By Meredith Lamothe, CMNH Early Childhood & Literacy Coordinator
I love art. I love going to art museums and looking at masterpieces—I always have. I’m pretty crafty and have managed to make some art-like creations. I enjoy coming up with activities in our Muse Studio and finding ways to make them about the process of art rather than the final product (a subject that deserves its own blog post!). As I sit at my desk right now, I see Experience Guide Amanda outside doing our “Chalk Art” kit—no visitors have joined her yet, but she’s happily drawing a lovely rainbow near the entrance to the museum.
There’s just something about art, isn’t there? It can be whatever you want it—or need it—to be. For Amanda right now, it’s a calm moment before she gets back to her many tasks inside the museum. I’m more of a crafter and get a lot of joy from giving finished crafts to people I love. Art can be purely fun (have you seen the projects where you throw water balloons at a blank canvas?!). Art, especially with kids, can be a great way to visually see some of the fascinating growth that is happening—from drawings of stick figures with arms coming out of their heads, to beautiful clay sculptures and beyond.
As fun as art is on it’s own, just for yourself, it’s also great to have skilled instructors help out sometimes. They open our eyes to different art forms we may not have thought about before, introduce new materials to use to create, and have an abundance of knowledge and encouraging words to share.
And what do you know, lucky us, we have five incredible instructors visiting the museum next week! We’re thrilled to announce our first ever Visiting Artist Week here at The Children’s Museum of New Hampshire.
We will have five wonderful local artists joining us for workshops the week of July 24-28, 2017. A few of these artists were guests at our “Visiting Artist Camp” last year and the final products that those campers produced were nothing short of remarkable.
Workshops will be from 11am - noon each day and are included with museum admission and free for members. Workshops may be best for children 6 years old or older, but would be fine for younger children with some help.
Monday, July 24th: Neva Cole
Neva, the Communications Director here at the museum, will encourage families to tear up, rip, cut and glue painted paper into collaged sea monsters! If a mermaid or pirate find their way into your scene, even better!
Neva is a multimedia artist and illustrator who is not the least bit ashamed to admit she spends a ridiculous amount of time with paint on her hands.
Tuesday, July 25th: Tess Feltes
Tess, the curator of Gallery 6 here at the museum, will be sharing some of her watercolor knowledge! Did you know all birds start from eggs? Of course you did! But! Did you know that bird paintings start with egg shapes?
Learn to draw and paint birds using simple geometric shapes with Tess!
Tess has illustrated numerous scientific books and articles and she is going to share some tricks of the trade.
Wednesday, July 26th: Cindel Lamothe
Cindel, an expert seamstress, will be here explaining a bit about the process of sewing—from patterns to fabric to putting it all together into a fabulous final product! What will be the final product of your hard work on the 26th? An adorable felt dinosaur that you can put on a pillow, apron, or frame and put on your wall!
Thursday, July 27th: Gina Perry
Learn how to draw imaginary creatures with children's book illustrator Gina Perry. She will show you, step-by-step, how to draw a Unicorn, Bigfoot, Loch Ness Monster, and a Mermaid. Watch out - you might even learn how to draw a Dragon!
Friday, July 28th: Francois Lamothe
Seacoast pastel & acrylic painter Francois Lamothe will be here to share his skills. Francois will be sharing some tips and tricks about painting flowers using chalk pastels! Be sure to come prepared to get messy—this unique art experience is sure to accidentally travel onto clothing (it’s washable!)
We hope you will join us for a day or two of Visiting Artist Week. It’s sure to be a lot of fun and you’ll learn some unique new skills as well.
Oh! In case you’re interested, some visitors have joined Amanda and her chalk outside now and have added frogs, fish, a yellow submarine, and some very large flowers alongside her rainbow!
Our latest FoodWorks (Sponsored by Hannaford!) event here at the museum was all about healthy desserts and sweet treats. We had a blast and many of our visitors wanted the recipes for our tasty snacks.
Here’s what was on the menu:
KETTLECORN (Popcorn Indiana brand, in the red bag)
- Popcorn is a snack that is a healthy whole grain and a good source of fiber
VANILLA GREEK YOGURT with blueberries and mini chocolate chips
- Vanilla Greek yogurt is a great source of protein and calcium. Blueberries are full of healthy vitamins and a bit of chocolate makes this healthy snack a sweet treat!
COCONUT YOGURT CARAMEL DIP with green apples
- Caramel, usually made with heavy cream, is replaced with coconut milk yogurt in this recipe—which makes it a healthy alternative without all the fat, calories, corn syrup or artificial ingredients.
NO-BAKE CHOCOLATE AND SUN-BUTTER COOKIE BITES
- These cookies are a nut-free alternative to popular peanut butter no-bakes but have a similar flavor! The sun butter also makes them a high protein snack—but they are not high in added sugar!
The only two desserts that required any “cooking” effort (and it was very little) were the caramel dip and no-bake cookies. The recipes for those are below.
Healthy Caramel Yogurt Dip
(Makes about 1 cup)
- One container yogurt (We used So Delicious coconut milk yogurt) (170g)
- 1/8 tsp salt
- 2 tbsp pure maple syrup
- ¼ cup brown sugar
- 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
- Put maple syrup, salt and brown sugar in a microwave safe dish and microwave on high in 10-second intervals until brown sugar starts to dissolve (If you do not have a microwave, heat in a small saucepan until sugar dissolves—or you can skip this step and just add the additional ingredients!)
- Stir in vanilla extract and yogurt
- Allow to cool
- This will get thicker if you leave it in the fridge overnight
- Store leftovers in the fridge up to four days.
Original Source: http://chocolatecoveredkatie.com/2013/10/25/caramel-yogurt-dip/
No-Bake Chocolate and Sun-Butter Cookie Bites
- 1 cup oats
- ½ cup dark or semi-sweet chocolate chips
- ½ cup sunflower seed butter
- 1-2 tbsp milk of choice
- Mix-ins (optional): tart cherries, dried blueberries, chia seeds, coconut flakes
- Place chocolate in microwave-safe bowl and heat in 30-second intervals, stirring between, to melt (or heat in a saucepan on the stove)
- Stir in sunflower seed butter, milk, oats and other add-ins (if using). Add splash of milk.
- Line a baking sheet with wax paper and drop cookies on using spoons
- Place another sheet of wax paper on top and gently “smush” them down
- Refrigerate at least two hours and then enjoy!
Have fun trying these healthy desserts at home!
Starting Tuesday, July 11, 2017, new meters installed and enforced by the city of Dover in the Henry Law Parking lot next to the new Dover Adventure Playground will go into effect. Here are the basics:
- Cost within the lot will be $1 per hour.
- There is a 4 hour limit (but you can reload it after that 4 hours, or park along Henry Law Avenue where there is no time limit on the meters for 75 cents/hour).
- It's a "Pay and Display" system.
- You can pay with change, tokens or credit cards.
- Meter parking is in effect 9am-5pm Monday through Friday. Weekends and holidays are FREE.
If you are a regular visitor to the museum and are looking for a way to save money on parking:
As an amenity to our guests we'll be selling the city of Dover's pre-packaged bags of 26 parking tokens for $5 at no mark-up. They will be for sale here at the front desk during normal business hours as available. That will give you about a 30% savings off the current rate. You can also purchase these tokens at Harvey's Bakery and the Dover Chamber of Commerce.
By Neva Cole, CMNH Communications Director
When I hear people talk about summers with their kids it always sounds so idyllic to me: long days spent lounging on the beach; trips to local attractions; camping with family and friends. If I were to take people’s Facebook feeds at face value, pun intended, I’d think there was something seriously wrong with my summer parenting skills.
I’m a working parent, and so is my husband. My daughter has been in a year-round daycare, so she hasn’t experienced “summer break” yet. We’ve gotten used to squeezing summer fun into the afternoons and weekends. But that’s all going to change soon with the start of kindergarten in her local school this Fall. I’m about to become one of the parents that will have to plan way in advance on how to schedule work around camps, squander vacation days to spend a few precious long weekends on a lake somewhere, and probably start to butter up the grandparents for when plans inevitably fall through.
I’m not really complaining. I know how lucky we are. I’m a little jealous of my daughter getting to experience summer break, where the days seemed like endless adventures. I wish I could spend every minute with her out in the sun, gardening, swimming and blowing bubbles. But we all do the best we can. And my best is being there with her in the moments we have together, and making sure she’s surrounded by love and engaging her brain and her creative muscles when I’m not there.
New Hampshire is teeming with opportunities for kids to grow and learn in the summer. All the great cultural institutions like the Currier Museum of Art, the Seacoast Science Center, the SEE Science Center, Audubon centers and yes, the Children’s Museum of New Hampshire have fantastic camps, programs, events and workshops for kids of all ages. And many bend over backwards to help parents make their children’s summers memorable and affordable. These non-profits are here to be a resource to you, and I hope you use them this summer and many summers to come. I know I will.
Parents interested in the Children’s Museum of New Hampshire’s summer camps can choose from 3-day Mini Camps for ages 4-6 (which are all full as of today) or 5-day Discovery Camps for ages 7-11.
The Dover Adventure Playground just opened a few weeks ago and we hope you'll check it out! We have a few tips for families who plan on visiting.
Tip 1: For early risers, enjoy a visit to the playground before the Museum opens at 10am. It’s a great way to get outside before the heat of a summer day and will help you appreciate the cool air-conditioned Museum even more!
Tip 2: Make sure to bring towels, a change of clothes and sunscreen to the playground. Water and sand elements are sure to be a big hit for all ages (even you adults!) Museum members and visitors always have access to our bathrooms for changing during our normal business hours!
Tip 3: Bring your own refillable water bottles to the playground to stay hydrated. There’s not only a water fountain in the playground, but also a water bottle filler in the center of the park!
Tip 4: Plan to make a day of it! Your Museum admission is good all day, so you can visit the Museum, take a break for lunch and enjoy the playground, and come back inside the Museum to cool off and continue exploring our exhibits at the end of the day. The park is also home to the Cocheco Arts Festival. For a complete list of free concerts and events visit: https://cochechoartsfestival.org/
Tip 5: Speaking of lunch breaks, Henry Law Park and the Dover Adventure Playground house picnic tables and downtown Dover is home to many family-friendly restaurants. So pack a picnic lunch or ask to see our binder of restaurant menus at the Museum’s front desk. We even sell pre-packaged ice cream treats in the lobby!
A new family attraction several years in the making is opening in downtown just in time for summer fun. The Dover Adventure Playground at Henry Law Park will open to the public on Saturday, June 24 at 9:30 a.m.
The playground will feature a life-size flat-bottomed vintage gundalow; a net climber; swings and slides; a three-story Garrison Hill tower; a 1,200-pound, 3-foot by 8-foot climbable Alewife granite fish sculpture; a splash pad and water pumps; sand play area; musical instruments and more.
“The Children’s Museum of NH has been thrilled to partner with the city of Dover, its citizens and businesses to create the new Dover Adventure Playground,” said Jane Bard, Museum President. “It is sure to become a destination for seacoast families and visitors looking for outdoor play and exploration in a setting that is uniquely Dover.”
Dover Recreation Director Gary Bannon agrees. “The new playground is the result of years of planning and enthusiastic collaboration,” said Bannon. “This playground promises to be a significant attraction to downtown.”
After the playground opens, visitors to Dover will have one more reason to spend the whole day in the city, visiting the Children’s Museum, playing in the playground, having a picnic, shopping with downtown merchants or eating at a local restaurant.
“This playground is really unique to Dover and I don’t think there will be anything quite like it in New Hampshire,” shared Neva Cole, CMNH Communications Director. “The history of the area is highlighted throughout the design.” The gundalow, a 32-year-old replica of the Capt. Edward H. Adams, is one of only two gundalows in the region.
Thoughtful touches abound in the new playground. The three-story tower was picked specifically to mimic the Garrison Hill fire tower in Dover. The climbable fish sculpture by Thomas Berger from Kittery is a nod to the alewife who spawn in the Cocheco River, bordering the playground. One of the swings is made for an older child and an infant to swing together, a highlight for parents with multiple children. The net climbing structure has a slack line and percussion instruments are installed nearby. Tree stumps provide balancing practice for children or additional seating. The splash pad will be open 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. this spring and summer. Nearby is another play area featuring hand pumps and wooden sluices.
Two features in the works will debut after the June 24th opening. The Museum’s community teaching garden currently located on the riverfront adjacent to the Museum will relocate to the park for the next growing season. Also planned for the roof of the Dover pool bordering the playground, is an 18-foot metal “Whale’s Tail” sculpture created by artist Dale Rogers. The whale will appear to be diving into the pool building.
The Children’s Museum of New Hampshire is holding a naming contest for the alewife fish sculpture, who is a female, throughout the month of July. The public can vote on the fish’s new moniker either by casting a ballot inside the museum, or on the museum’s facebook page. The public will then vote to narrow down the names to the 10 most popular. A judging panel will then choose the winner.
“Even though it’s a playground, it’s really designed to be enjoyed by people of all ages,” said Jane Bard. “I think I’m most excited that we’re bringing this right to the center of Dover and I really think it’s going to be a shining example of what Dover has been, and will be. It will be a safe, engaging, and joyful gathering spot for people of all ages.”
To learn more about the Dover Adventure Park, visit the Children’s Museum of New Hampshire’s website: www.childrens-museum.org/visit/dover-adventure-playground or contact Dover Recreation at 603-516-6401.
The Children’s Museum of New Hampshire participated in the 2nd annual NH Gives program, an initiative of the NH Center of Nonprofits, and within 24-hours raised a total of $1890, exceeding their goal for the day.
NH Gives is designed to bring the state together as one community, raising as much money and awareness as possible for New Hampshire’s nonprofits within a 24-hour flood of donations. The museum’s goal for the day was to raise $1,000.
“With the support of 25 generous donors, we managed to smash that goal!” said Paula Rais, CMNH’s Vice President of Development and Community Engagement.
The day started at 6pm on June 6th with many non-profits vying for cash prizes handed out by NH Gives for honors such as “Most Raised 6pm to 9pm” or “Most Donors.” “We’re really proud of how we did in comparison to other non-profits,” shared Neva Cole, CMNH’s Communications Director. The museum came in 23rd in terms of number of donors, tying with Wentworth-Douglass Hospital and Polaris Charter School. “The Center for Non-profits makes the day very easy to promote, and they even manage to keep this amazing community of non-profits competing in a friendly way!”
What does this money go to support? “We want everyone to be able to learn and grow with us,” said Cole. “We’ve had generations of children visit our exhibits, and many have returned with their own children. The donations we receive through NH Gives go to support the families who might struggle to pay our admission fees. Over 30% of our families are only able to visit because of our ‘Museum Access for All’ programs.” A few examples of that program include subsidized bus visits for Title 1 Schools, families paying only $1 per person when they present an EBT Card, and even free programs for families with children on the autism spectrum.
“This museum is not just a space for kids to come on a rainy day,” said Jane Bard, President of the museum. “It’s a community of educators, parents, children, artists, sponsors and donors who believe in the power of play. We are so thrilled and thankful to have this community support to further our mission of inspiring all to be the next generation of innovators and creative thinkers.”
The Children’s Museum of New Hampshire is offering a wide range of summer camps. One of the newer camps, Eco-Explorers, will be taught by the museum’s newest educator, Colie Haahr.
Eco-Explorers is a 5-day camp scheduled for Monday, August 14 through Friday, August 18, 9:15am-1pm, for children ages 7-11. The camp will give kids an opportunity to learn about the wonders of the natural world. “Kids will be introduced to animal communication and adaptations, as well as local plants, animals, and ecosystems through nature exploration, games, and art projects,” shared Haahr, CMNH’s STEAM & School-Aged Programs Coordinator.
Colie has joined the museum recently and is excited to spend her first summer at CMNH. She joins the education team after teaching for Nature’s Classroom, an outdoor education company with different sites all over New England, and traveling the world while leading YMCA leadership trips. She has her BA in English and Secondary Education from Alfred University and recently completed her Masters degree in Recreation Management and Policy at UNH. Through her teaching experiences she has gained a genuine love and respect for the environment.
“Some of my favorite topics will be incorporated into this Eco-Explorers Camp, and I’m really excited to share my knowledge and experience with the kids,” shared Colie.
Eco-Explorers is just one of 8 camps being offered at the Children’s Museum of New Hampshire this summer. Topics and more information can be found on the museum’s website at www.childrens-museum.org/things-to-do/camps-classes. To register for Eco-Explorers or any other camp, please call 603-742-2002. Registration for camps closes one week before they begin.