By Neva Cole, CMNH Communications Director
When I first started working at the Children's Museum of New Hampshire, I knew my mother had only months to live. She had been diagnosed with cancer and we were in the process of saying goodbye. My daughter was four at the time. My mother, ever the educator, was the first to suggest that we look into some picture books that might help her grandkids understand what was about to happen. So, on top of starting a new job, parenting a four year old, being there for my family, and processing my own grief, I now had to find picture books to somehow help me try to explain death to my daughter.
But Mom was right. She always is. I'm glad I took the time to find some of those books, because talking about death with anyone is not easy, but with kids...it seems even more complicated. Depending on their age, they don't necessarily have the vocabulary to understand what dying really means. And unless you've spent a lot of time pondering the process yourself, you might not be well equipped to explain it to them. My Mom would speak to her in her own religious terms, introducing the idea of Heaven, but with every new word comes a whole different set of questions.
But in the end, those questions are what it's all about. Starting a dialogue with your kids about what death means to you, and encouraging them to ask those hard questions, helps prepare them for something that no one in this world escapes from. We will all be dealing with it, sooner or later, wether we have time to prepare for it or not. We were fortunate to have time.
Four years later, we still talk about Nana with the same language we learned from those picture books. We even have one of those audio picture books that Nana recorded so we could always hear her voice telling us a story. Recently I met Linda Dinndorf who is a Training and Education Coordinator for a NH non-profit called Friends of Aine. Aine was established to provide bereavement support services to grieving children and families. This organization was borne out of the tragic loss of Aine Marie Phillips (pronounced Ahnya) at age 8, and the recognition that bereavement services for Aine's surviving 5-year-old sister Bella, were sadly scarce. I told Linda about my Mom's passing and how it was a struggle to find resources as simple as picture books that would help my daughter process her grief, and she instantly said, "Oh, we have a great library of picture books for all ages! We'd be happy to share some info with you!"
So thank you Linda for this wonderful list, which can also be found here on their website: https://www.friendsofaine.com/...
On this list of resources, I see some of the books that I used, like The Invisible String, by Patrice Karst, and Badger's Parting Gifts by Susan Varley, both gentle, loving stories about how the people we love may leave this world, but their memories and influence remain constant. I hope this list helps you when you need it most.
Sometimes I Feel Like a Storm Cloud – by Leslie Evans
I Will Always Love You – by Melissa Lyons
The Memory Box: A Book About Grief – by Joanna Rowland
A Child’s View of Grief – by Alan Wolefeit
Badger’s Parting Gifts – by Susan Varley
Help Me Say Goodbye – by Janis Silverman
How It Feels When a Parent Dies – by Jill Krementz
In Mommy’s Garden – by Neyal J. Ammary
Lifetimes: The Beautiful Way to Explain Death to Children – by Bryan Mellonie
Saying Goodbye When You Don’t Want To – by Martha Bolton
Sesame Street – When Families Grieve Kit – by Sesame Workshop
Someone I Loved Died – by Christine Harder Tanguald
Tear Soup: A Recipe for Healing After Loss – by Pat Schwiebert
The Fall of Freddie the Leaf – by Leo Buscaglia
The Invisible String – by Patrice Karst
The Mountains of Tibet – by Mordicai Gerstein
The Tenth Good Thing About Barney – by Judith Voirst
Turned Upside Down – by Karen Keesler
Waterbugs and Dragonflies – by Doris Stickney
What On Earth Do You Do When Someone Dies? – by Trevor Romain
When Dinosaurs Die – by Laurie Krasny Brown
Wherever You Are: My Love Will Find You – by Nancy Tillman
Learn more about Friends of Aine here https://www.friendsofaine.com/
This summer we had a wonderful art exhibit on view in Gallery 6 here at CMNH featuring the art of Richard Haynes, a Portsmouth, NH African American artist and the Associate Director of Admissions for Diversity at UNH. Haynes' vibrant drawings ask us to use the universal language of "Love" to see how we can all rewrite a history that has not been fair to everyone.
To close the exhibit, we're doing a day of art making on Saturday, August 24 from 10am-2pm here at the museum. The day will offer lots of opportunities to make art with fine art materials, go on a scavenger hunt, a chance to contribute to a community art project, AND...listen to stories!
And because we can only do so many storytimes in one day, we thought we'd share our favorite picture books that highlight the very important themes of unity, compassion and diversity, here on our blog. We hope you check them out and share with your kids.
by Wendy Anderson Halperin
For ages 4-8
This poetic and soothing book ponders the eternal question asked in the Tao Te Ching: How can we bring peace to the world? Using lavishly detailed drawings, each with a storyline of its own, the illustrator shares her artistic rendition of the path to true inner peace.
Strictly No Elephants
Written by Lisa Mantchev and Illustrated by Taeeun Yoo
For ages 4-8
Today is "Pet Club Day." There will be cats and dogs and fish but strictly no elephants are allowed. The Pet Club doesn't understand that pets come in all shapes and sizes, just like friends. Now it is time for a boy and his tiny pet elephant to show them what it means to be a true friend.
Written by Sam Williams and Illustrated by Mique Moriuchi
For ages 4-8
"On the street,
when you meet,
when you eat, when you play.
Kids and animals from around the world invite readers to dance and play and make the sounds of peace in this tribute to harmony.
by Shane W. Evans
For ages 4-8
On August 28, 1963, a remarkable event took place - more than 250,000 people gather in our nation's capital to participate in the March on Washington for Jobs and freedom. The march began at the Washington Monument and eded with a rally at the Lincoln Memorial, where Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his historic "I Have a Dream" speech, advocating racial harmony. This book combines Evans simple yet compelling illustrations and words to show the thrill of the day.
Barefoot: Escape on the Underground Railroad
Written by Pamela Duncan Edwards and Illustrated by Henry Cole
For ages 4-8
A heron, a squirrel, a mouse, a deer, and a frog all witness a pair of bare feet running frantically through the woods. The feet belong to a runaway slave trying to escape his pursuers, whom the animals recognize as the Heavy Boots. Following the animals' lead, the Barefoot is able to escape and survive. He listens for the croaking of a frog to find fresh water and observes the nibbling of a mouse to find berries to eat. Eventually he comes upon a house in the woods - but is it really a stop on the Underground Railroad? Firefly light reveals a quilt hanging in front of the house - a signal of welcome.
When Harriet Met Sojourner
Written by Catherine Clinton and Illustrated by Shane W. Evans
For ages 4-8
Two women with similar backgrounds. Both slaves; both fiercely independent. Both great in different ways. Harriet Tubman: brave pioneer who led her fellow slaves to freedom, larger than life...yearning to be free. Sojourner Truth: strong woman who spoke up for African American rights, tall as a tree...yearning to be free.
One day in 1864, the lives of these two women came together. When Harriet met Sojourner is a portrait of these two remarkable women, from their inauspicious beginnings to their pivotal roles in the battle for America's future.
Child of the Civil Rights Movement
by Paula Young Shelton and Raul Colon
for ages 4-8
What was it like growing up in the Deep South when Jim Crow laws were everywhere? How did it feel to sit down to dinner with grown-ups who planned protests between bites of Mama's creamy macaroni and cheese? And imagine walking right beside Uncle Martin and Aunt Coretta in that historic march from Selma to Montgomery - until your legs were so tired that you had to ride on your father's back. Paula Young Shelton, a daughter of civil rights leader Andrew Young, and Raul Colon take readers on a vivid trip back to Paula's childhood in an extraordinary family - the family of the American civil rights movement!
Using “Seacoast: The Seasons of New Hampshire” Photographs by Bob McGrath - with children!
November is Family Literacy Month here at the Children's Museum of New Hampshire and we were very fortunate to get a large donation of a stunning photography book this fall, given to us by local artist (and the book’s author!) Bob McGrath. His beautiful book “Seacoast: The Seasons of New Hampshire” is a fabulous tool to use for facilitating conversations while reading with children.
Here are some ideas of how to use this lovely book with your little one:
1. This book focuses on the seasons of the year. As you flip through each season--chat about them!
- Which season is your favorite? Why?
- What is your favorite thing to do outside in (Autumn/Winter/Spring/Summer)?
- Which one of these places would you like to visit? Why?
- What items in these photographs are familiar to you? Are there any items that are new and unknown to you? Let’s chat about them!
2. Find picture books at your local library that match each of the seasons shown in this book.
- Look for scenes that are similar in the picture book and the photo book.
- Compare and contrast these images.
3. Get artsy!
- Pick a favorite photo in the book and paint/draw/color your own masterpiece inspired by the scenery or item in the photo. When you have finished, chat about how the images are alike or different.
4. Plan a road trip!
- Find a spot in the book that is close to where you live--or a little further away!
- Go on a road trip and find the scene in the photo shown. Take your own photos of the special spot!
More than anything else, simply looking through the book (or any other book!), chatting and spending time together reading as a family is the most beneficial thing you can do during Family Literacy Month and throughout the year.
Have a wonderful Family Literacy Month this November and enjoy this gorgeous photo book by Bob McGrath. We are so thankful for his generous donation and know it will become a beloved keepsake full of happy memories for museum families.
We're so excited for our 6th annual NH Maker & Food Fest happening this year on Saturday, August 25th from 10am-4pm! This day long festival (formerly the Dover Mini Maker Faire) is a giant showcase of local talent. We have over 50 participants this year, including performers, food vendors, science geeks, and the young makers featured here in this blog post! Mark your calendars, get your tickets early, or at the door, and get ready to be inspired!
Caleb Weinstein - Lichtenberg Figures
This 8th grade Maker is new to the NH Maker & Food Fest this year, but we're all pretty excited to see him in action! He'll be showing off how he uses high voltage electricity to create unique patterns in wood, called Lichtenberg Figures.
"To make a figure, you must take wood, briase it with water that is mixed with an electrolyte (I use baking soda), and then put high voltage electricity through it. I use a 12,000 kV 35 milliamp neon sign transformer."
His unique furniture will also be for sale!
Nicole Knowlton - Abstract Artist
Nicole Knowlton is a young art educator from Franconia, NH who will be showing off her fluid and beautiful conceptual art. Her art is created using house/acrylic paint on canvas, wood, boxes, magnets and a variety of found objects. Stop by Nicole's booth to get inspired and maybe purchase a painting to bring home.
Mixtape A Cappella - Performance
This group of young professionals from NH's Seacoast will mix it up on stage for a 30 minute a cappella performance! Stop by their booth and learn how to warm up your voices, try your hand at a cappella trivia and play the "Wheel of Songs!"
Audrey Ammann - Pretty Aud Face Paint
Audrey is back for the third year in a row with more of her fantastic face paint designs (available for a small fee). Her original face paint designs use hypoallergenic and FDA-certified paints and can incorporate glitter, stencil work, and even rhinestones!
Beckett Lutton - Word Clock, An Arduino Powered Clock
Stop by and say hello to young 12 year old Maker, Beckett Lutton who helped build an arduino powered clock that tells time in English, with the help of his father and neighbor. Adjust the time on the clock and see how different times are expressed!
Kealey Gray - Wheel Spun Pottery
Kealey Gray is a young maker who has been crafting wheel spun pottery for the last three years and will have some unique items for sale. Stop by and play with clay as you learn to make a mini pinch pot out of air drying clay to take home.
Thank you to all our 2018 NH Maker & Food Fest sponsors: The Unique College Investing Plan managed by Fidelity Investments, Prime Buchholz, Alexander Technology Group, Dover Emergency Room (a Campus of Portsmouth Regional Hospital), Great Bay Community College, Albany Engineered Composites, Beswick Engineering, The Rowley Agency Inc., Chinburg Properties, Leone, McDonnell & Roberts, LLC, Martel Plumbing & Heating, Inc., STEM From the Start, iheartMedia, 95.3 The Bull and Z107.
By Meredith Lamothe, Early Childhood & Literacy Coordinator
We all know it’s sometimes difficult to get children to brush their teeth. Establishing a set routine of tooth brushing and flossing can be really tricky. I only have a dog-child, but I can tell you that trying to brush her teeth isn’t a piece of cake, either!
We’re celebrating Children’s Dental Health month here at The Children’s Museum of New Hampshire and have a lot of fun activities planned and special guests who will be visiting us to promote good dental hygiene. One of our guests who will be joining us is local Veterinary Consultant, Dr. Timothy Hunt who will be talking all about animal teeth.
It’s no surprise that children love animals. Most animals don’t have to brush their teeth at all because they have natural ways of keeping their teeth clear of tartar and bacteria that cause tooth decay. But why not educate children about animal teeth to try and make their own dental health a little more fun?
Have your little ones compare how their teeth feel after eating ice cream (or some other sweet) and after eating a carrot - do they feel different? Ask if any animals in the wild eat ice cream - of course they don’t! They do eat carrots and other vegetables and plants - which help to keep their teeth clean because they don’t have refined sugars or carbohydrates that damage teeth.
The next time you are at the dentist, ask the dentist to show your child an X-Ray of their teeth. What do they notice? We have two sets of teeth! The “baby” teeth they have they’ll only keep for awhile, but after that - there’s only one more set. That’s why we need to take such good care of them. Some creatures like sharks and alligators have many, many sets of teeth - ask your child why they think sharks and alligators have so many teeth? It’s because they’re carnivores! They do a great deal of damage to their teeth when they catch and eat their prey - so it’s important for them to have lots of “back-up” teeth throughout their lives.
Dr. Hunt will visit us on February 28th to share all of his expertise on Animal Teeth and we’re very excited. We also have our Dino Detective Exhibit where you can come and compare carnivore and herbivore teeth - and we bring out our collection of animal skulls during Dental Health Month - where you can see real shark teeth and real beaver teeth! Come play and learn with us!
The Children’s Museum of New Hampshire in downtown Dover offers a variety of weekday science classes for preschoolers, as well as homeschoolers but is now offering parents an added bonus during a Monday science class.
The museum’s popular Junior Science Explorers class for kids ages 3.5-5 is now being offered on Mondays, a day the museum is closed to the public. Families who have a museum membership can not only sign up their kids for the class, but any younger siblings can now join parents on the 2nd floor of the museum to play in the exhibits while their older siblings are in class. This is a benefit that’s exclusive to museum members and is only offered while the Monday class is in session.
This November’s Junior Science class theme is “Incredible Animals” and will invite junior scientists to explore habitats, animal tracks, survival techniques and more. The class runs Mondays, November 6 through December 11 from 1:30-2:15pm.
These 45-minute structured science classes are $60 for Members and $70 for Non-members. Pre-registration is required. Call 603-742-2002 to register.
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.
Thursday, March 2, 2017
How do you do?
Did you know that today,
is special for you?
It’s Dr. Seuss’s birthday!
So give him a cheer,
Because the Children’s Museum of New Hampshire
is inviting you to the party this year!
There’ll be crafts and activities
in the MUSE Studio
We’ll read your favorite books
like Oh, the Places You’ll Go!
A scavenger hunt
will put your wit to the test.
So put on your striped hat
for this amazing quest!
All these fun things
are included with the regular admission fee.
What a fun day of laughs
just come for yourself and see!
by Kelly Sorge,
CMNH Intern and Enthusiastic Student of Dr. Seuss