and engaging intern, and we wish you the best of luck!

Please leave a comment if you had a chance to enjoy Little Learners with Miss Chrissie!

The last Little Learners classes are this Saturday, August 11th at 10:30/11:30. Included with museum admission and FREE for museum members.

For more information about our internship program, please visit or email