Families with children on the autism spectrum are invited to the Children’s Museum of New Hampshire for a free visit on the first Sunday of every month. Exploring Our Way provides opportunities for guests to enjoy family time at the museum in a safe, understanding environment, allows parents to network with one another and helps families discover new resources.
“Sunday mornings are very quiet,” said Paula Rais, CMNH Vice President of Development and Community Engagement. “The museum doesn’t open to the public until noon, so we invite these families in to experience the museum for a stress-free morning from 10am-noon. Siblings are always welcome, and the families can stay after we open the museum to the public if they feel comfortable. We hope their visit during Exploring Our Way will give them the confidence to come back and explore during regular hours.”
Often, a children’s museum can be a loud and overwhelming place, especially for children with sensory issues. “The Children’s Museum of New Hampshire’s mission is to actively engage families in hands-on discovery,” said CMNH President Jane Bard. “And that means, ALL families. We take that very seriously here and do everything we can to accommodate families facing these unique challenges.”
Exploring Our Way Autism Partnership Program takes place next on Sunday, October 2, 10am-noon and is sponsored by H.O.P.E. Behavioral Consulting. This program is free.
by Meredith Lamothe, Early Childhood and Literacy Coordinator
We were making shaky eggs the entire first week of our Toddlerfest celebration. Shaky eggs or egg maracas are a great first percussion instrument for little ones and a fun way for them to feel included in making music as well as get a good introduction to rhythm, which is an important early literacy skill!
There are lots of songs that can be used with shaky eggs—actually, you can shake along to most any song you like or listen to---but there are a handful of songs that I use regularly in Baby Storytime here at the museum that highlight shaky eggs and are a lot of fun.
Here’s a few you can try at home!
Counting Shakes: (Tune: "If You’re Happy and You Know It")
If you’re happy and you know it shake your egg—one time!
If you’re happy and you know it shake your egg—two times!
If you’re happy and you know it and you really want to show it, if you’re happy and you know it shake your egg—three times!
(Keep going for however long the focus lasts!)
Shake, Clap, Tap! (Tune: "If You’re Happy and You Know It")
If you’re happy and you know it give a shake
If you’re happy and you know it give a shake! (etc)
If you’re happy and you know it give a clap!
If you’re happy and you know it give a clap (etc)
If you’re happy and you know it give a tap (tap your egg on a surface or part of your body)
If you’re happy and you know it give a tap (etc)
If you’re happy and you know it give a shake! And a clap! And a tap!
Shake Your Shaker! (Tune: "London Bridges")
Shake your shaker way up high, way up high, way up high
Shake your shaker way up high
Shake your Shaker
Shake your shaker…
Way down low
To the left
To the right
On your foot!
On your head
Shakers can also be used as an early reading and literacy tool. Bump them along the pages of a book to point out the different words, sound out familiar words and names using the eggs to accentuate the different syllables, or read a book that lends itself to music (Pet the Cat anyone?) and have your shaky eggs ready for the grooviest parts of the book!
How will you use your egg shaker at home?! Let us know!
Thanks to D.F. Richard, one of the Children’s Museum of New Hampshire’s busiest spaces, the MUSE Studio, is getting a makeover. For the past eight years, museum visitors of all ages have engaged in creative activities and challenges in the MUSE Studio. “Activities change every month here in the MUSE Studio,” shared Meredith Lamothe, CMNH Early Childhood and Literacy Coordinator, “the equipment and furniture needs to be versatile so we can use it in many different ways.”
The Studio now features a newly designed magnet table, inspiring artwork by local artist Sam Paolini, new technology for storytelling with a computer kiosk and an Elmo projector, a burlap-covered sewing table for collaborative art-making, and a pegboard table that can be taken on the road for the museum’s outreach programs. Renovations also include new tables and chairs, and of course, new art supplies.
Some other new features might not be as noticeable, but are equally important. The MUSE Studio also has a host of new picture books, open shelving for displaying artwork, and a curtain wall that will be utilized during special events like the popular Books Alive character appearance.
All MUSE Studio activities are free with museum admission. Muse Studio revitalization is supported through the generosity of D.F. Richard.
When I was growing up I loved going to the Children’s Museum of New Hampshire. To this day I can still remember playing in the submarine, brushing the giant teeth, and of course hanging out with "Witchypoo," the giant witch puppet, outside the museum during October. When looking for places to do my 10-week internship this summer I wanted to make sure I chose a place that I wanted to be and somewhere I could contribute. Early on in the search I was having a tough time finding places that interested me. When I stumbled upon the Children’s Museum of New Hampshire I immediately had a good feeling about it. I thought back to all the times I went to the Portsmouth location as a kid and how much fun it was to play in all the exhibits, and thought it would be really cool to help make that experience possible for other kids.
I was lucky to be a part of some really cool projects this summer. One of my first big assignments was to go around to various food vendors who were going to be at our Dover Mini Maker Faire and write blog posts about each organization and the food they would be serving. Through this process I got to meet a lot of really cool hard-working people that have built amazing local businesses. I also got the chance to sample some great food and share my thoughts with the public through the Children’s Museum of New Hampshire’s blog. Writing the food blog was something I didn’t expect to do at all this summer, but something I am so glad I got to do.
I also had the opportunity to try out some new guerilla marketing techniques for the museum using Rain Works spray which allows you to spray messages on the ground that only appear when it rains. This was a lot of fun because I had the freedom to really do whatever I wanted with it and create a blueprint for future Rain Works campaigns.
The best part about this whole summer though was the atmosphere of the Museum. The entire staff from the people working up in the office to the people on the floor everyday were so nice and just made it a really comfortable place to be. This whole summer really was a great experience for me, and I definitely improved my writing through the blog posts and other assignments I did.
It's funny how life comes full circle sometimes. Who would have thought when I was a sugar-crazed 10 year old running around having the time of my life in the museum that I would have found my way back to the new location in Dover, 13 years later to help the marketing team promote the museum brand. I certainly couldn’t have predicted it, but I’m so glad it happened, its brought back some awesome memories and made me more confident in my abilities as I journey into the real world. I cannot thank everyone at the museum enough for helping me through these last two months and just being awesome people to be around everyday.
Thank you CMNH! I will miss you!