The Museum Blog

Category: Learning

Make Seed Flyers

by Meredith Brustlin, CMNH Educator

This week, all of our online programming will focus on the earth and being environmentally friendly! 

Try making seed flyers this week. These are fun to make and fun to throw or plant! Plus, the wildflower seeds that you use to create them will be helpful to your neighborhood pollinators. 

Materials Needed:

  • Newspaper or construction paper (torn into small pieces)
  • Water
  • A blender or food processor
  • Wildflower seeds
  • Mini muffin tin (optional)

Directions:

  • Start by tearing up your paper into small pieces
  • Put the pieces in a bowl or a couple different bowls
  • Pour water over your paper pieces and allow them to soak
    • This will take about 20 minutes with construction paper and less time with newspaper
  • Once your paper is soaked, add it to your food processor or blender
    • Process or blend until the paper is fully broken down
  • Now it’s time to make your seed bombs!
    • Smush the paper into your muffin tin or use your hands to smush the paper into spheres
    • If using the muffin tin, put a layer of paper and then sprinkle some seeds on top, then add another layer of paper on top of that and smush it all down
    • If using your hands, put some paper and seeds into your hands and then roll into balls
  • Let your seed flyers dry
    • Let them dry for a few hours in the muffin tin (if you used one)
    • Once they’re a bit dry, transfer them to a drying rack and let them fully dry overnight

Now what do you do?!

  • When seed planting season starts...plant your seed flyers! Or, as the name implies, THROW THEM and see them fly through the air! They will land and start to work their way into the soil. 

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

Continue reading

First Friends: Things that GO!

by Meredith Brustlin, CMNH Educator

Things That GO! Fast and Slow

This week in Baby Storytime we talked about things that GO! And moving fast and slow!

Some of the songs/rhymes this week were repeats from previous videos - but repetition is so important for this age group. When little ones hear the same songs or rhymes over and over again, it becomes extra fun for them because they start to anticipate what comes next and sing/play along. It also helps them with language acquisition and memory skills. 

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! 

Sugar Babies (action rhyme)

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

“   “
Fast! Slow! Clap-clap-clap!

“   “
Up! Down! Clap-clap-clap!

My Little Red Wagon (bounce)

Bouncing up and down in my little red wagon
Bouncing up and down in my little red wagon
Bouncing up and down in my little red wagon
Won’t you be my darling?

Bouncing side to side in my little red wagon
Bouncing side to side in my little red wagon
Bouncing side to side in my little red wagon
Won’t you be my darling?

Bouncing way up high in my little red wagon
Bouncing way up high in my little red wagon
Bouncing way up high in my little red wagon
Won’t you be my darling? 

Slowly, Slowly (action rhyme/tickle)

Slowly, slowly, very slowly
Creeps the garden snail

Slowly, slowly, very slowly
Up the wooden rail

Quickly, quickly, very quickly
Runs the little mouse!

Quickly, quickly, very quickly
All around the house! 

This is the way the ladies ride (bounce)

This is the way the ladies ride
Trit-trot, trit-trot

This is the way the gentlemen ride
Jiggity-jog, jiggity-jog

This is the way the farmer rides
Hobbildy-hoy, hobbildy-hoy

And this is the way the hunter rides
Gallopy, gallopy, gallopy, gallopy

Oooooooover the fence! 

Scarf Peekaboo (prop song)

We wave our scarves together
We wave our scarves together
We wave our scarves together
Because it’s lots of fun!

We wave them up high!
We wave them down low
We wave them over you...peekaboo!
Because it’s lots of fun

We throw our scarves together
We throw our scarves together
We throw our scarves together
Because it’s lots of fun!

We throw them up high!
We throw them down low
We throw them over you...peekaboo!
Because it’s lots of fun! 

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! 

Continue reading

Foil Boats Science Challenge

Foil Boat

by Meredith Brustlin, CMNH Educator

Materials needed:

  • One piece of aluminum foil per young scientist/participant (roughly the size of a standard piece of paper) Make sure all participants have the same size piece of foil. 
  • Sink/tub/plastic bin with about 6 inches of water in it
  • Weights to put in your boat (pennis work great for this!)
  • Optional: other building materials
    • Cardboard, tape, straws, popsicle sticks, etc

Directions (prep):

  • Fill up your water station (sink/tub/plastic bin)
  • Prep materials for each scientist participant--make sure they all have the same materials to use for their project
  • Collect boat weights (ex. pennies)

Directions (activity):

  • Explain to your young scientist(s) that today you will be making boats! 
  • Challenge them to make a boat that they think will hold the most weight and not sink using the materials provided
  • Test your boats by putting them in the water and gradually adding weight!
  • Feel free to re-design and test again. 

The Science:

  • We are seeing two forces at work in this science experiment: gravity and buoyancy!
  • Gravity: gravity is trying to pull your boat and pennies downward towards the center of the earth
  • Buoyancy: buoyancy is pushing the boat towards the surface of the water! 
  • Your boat will float if the force of buoyancy is greater than the force of gravity. 

Continue reading

Upcycled CD Scratch Art

by Meredith Brustlin, CMNH Educator

This is a super cool activity that can be done with materials you have at home that you may have thrown away otherwise! 

I like this activity because it also introduces an easy way to talk to your little ones about recycling and upcycling. You could start this activity with a short discussion. What does it mean to recycle? What do we recycle in our house? 

What do you think it means to UPcycle? This word will probably be new to them! When we recycle, we take items like plastic bottles and send them to the recycling center. From there, they are melted down to become the same item again or something new and different! Did you know plastic bottles can be recycled to become fleece jackets, carpets, and sleeping bags?!

UPcycling is taking something just as it is (in our case here, a CD) and turning it into something fun and new using just our hands and our creative minds! Upcycling projects tend to become beautiful works of art. Ask your little ones if they have upcycled anything before? Or maybe projects you’ve done together as a family? Projects they may be familiar with would be things like tire swings or milk carton birdhouses. 

Enjoy exploring upcycled CD scratch art together!

Materials Needed:

  • Old CDs or DVDs (it’s fine if they’re all scratched up!)
    • Check out your desk for old computer software--the CD I used was an ancient program from the digital camera I had in college!
  • ACRYLIC paint! 
    • I know it’s not washable which is tough with little ones--but it does need to be acrylic for this project so it sticks to the CD. 
  • Items to scratch the CD with
    • Chopsticks, forks, keys, paperclips, etc. 
  • Some kind of string or ribbon if you would like to hang up your scratch art CD!

Directions:

  • Invite little ones to paint their CDs! 
    • Be sure to paint on the shiny side of the CD, not the side with writing/text. 
    • It’s best to paint the CDs one color, or blocks of color. Since the idea is to create scratch art on the CDs, if you paint pictures of flowers or dogs or houses---they will look odd after you have also added scratch art to them. 
  • This is the hard part--wait for the paint on the CDs to totally dry. 
    • If you have enough CDs, you can experiment with scratching them while they are still wet and then compare with the CDs you scratch when they are dry. 
  • Once the CDs are dry, use the scratch tools to create designs on them!
    • Add a string or ribbon and hang your CD in a window to create a beautiful suncatcher! 

Continue reading

Bunny Art - Two Ways!

By Meredith Brustlin, CMNH Educator

Hi everyone! I have a fun springtime bunny painting project to share with you today. This is a typical example of an activity we would do at the museum as part of our Wacky Art Wednesday program. 

I tend to pick activities that are process based instead of product based. This is something you could keep in mind when choosing activities to do with your young ones while you’re home, too and try to alternate some between process and product based activities. Here’s how you can tell the difference...

A product-based activity is one where you have a clear end product in mind. Activities that fall in this category are typically more “crafty”. An example would be something like this (very cute!) paper chick craft: 

6XLrHq0FdralmwJPSI9DhS_rA3nsIOuChxSjPJGk_HB4dlED-enOHIuI-fjiP8_VT0qR1CjEPA3redzX3YjeOfZmzVSIK1mASx6TAmQsD9h-7-IeSsqHSdaY6dyw-_m6shSzeAQa

You (the adult) would have the pieces ready to go, and your child would go through the steps of assembling them to look like the example. 

There is NOTHING wrong with doing product based projects once in a while! It’s a terrific opportunity for little ones to follow directions, achieve a goal they have in mind, and usually make something very cute! 

A process-based activity focuses mostly on...the process! These tend to be a bit on the messier side and align more closely with “art” rather than something that is “crafty”. An example would be something like this project where they explored painting with cleaning brushes: 

0Vlg5MhPVfcq0hyu3sdK7nglJ9KsUZDlFzZ-U8mvE7LoiWpIoxwq8xTjfpwTCZ_SBT_wM81ZJSkv9WNtqeGyDG0sbprgkv6glO8S1evihBlb95vIm7DejAqmY-0BgT03LdkBakRQ

It’s all about the process and the unique experience! While I think the painting above came out looking very cool--that’s not the goal. The goal is to explore and create and focus on what you’re doing and how it works, rather than the end product. These kinds of projects foster creativity, promote conversation, and also tend to take a bit more time than a product focused activity. 

Our activity today - Bunny Art two ways - does a nice job combining process and product. You can either do this as a collage project with magazine strips or as a painting project - it’s up to you! 

Here’s what you will need to begin:

If you’re painting...

  • A piece of cardstock or construction paper
  • Clothespins & cotton balls
    • This is just a unique way to paint. Clip the cotton ball onto the clothespin and use it to “dot” paint all over your paper. You could, of course, also use a paintbrush! 
  • Paints
  • A cut-out of a bunny 
    • I printed a bunny silhouette from the internet and then just cut out the silhouette part so that my paper was left with just the shape of the bunny
  • A stapler or tape
  • A glue stick or white glue
  • A cotton ball

If you’re collaging…

  • A piece of cardstock or construction paper
  • Magazines cut into small strips
  • A glue stick or Mod Podge 
  • A cut-out of a bunny
    • See note above about the bunny!
  • A stapler or tape
  • A cotton ball

The activity:

  • Have your child paint or collage all over a piece of cardstock
  • They can decorate the whole thing or just a section in the middle
  • When they have finished creating and their art has dried, put the negative cut-out of the bunny on top of their paper
  • Part of their art will show through behind the bunny and make a very lovely piece of art!
  • Glue on the cotton ball to make the bunny’s fluffy tail! 

These could be used as special springtime cards for loved ones, or used to decorate windows! 

Watch the video above to see examples of both kinds of projects! 

Continue reading

Tinker Time: All About Spring!

by Meredith Brustlin, CMNH Educator

Sorting:

  • Place a variety of colors of plastic eggs in a container
  • Place pieces of colored paper, or paper with a color drawn on them, around the container
  • Invite little ones to sort them by color!
  • Want an extra challenge? Try making some plastic egg patterns! 

Cause & Effect:

  • Find something to make a ramp
    • I used a 3-ring binder, but you could find a piece of wood, cookie sheet, or piece of flat cardboard
  • Collect a few books to add to the ramp and give it some additional height
  • Find a car or two
    • I tied a tiny bunny stuffed animal to my car--this is fun, but not necessary!
  • Gather a variety of different textured materials
    • Tin foil, bubble wrap, felt, sandpaper, etc. 
  • Invite little ones to experiment with the ramp! 
    • Try racing the car down the ramp without any texture on it
    • Add different textures and see how the movement of the car changes
    • Add some height to the ramp and try again with the different textures
  • Ask questions!
    • What is happening?
    • How does the movement of the car change?
    • Why do you think it changes?
    • What else could we add/change?

Sensory:

  • Gather a bunch of plastic eggs
  • Fill up the eggs with a variety of materials 
    • Unpopped popcorn, coins, buttons, paper clips, etc
    • As an extra precaution, you could put a small piece of tape to keep the eggs closed during investigation! 
  • Make sure each egg has a sound match, aka two eggs of each sound
  • Invite little ones to try and match the sounds!

Art:

  • Find a paper towel tube
  • Cut it into three pieces
    • Leave one piece a circle
    • Smoosh the other two pieces to make ovals
  • Use the paper pieces to make a bunny stamp! 

Continue reading

Shiny Penny Experiment

By Colie Haahr, CMNH Educator

We were surprised by how excited kids got about cleaning pennies when we offered this experiment as a drop in STEAM activity at CMNH! It does seem like a magic trick when you first see the pennies getting shinier almost instantly. 

This experiment is a good way to practice making predictions and observations, and it’s an easy one to do with materials that are available at home! For kids learning about money and currency, this is a great way to practice counting and recognizing the different coins as well. 

Materials:

  • Table cover of some kind (a trash bag works!)
  • Several pennies
  • Other coins- quarter, nickel, dime, coins from other countries if available 
  • Vinegar 
  • Salt
  • Bowl of water
  • Bowl for vinegar and salt mixture
  • Q-tips
  • Paper towels 
  • Optional: lemon juice, soapy water, other liquids you would like to experiment with

Directions:

  • One way to set this experiment up is to use a muffin tin or small bowls to offer several different liquids for kids to try. A small pallet for paint works well, too! 
  • Put the coins on a surface you do not mind getting messy- plastic plate, paper towel, or directly on the table covering, but you will want some paper towels or dish towels nearby
  • Allow kids to experiment with the materials to see what would work best to clean the different coins by dipping the coins in the liquid, and brushing them with a q-tip
  •  Ask what they think will work best, and why?
  • After some experimentation, guide them toward the vinegar or lemon juice mixed with salt. The salt works as a mild abrasive, and the acid in the vinegar and lemon juice react with the pennies to make them shiny and new looking
    • Important: rinse the pennies in water after cleaning them if you would like to keep them nice and shiny! They will oxidize and turn green otherwise. 
    • Fun fact: this is what happened to the statue of liberty, and why it looks green today! Kids did not dip it into a bowl of vinegar, but the statue is copper, and it turned green because of oxidation over time. 
  • Ask why the acidic liquids cleaned the pennies, but not the other coins? What is different about them? The pennies are a different color because they are made of a different material: copper!

What’s Happening? 

 Pennies are made of copper, and copper is shiny, but over time it becomes tarnished and appears black or brown because of copper oxide, which is created when copper bonds with oxygen. Acids mixed with salt help break down the copper oxide on the penny. Vinegar may remove actual dirt from the pennies and other coins because it works well as a cleaner! 

Extensions: 

Science Bob offers a few more experiments you can try using the same materials.

Scientific American offers some ideas for different liquids to use, and a more in depth explanation and method for advanced experiment-ers.

Continue reading

Ice Exploration!

iceexploration.png#asset:11929

By Meredith Brustlin, CMNH Educator

Materials Needed:

  • Bowl(s) or container(s) that are freezer safe
  • Fun items/trinkets to freeze (small plastic toys, rocks, coins, etc)
  • Food coloring (optional, if you want colorful ice)
  • Spray bottle
  • Salt

Directions (prep):

  • Collect small trinkets and items from around the house and place them in a bowl or container
  • Fill the bowl or container with water
  • Add food coloring, if desired
  • Freeze at least overnight (depending on the size of your container)
  • Fill a spray bottle with water & a few spoonfuls of salt, shake! 

Directions (activity):

  • Take the container out of the freezer and turn it upside down on a cookie sheet, tray, or large dish
  • Once the ice has unstuck from the container, remove the container and invite your young scientists to play!
  • Direct them to spray the ice with the spray bottle. You can also have some other salt available that they can use to help melt the ice. 
  • Try to free some of the trinkets! 

The Science:

  • There are so many angles that you can take for discussing the science of this project. 
  • The water: it changes from a liquid to a solid when we put it in the freezer! While you melt the ice with the salt water, it changes back into a liquid again! That’s two states of matter, can it become a gas? (Yes! Water vapor!) 
  • The melting: Salt lowers the freezing point of water. Ice melts faster when salt is added as the salt lowers the freezing point of the ice, this is known as freezing point depression. The more salt you add the lower the freezing point. This is why we use salt on roads in the winter to help melt the ice and make them safe! 

The following Wee Ones video is designed for preschoolers and is all about "Melting" and would make a good video to watch together while doing this experiment!

Continue reading

Terms & Conditions Privacy Policy