The Museum Blog

Category: Enriching Experiences

Paper Bag Mini Books

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by Colie Haahr, CMNH Educator

Make a mini paper bag scrapbook, nature journal, or keepsake! These books are fun for kids to put together, and the open end of the paper bag creates a pocket to store pictures, ticket stubs, or small items from a nature walk. Pipe cleaners make the book easy for kids to bind, and it’s easy to add more pages. String or binder rings can also be used to bind the book. 

Use washi tape or glue to add photos, or print photos on copy paper so that kids can use a glue stick to add them. This also makes it easier to replace a photo if anything happens to it during the art making project. Kids can label photos, write favorite memories, or tell the story of each photo and have a grown up help with the writing part if needed. 

Materials Needed:

  • Markers
  • Washi tape
  • Glue stick
  • Photos - printed on copy paper 
  • Scissors
  • Paper 
  • Pipe cleaners
  • Hole punch 
  • Paper bags 

Directions:

  • Fold the paper bags in half, and punch two holes in the folded end of the bags. It’s difficult to hole punch through more than one bag at a time, so be sure to line the holes up on each bag
  • Stack several bags together so that the folded ends are together, and the holes line up
  • Use the pipe cleaners to bind the book together by feeding it through the holes
  • Twist up the pipe cleaners, and cut off any excess
  • Start decorating and writing in your book! Use the glue stick to add photos or drawings on paper 
  • Use the open ends of the bags to create pockets for keepsakes or photos
  • Theme ideas: nature journal, teacher gift, family book, share favorite family activities and memories, make up a story 
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Up-Cycled Planters

By Colie Haahr, CMNH Educator

This is an easy, low-mess art project that kids can work on independently. Use old containers and washi tape to make an “up-cycled” planter. What is up-cycling? It’s using materials that would otherwise be discarded to make something new. We do many up-cycling activities at the museum to help reduce waste, and to allow kids to be creative with their projects by challenging them to think of new uses for things.    

This project provides a good opportunity to talk to kids about reducing waste, and some ways to do that at home. Up-cylcing is just one thing kids can do to help keep the earth healthy, and it’s a great way to cut down on art supplies and packaging if you are using things you already have.  The book Not For Me, Please! I Choose to Act Green, by Maria Godsey, is a nice story to read with kids that shows them some concrete choices they can make to help reduce waste. We recently added this book to our collection at the museum.

This is also a great project if you would like to give someone a hand made gift without getting out paints or any messy supplies! You can use the planter to grow something from seeds, or you can use it to put a small houseplant inside.  

Materials Needed:

  • Empty play dough containers with lids
  • Or: A different type of container that is safe to use 
  • Washi tape
  • Optional: scissors
  • A house plant, or soil and seeds for planting 

Directions:

  • The first step is to make sure the container you are using is safe to use and clean. Play dough containers work well. Be sure there are no sharp edges, and carefully supervise if you choose to use glass. Mason jars and other thick glass containers do not break easily
  • If you are using a plastic container, you may opt to poke a hole in the bottom with scissors for drainage for your plant. This step should be done by an adult
  • Use washi tape to decorate the outside of the container by carefully adding it one strip at a time
  • If you want to plant something, add soil and plant the seeds according to the instructions on the seed package.
  • If you want to add a houseplant that is already growing, carefully place it inside
  • If you are using a play dough container, use the lid to catch extra water under the planter
  • Ask: what three things do plants need to grow?? They need soil, sunlight, and water! Place your plant in a spot where it can get some sun, and be sure to water it! 

There are more up-cycle project ideas on the museum’s Pinterest account:

Links:

Check out some of our Educator's Favorite Up-Cycle Projects over on Pinterest:

https://www.pinterest.com/kidmuseumnh/cmnh-educators-picks/upcycle-projects/ 

Blog post that inspired the planters:

https://www.projectswithkids.com/mini-plant-pots/?utm_medium=social&utm_source=pinterest&utm_campaign=tailwind_tribes&utm_content=tribes&utm_term=296534802_8343706_112125

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First Friends: BIG and small

By Meredith Brustlin, CMNH Educator

Hello Song:

Hello it’s time to play
Let’s have some fun today!

Let’s clap our hands
And wiggle our toes
A hug...and a kiss...and away we go!

Hello (insert name here) it’s time to play
Hello (insert name here) it’s time to play
Hello (insert name here) it’s time to play
We’ll have so much fun...hooray! 

Open Them/Shut Them (action song)

Open them, shut them
Open them, shut them
Give a little clap-clap-clap

Open them, shut them
Open them, shut them
Lay them in your lap-lap-lap

Creep them, creep them, creep them, creep them
Right up to your chin-chin-chin
Open up your little mouth…
But do not let them in! 

Five Little Kittens (action rhyme)

Five little kittens standing in a row,
They nod their heads to the children so!

They run to the left,
They run to the right
They stand and stretch in the bright sunlight!

Along comes a dog who’s looking or some fun…
ME-OW! See those little kittens run! 

Sugar Babies (action rhyme)

Roll, roll sugar babies
Roll, roll sugar babies
Push! Pull! Clap-clap-clap!

“   “
BIG! Little! Clap-clap-clap!

“   “
Up! Down! Clap-clap-clap!

The Royal Duke of York (bounce/movement rhyme)

The royal duke of york,
He had 10,000 men,
He marched them up the mountainside
And marched them down again!

Oh, when you’re up you’re up
And when you’re down you’re down
And when you’re only halfway up…
You’re neither up nor down! 

Hurry, Scurry, Little Mouse (action rhyme/tickle)

Hurry, scurry, little mouse
Starts down at your toes…

Hurry, scurry, little mouse
Past your knees he goes... 

Hurry, scurry, little mouse
Past where your tummy is…

Hurry, scurry, little mouse…
Gives you a mousey kiss!

Shake your shaker! (prop song)

If you’re happy and you know it, shake your shaker...one time! ONE!
If you’re happy and you know it, shake your shaker...two times! ONE! TWO!
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 shaker...three times! ONE! TWO! THREE!

If you’re happy and you know it, shake your shaker...four times! ONE! TWO! THREE! FOUR!
If you’re happy and you know it, shake your shaker...five times! ONE! TWO! THREE! FOUR! FIVE!
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 shaker!!!

Goodbye Rhyme (action rhyme)

This is big, big, big
And this is small, small, small

This is short, short, short
And this is tall, tall, tall!

This is fast, fast, fast
And this is slow, slow, slow

This is yes, yes, yes
And this is no, no, no

This is hi, hi, hi
And this is bye, bye, bye! 

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First Friends at Home: Animals!

by Meredith Brustlin, CMNH Educator

Hello Song:

Hello it’s time to play
Let’s have some fun today!
Let’s clap our hands
And wiggle our toes
A hug...and a kiss...and away we go!

Hello (insert name here) it’s time to play
Hello (insert name here) it’s time to play
Hello (insert name here) it’s time to play
We’ll have so much fun...hooray! 

Open Them/Shut Them (action song)

Open them, shut them
Open them, shut them
Give a little clap-clap-clap

Open them, shut them
Open them, shut them
Lay them in your lap-lap-lap

Creep them, creep them, creep them, creep them
Right up to your chin-chin-chin
Open up your little mouth…
But do not let them in! 

Wise Old Owl (action rhyme)

There is a wise old owl,
With a pointed nose,
He has pointed ears,
And claws for toes!

He sits in a tree,
And looks at you,
Then he flaps his wings and says:
Whoooooo! Whoooooo!

Puppy Dog (bounce)

Did you ever see a puppy dog,
A puppy dog, a puppy dog
Did you ever see a puppy dog
Go this way and that?!

Go this way...and that way...and this way..and that way!
Did you ever see a puppy dog,
Go this way and that?!

(It’s fun to use any and all animals in this song! Did you ever see a kitty cat? A bunny rabbit? A great big elephant?!)

Sleepy Bunnies (song/movement)

See the little bunnies sleeping ‘til it’s nearly noon
Shall we wake them with a merry tune?
They’re so still...are they ill?!

No! Wake up bunnies!

Hop little bunnies hop, hop, hop
Hop little bunnies hop, hop, hop
Hop little bunnies hop, hop, hop
Hop, hop, hop aaaaaaaand...stop!

“  “

Jump little bunnies!

“  “

Dance little bunnies!

Scarf Opposites (prop song)

Wave your scarf up high,
Wave your scarf up high,
Wave it up high! Wave it up high!

Wave your scarf down looowwwwww
Wave your scarf down looowwwwww
Wave your scarf! Wave your scarf! 

Wave your scarf fast/slow

Wave your scarf in front/behind

Wave your scarf a little/a lot! 

Colors in the Air (prop song)

Colors, colors
Colors, colors
Floating in the air!
Floating in the air!

Red, Orange, Yellow
Green, Blue, Purple
Floating in the air!
Floating in the air!

Goodbye Rhyme (action rhyme)

This is big, big, big
And this is small, small, small

This is short, short, short
And this is tall, tall, tall!

This is fast, fast, fast
And this is slow, slow, slow

This is yes, yes, yes
And this is no, no, no

This is hi, hi, hi
And this is bye, bye, bye! 

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First Friends at Home: Earth Day

This week our theme for First Friends was the great outdoors! This theme was inspired by the Museum’s week full of Earth Day programming!

Hello Song:

Hello it’s time to play
Let’s have some fun today!
Let’s clap our hands
And wiggle our toes
A hug...and a kiss...and away we go!

Hello (insert name here) it’s time to play

Hello (insert name here) it’s time to play

Hello (insert name here) it’s time to play

We’ll have so much fun...hooray! 

Open Them/Shut Them (action song)

Open them, shut them
Open them, shut them
Give a little clap-clap-clap

Open them, shut them
Open them, shut them
Lay them in your lap-lap-lap

Creep them, creep them, creep them, creep them
Right up to your chin-chin-chin
Open up your little mouth…
But do not let them in! 

Bumble Bee (action song, tune: Jingle Bells)

Move wiggly fingers around baby as you gently touch the different body parts the song mentions. If your little one is a toddler--help them find their body parts that the song mentions using their hands! 

Bumble bee. Bumble bee
Landing on my nose

Bumble bee, bumble bee
Now it’s on my toes!

On my arms, on my legs
On my elbows

Bumble bee, bumble bee
It lands and then it goes! 

I’m a little Beetle (bounce) 

I’m a little beetle and I wiggle all day
If you get too close to me I’ll FLY away!

I’m a little bumble bee and I wiggle all day
If you get too close to me I’ll FLY away!

I’m a little lady bug and I wiggle all day
If you get too close to me I’ll FLY away!

I’m a little dragon fly and I wiggle all day
If you get too close to me I’ll FLY away!

Splash! Fall the raindrops (action rhyme)

Splash fall the raindrops (clap hands together softly)

To the ground they go (tap on the floor)

We need raindrops (wiggle fingers down from the “sky”)

To help the flowers grow! (stretch up high!)

Everyone can shake! (prop song)

Everyone can shake shake shake
Everyone can shake shake shake
Everyone can shake shake shake
And now it’s time to stop!

Everyone can tap tap tap
Everyone can tap tap tap
Everyone can tap tap tap
And now it’s time to stop!

Everyone can clap clap clap
Everyone can clap clap clap
Everyone can clap clap clap
And now it’s time to stop!

Everyone can wave, wave, wave
Everyone can wave, wave, wave
Everyone can wave, wave, wave
And now it’s time to stop!

Goodbye Rhyme (action rhyme)

This is big, big, big
And this is small, small, small

This is short, short, short
And this is tall, tall, tall!

This is fast, fast, fast
And this is slow, slow, slow

This is yes, yes, yes
And this is no, no, no

This is hi, hi, hi
And this is bye, bye, bye! 

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Upcycled Bubble Blowers

by Meredith Brustlin, CMNH Educator

These bubble blowers are a BLAST and can be made with upcycled items easily found at home! This craft is perfect for Earth Day week. What else could you upcycle to make into something new and fun?!

Materials Needed:

  • Plastic bottle 
    • You can use a plastic cup as well
  • Piece of a mesh vegetable bag
  • Duct tape
  • Bubble solution (store bought or DIY)

Directions:

  • Find a plastic bottle for each bubble blower
  • Cut off the non-drinking-end of the plastic bottle
    • Cutting about an inch off the end is plenty
    • If using a plastic cup - cut a small opening on the bottom of the cup. This will be the spot where little ones put their mouths to blow their bubbles. 
  • Fit your piece of mesh vegetable bag over the cut end of your plastic bottle and secure to the bottle using duct tape
    • If using a plastic cup, put the mesh over the wide end of the cup (where you would normally drink!)
  • Put some bubble solution inside a container
    • To make your own you will need:
      • 1 cup water
      • 2 Tbsp light corn starch
      • 4 Tbsp dish soap
        • Mix all ingredients together! 
        • There are a lot of recipes for bubble solution - I used this one because I had these materials at home! 
  • Invite bubble blowers to dip their plastic bottles into the bubble solution and then try blowing bubbles!
    • Big bubble snakes will appear! 

Thank you to our Earth Day week sponsor, D. F. Richard! 

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Tinker Time: Earth Day

by Meredith Brustlin, CMNH Educator

This week’s Tinker Time was inspired by Earth Day! These activities are all easy to do with materials that you probably have in your household recycling bin or trash can. Try out one or two and let us know what you think! 

Sensory: Cork Boats

  • Gather your materials: three wine corks, two rubber bands or hair ties (or duct tape!), a straw or craft stick, a piece of paper, scissors. 
  • Assemble your boat! 
    • Rubber band the three corks together so they form a raft-like structure
    • Wiggle the straw or craft stick between two of the corks
    • Cut your piece of paper into a triangle and decorate
    • Cut two slits on your triangle so you can slide it onto the straw or craft stick to become a sail!
  • Have some sensory fun playing with the boat in the water! 

Building: Egg carton building blocks

  • Cut egg cartons into small sections (the parts that hold the eggs!)
  • Optional: color or paint the egg carton pieces
  • Explore using the egg carton pieces as building blocks! 

Sorting: Old crayons become new!

  • Place liners in mini or regular muffin tin
    • You can also use silicone shape molds, if you have them! 
  • Sort old broken crayons by color into the different sections of the tin
  • Bake the crayons for ~12 minutes at 250 degrees
    • Don’t go too far away--keep an eye on them and make sure to take them out if they start smoking!
  • Let your “new” crayons cool completely and then gently ease them out of their cupcake liners
  • Use your new & improved giant crayons! 

Art: Jar lid banjo

  • Find a jar lid
  • Place some rubber bands around the lid
  • Tape a handle of some kind--a craft stick, paint stirrer, or piece of paper towel tube
  • Decorate!
  • Play your jar lid banjo! 

Thank you to our Earth Day week sponsor, D. F. Richard! 

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Make Recycled Paper Beads

by Meredith Brustlin, CMNH Educator

This is such an easy and fun project and is a perfect one to do during Earth Day week! 

Materials Needed:

  • Magazines or other scrap paper
  • Pencils
  • A glue stick
  • String
  • Mod Podge or DIY Mod Podge (white glue mixed with water)
    • This is optional!

Directions:

  • Prep this activity by cutting magazines or other scrap paper into long skinny triangles
    • Cut the paper vertically to make the longest triangles possible!
  • Starting with the wide end of one of your triangles, start rolling it tightly around a pencil
    • Sometimes little ones need help with this beginning step!
  • Keep rolling until you are about 2” from the end of the triangle--it should just be a skinny little strip left
  • Cover that strip with glue and continue rolling to complete your bead
  • Wiggle the bead off your pencil
  • Make more beads!
  • String your beads to make a necklace or bracelet. 

If you’d like, when you’re finished with your beads--you can paint them with Mod Podge and let them dry. This will make your beads more secure and sturdy and also make them shiny!

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