The Museum Blog

Category: Parenting

Baby Storytime: Songs & Rhymes about Food!

by Meredith Brustlin, CMNH Educator

This week, I shared some of my favorite songs and rhymes all about food! Here they are so you can follow along and keep singing all week long! 

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
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! 

Popcorn! (bounce)

Popcorn, popcorn, sizzling in the pan
Shake it up, shake it up
Bam! Bam! Bam!

Popcorn, popcorn, now it’s getting hot
Shake it up, shake it up
Pop! Pop! Pop! 

Sugar Babies (action rhyme) 

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

Roll, roll, sugar babies
Roll, roll, sugar babies
Hug! Kiss! Clap, clap, clap

Roll, roll, sugar babies
Roll, roll, sugar babies
Up! Down! Clap, clap, clap

NOTE: Feel free to add more opposites and keep this rhyme going for awhile!

SECOND NOTE: I realized (while recording this video) that Hug & Kiss are, in fact, NOT opposites, but it was too late to change them--this was a leftover edit from Valentine’s Day! 

Apple Tree (action rhyme)

Way up high in an apple tree,
Two little apples smiled at me!
I shook that tree as hard as I could,
Boom! Down came the apples…
Yum! They were good! 

NOTE: Feel free to change the words to this rhyme to reflect your child’s favorite foods! Way up high in a cupcake tree, anyone?! (Yes please!)

Shake Your Shaker! (prop song)

If you’re happy and you know it, shake your shaker--one time!
If you’re happy and you know it, shake your shaker--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 shaker...three times!
If you’re happy and you know it, shake your shaker...four times!
If you’re happy and you know it, shake your shaker...five 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 shaker!!!

NOTE: You can make your own shaker at home! I used an empty ibuprofen bottle and put some popcorn kernels inside - I like this option because it has the child safety lock top. You could also put popcorn kernels or beans inside a plastic egg and tape the egg shut! 

Give a Shake, Tap, Clap! (prop song)

If you’re happy and you know it...give a shake, shake, shake!
If you’re happy and you know it...give a shake, shake, shake!
If you’re happy and you know it and you really want to show it
If you’re happy and you know it...give a shake, shake, shake!

If you’re happy and you know it...give a tap, tap, tap!
If you’re happy and you know it...give a tap, tap, tap!
If you’re happy and you know it and you really want to show it
If you’re happy and you know it...give a tap, tap, tap!

If you’re happy and you know it...give a clap, clap, clap!
If you’re happy and you know it...give a clap, clap, clap!
If you’re happy and you know it and you really want to show it
If you’re happy and you know it...give a clap, clap, clap!

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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Two Ingredient Snow Dough

By Colie Hahr, CMNH Educator

Our most popular drop-in STEAM activities at CMNH seem to involve making messy mixtures! From slime, to dough, to puffy paint most kids love getting their hands a little dirty, and enjoying a sensory experience while they play and create.

One of the easiest make-at-home messy projects is two ingredient snow dough. It’s part science experiment and part sensory play, and honestly just a  bit messy compared to the wild world of slime! 

Materials:

  • Table cover of some kind (a trash bag works!)
  • Corn Starch
  • Hair conditioner -white works well
  • Mixing bowl
  • Measuring cups
  • Mixing spoon
  • Optional: food coloring, cookie cutters, placemat or tray for play, playdough accessories

Dough recipe: this dough has a one to two ratio of liquid to solid ingredients, so it is easy to double or halve the recipe:

Ingredients:

2 cups cornstarch

1 cup inexpensive hair conditioner

Food coloring (optional)

Directions:

  • Add the food coloring (optional) to the conditioner, then mix in a large bowl.
  •  Add the cornstarch to the bowl and mix thoroughly. Kids can take turns mixing. Keep mixing with a spoon until the consistency seems like playdough
  • If the mixture is too wet, add corn starch, and too dry add a little more conditioner. Avoid handling the dough until it looks nice and smooth- this will help contain the mess in the bowl until it is ready to be handled. 
  • Play with the dough using cookie cutters, stamps, small figurines, or other manipulatives of your choice. It is washable from most surfaces, but kids should be supervised as they would with playdough

What Happened? Once the dough is mixed together, a whole new material has been created, however, the reaction is complicated because the conditioner includes several mixtures and solutions in its ingredients. A mixture is when two substances are mixed together, but you can separate them back into their individual parts. Trail mix is a good example of a mixture. A solution is a substance where you mix ingredients together, and it’s not possible to separate them. Hot Cocoa is an example kids may understand: once you mix hot cocoa powder with milk or water, can you turn it back into milk or water again? 

For this activity, you mixed together two different ingredients to make something new. The corn starch is a solid, even though it is a very fine powder. It’s similar to the shape, size, and texture of sand, so making this comparison may be helpful for kids to understand that something can be solid, but also be made of very small parts. Corn starch is used to help make things thicker for cooking, and it also helped to make the dough thicker and more solid. 

The other ingredient is hair conditioner, which is a liquid even though it is very thick. The conditioner helped to make the dough softer and easier to mold. The dough you created is still a solid, but it is able to be sculpted and shaped! The ratio of conditioner to corn starch is what made the dough work. This recipe used a 2 to 1 ratio, so there was twice as much cornstarch as conditioner. Older kids can work on fractions, adding, measuring, and dividing as part of this project. 

One way to explain this experiment to kids is to ask them to think about making a cake. When you mix all of the ingredients together to make a cake, the ingredients go through a physical change and create a mixture.  When the cake goes into the oven to bake, a chemical change takes place, and the batter mixture turns from liquid into a solid baked cake. It would not be possible to take the eggs, flour, or milk back out of the cake once it is cooked, and that’s part of what makes it a chemical change rather than a physical change. For matter to change, usually something needs to be added such as heat or pressure. We didn’t add heat or pressure for this experiment, so even though the dough was very different from the two ingredients that we put together to make it, it is still a physical change. We did not cook it like a cake, AND it’s not edible, so don’t eat it! 

Physical Change: A physical change is a type of change in which the form of matter is altered but one substance is not transformed into another. For example, folding paper to make an origami crane changes the shape and size of the paper, but it is still paper. 

Chemical Change: A chemical change is any change that causes a new substance to be formed. For example, if an origami crane were to catch fire and burn, the paper would turn into ashes, a new substance. 

Mixture: A substance made by mixing other substances together. For example, trail mix. 

Storage: The dough should last for about a month if it’s sealed up in a container. Add a little water to the dough if it dries out, and it will last longer.  

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Tinker Time at Home!

by Meredith Brustlin, CMNH Educator

Every week at the Children's Museum of New Hampshire we host a program called “Tinker Time”. Tinker Time is a drop-in program that emphasizes the importance of tinkering! Tinkering helps children develop fine motor skills, increase problem-solving abilities, and is an open invitation to foster peer relationships. 

What I love about tinkering is that it’s open-ended and no-fail. The carefully selected activities are designed to have many possible solutions and ways to explore. This means that children with different learning styles, who are different ages, and have different interests can all get something out of these activities. 

I usually set up the tinkering program with five different activity areas: Art Material Creations, Sorting, Building, Sensory/Texture Play, and Cause & Effect Exploration. I’m sharing one activity from each of these categories, but please don’t feel like you have to set-up all of them to have a successful tinker time! Set up one or two - use these activities as jumping off points and then tweak it to match the supplies you have at home or your own child’s interests - it’s totally up to you! 

Enjoy tinkering! 

Art Exploration: Sticker drawing prompts

  • Place round tickers (or draw round circles with different colors) on index cards or pieces of paper. Invite your child to use the placement of the dots to make a picture! 
  • Try putting the same configuration of dots on several pieces of paper and have a “draw-off” with the whole family - see how different your drawings are even though you were given the same prompt! 

Sorting: Color sorting

  • Gather lots of different art materials from around your house (markers, permanent markers, crayons, hi-lighters, colored pencils) and invite your child to sort them. 
  • Will they sort them by color? By type of art material? By size? 
  • Invite children to try and make a pattern using the colorful art materials! 

Building: Cup towers w/ manipulatives

  • Collect plastic cups from around your house
  • Find some small manipulatives - little animal or people toys. 
  • Build homes for the animals or build fences around them. Hide little people in the cups and guess where they are. 
  • See who can make the tallest tower! 
  • Build a tall tower and then throw a ball at it to knock it down!

Sensory/Textures: Cars on Salt

  • Sprinkle salt all over a cookie sheet or other container
  • Use toy cars, toy animals, or just hands to explore the salt and make designs! 

Cause & Effect: Is it magnetic? 

  • Collect small items that are either magnetic..or not magnetic...and place them in a container
  • Find a magnet on your fridge that is powerful enough to pick up some small items
  • For younger children: test and see which of the items are magnetic! How many items were you able to pick up using the magnet?
  • For older children: invite them to pre-sort the items into piles of items they think will be magnetic and ones that they do not think will be magnetic. Use the magnet to test their predictions! 

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Children's Books for Grief

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/

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A Working Parent’s “Summer”

Nevaandlilacapecod Web

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.

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Musical Memories

by Rebecca Scheinberg, CMNH Intern


“I think music in itself is healing. It’s an explosive expression of humanity. It’s something we are all touched by. No matter what culture we’re from.” – Billy Joel

Music has an incredible power to imprint memories into our brains that can last a lifetime. Music has the ability to transform a mood, to lift a spirit, to bring people together. My morning routine includes music and coffee. These are the essentials. I am not a morning person so music serves as a necessity, equal to my morning coffee, for waking up. While I was getting ready for my internship [at the Children’s Museum] one morning, I was listening to the Harry Belafonte station on Pandora. The songs were upbeat and may have inspired an impromptu dance party in my kitchen while making coffee. Then the song, ‘When I’m 64’ by the Beatles, started. I love the playfulness of this song and I remember listening to it with my dad when I was a kid. My father is a big music and Beatles fan. It prompted a vivid memory of listening to the song from the tabletop jukebox in the mid-90s with my family at a New York diner. My parents would give me three quarters and let me choose the songs, at least one of which would be a song by the Beatles.

This memory sparked an idea. I wanted to learn more about what songs parents shared with their children. I spoke with a few people including Neva and Taylore (the two incredible humans who run the Communications/Marketing department at the CMNH) and my dear, wonderful friend Marsha. They shared some musical memories with me.


Taylore Kelly, Communications Specialist and Development Assistant

I Ran by the Flock of Seagulls

My son Yoso was delayed in speaking. He would hum and so I would play him music a lot and he started singing in the car in particular. I think it may have been the acoustics and the stereo itself. So he could sing before he could talk. The first song he picked up was the song “I Ran” by flock of seagulls. He sang that song after the second time of playing it for him, and danced in his car seat. It was the first song I had ever recorded on my boombox in the 80’s. So it’s very nostalgic to us both.


Marsha, CMNH Patron and Mom

Silent Night

“I make sure that I sing both kids a handful of lullabies before it's lights out. I love this part of the day, when they are quiet and succumbing to sleepiness, and it's pretty much the only time of day when they are still. Like most people, I love sleeping children - they almost seem to glow with innocence and goodness. I also have nice memories of my mom singing me German lullabies before I would go to bed, which was pretty much the only time I let her speak German, her native language, so I think she loved that time of day. At any rate, we had all sorts of songs in our repertoire in the beginning, but because James (my husband) and I tag team with the bedtime responsibilities, and because both kids are stalwart in their little routines, the songs we routinely ended up singing needed to be songs that both of us knew. James doesn't know many songs. One of the few songs he does know is Silent Night. It was never a song that I was particularly interested in, as it has fairly obvious connotations and I'm a cynical atheist, but we sing it each and every night throughout the year, and I have come to deeply appreciate its message of peace, a gentle world, a good night's sleep that is wished upon innocent children, and I often confess that I get a bit choked up as I sing it. It's exactly what I wish for my children: peace, both through sleep and through a good and kind world. It's beautiful, and it makes me so grateful that I have these little hellraisers to look after and try to help them pave a safe path through their travels.”


Neva Cole, CMNH Communications Director

Bamboleo

“My daughter, Lila has never really tolerated my singing. When she was about 2 or 3, we’d be driving in the car and a great song would come on the radio and I’d start belting out the lyrics, only to have her scream at me “Mama! STOP!” Even when I’d play her toddler music, she refused to let me sing along to the ABC’s, insisting that she should be the only one singing and dancing around.

Now that she is five, she’s a bit more tolerant. We’ve had some successful dance parties in the kitchen to Taylore Swift’s “Shake It Off.” After seeing the animated movie “Sing” however, we’ve taken it to a whole new level of enthusiasm. Now, when we are making cookies, or eating lunch in the kitchen, the request for music is very specific. “BAMBOLEO, please!”

Neither of us know most of the lyrics, but we dance around waiting for the chorus to kick in. Then, at the top of our lungs, shout it out: “BAMBOLEO! BAMBOLEA!” Thank you Gipsy Kings for getting my daughter to finally let me get my dance on!”


Thank you all for sharing a beautiful glimpse into your stories. I hope that you find time in your day to enjoy the music and get your dance on!

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CMNH 5K + 1: The Sequel

Last year, I ran the Children’s Museum 5K Road Race with a 6 month old. It was definitely a different experience from the previous races I had run. My son, wearing a *slightly* smaller version of the Captain America shirt that Daddy runs in, mostly stayed quiet the whole race while I talked loudly and often to him throughout the race. It was the first time during a race that – when encountering a downhill portion of the course – I yelled, “Wheeeee!”

Like I said, a different experience.

This year, the experience changed again.

#1. That 6 month old suddenly (at least it felt sudden) had become an 18 month old, had a mouth full of teeth, is obsessed with his Thomas the Tank Engine sunglasses and waving and shouting to most people (and animals – especially animals) he sees on a leisurely walk around our neighborhood. A very busy Road Race & Fun Run? Would it be too overwhelming? Would he have a meltdown? Would I need to keep raisins in my shorts pocket? He loves raisins.

#2. As the museum’s Media Producer, I would be photographing and videotaping different portions of Race Day. And pushing my son in the stroller at the same time.

#3. If things turned upside-down (something that any parent of a toddler can attest happens roughly every 20-30 minutes), I would have to leave the course and head back to the museum for an extended raisin-filled time out.

Please enjoy the following look at our participating in the 30th Annual CMNH 5K Road Race and Fun Run.

Father & Son, pre-race

Father & Son, pre-race, sporting the official hashtag of the CMNH Road Race!

Long time volunteers and former staff help man the registration tables for those picking up their race bibs and the many racers that wait to check the weather that morning and register the day of the race

Long time volunteers and former staff Ann, Gabe & Anne help man the registration tables for those picking up their race bibs and the many racers that wait to check the weather that morning and register the day of the race

It was still a little chilly about 15 minutes before race time.

It was still a little chilly about 15 minutes before race time.

One of the largest groups of runners at this year's race!

One of the largest groups of runners at this year’s race!

Getting to the starting line on time can be difficult when there's a . . . FIRETRUCK PIT STOP!

Getting to the starting line on time can be difficult when there’s a . . . FIRETRUCK PIT STOP!

Face Painting is always a popular activity at our road races.

Face Painting is always a popular activity at our road races.

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CMNH Volunteer and Miss Teen NH Caroline moments before she sings the National Anthem.

CMNH Volunteer and Miss Teen NH Caroline moments before she sings the National Anthem.

One more minute until the starting pistol starts the 30th Annual CMNH 5K Road Race!

One more minute until the starting pistol starts the 30th Annual CMNH 5K Road Race!

On your mark . . . Get set . . .

On your mark . . .

Get set . . .

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Making our way up Central Avenue!

Making our way up Central Avenue!

Cutting across Chapel Street next to Kendall Pond Pizza II & Janetos!

Cutting across Chapel Street next to Kendall Pond Pizza II & Janetos!

The Dover Mounted Patrol joined our volunteers at Rogers St in cheering on the races. (Which also convinced my son that there would be horses waiting for him at the end of every street we passed.)

“Horsies! Horsies!” the voice from the stroller cried out as we continued up Portland Ave. The Dover Mounted Patrol joined our volunteers at Rogers St in cheering on the races. (Which also convinced my son that there would be horses waiting for him at the end of every street we passed.)

CMNH Media Producer Zach and his son ran the 5K this morning. We checked in with them at Mile #1 to see how the father/son team was holding up. We'll give you a hint: Someone was missing the third member of their team! #CMNH #CMNH5K #CMNHrace #CMNHzf #SeacoastRoadRaceSeries #AtlanticAvenue #FamilyFun #FatherAndSon #Mile1 #SeacoastNH #DoverNH #NewHampshire
A video posted by Children's Museum of NH (@childrensmuseumofnh) on May 2, 2015 at 3:04pm PDT

Long time CMNH volunteer Frank prepares runners for the Fairway Meadows Cul-de-sac

Long time CMNH volunteer Frank prepares runners for the Fairway Meadows Cul-de-sac. What he DIDN’T prepare me for is that there would be cute puppy dogs that live on said cul-de-sac. Cute puppy dogs that my son INSISTED we stop the stroller for so we could point at them. Repeatedly. “Doggie, Doggie, Doggie!” was his repeated yelp. That is, until he came up to the top of the loop and quickly remembered that his grandfather was helping to man the water station!

After 1.5 miles mostly uphill, our Water Station volunteers were a very welcome sight for our course runners! #CMNH #CMNH5K #CMNHrace #CMNHvolunteers #WaterStation #SeacoastRoadRaceSeries #SeacoastNH #DoverNH #NewHampshire
A photo posted by Children's Museum of NH (@childrensmuseumofnh) on May 2, 2015 at 4:52pm PDT

It's all (mostly) downhill after the Mile #2 marker!

It’s all (mostly) downhill after the Mile #2 marker! And this is about when the cries for, “Grampa!” finally gave way to “Balloon! Balloon! Balloon!”, which itself turned to excited garbles of “PONYHORSIEPONY!” as we approached the Mounted Patrol Stables on Cocheco Street.

CMNH volunteer & balloon wrangler Jess mans the hill leading from Cocheco Street to Portland Avenue.

CMNH volunteer & balloon wrangler Jess mans the hill leading from Cocheco Street to Portland Avenue.

Looking out over the Cocheco River as we round the bend towards Mile Marker #3!

Looking out over the Cocheco River as we round the bend towards Mile Marker #3!

Can it really be Mile #3?! Are we almost there?

Can it really be Mile #3?! Are we almost there?

These two long time CMNH members both participated on race day; 5K for Mom and Fun Run for Son!

These two long time CMNH members both participated on race day; 5K for Mom and Fun Run for Son!

Two local runners who run the CMNH 5K every year!

Two local runners who run the CMNH 5K every year!

Long time Children's Museum 5K mascot, Albert the Alligator

Long time Children’s Museum 5K mascot, Albert the Alligator getting ready for the Fun Run! (Has anyone else ever noticed that Doug is always missing when it’s time for the Fun Run? Hmmmmm . . .)

Stop the presses - BANANA BREAK!

Stop the presses – BANANA BREAK!

CMNH Educator Sarah and Albert the Alligator lead the junior racers in some stretches before the race begins

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CMNH Educator Sarah and Albert the Alligator lead the junior racers in some stretches before the race begins

And they're off!

And they’re off!

My wife and son running in the Toddler 50 yd. dash. He might just make this!

My wife and son running in the Toddler 50 yd. dash. He might just make this!

You've . . . um, gone off course . . .

You’ve . . . um, gone . . . off course . . .

And . . . he's decided he's running an entirely different race now. To each his own!

And . . . he’s decided he’s running an entirely different race now. To each his own!

CMNH volunteer extraordinaire Terri mans the CMNH/Hannaford Foodworks Yogurt Bar in Henry Law Park

CMNH volunteer extraordinaire Terri mans the CMNH/Hannaford Foodworks Yogurt Bar in Henry Law Park

You'd be bananas to miss out on the miles of food post-race at our Hospitality Tent! (See what I did there?)

You’d be bananas to miss out on the miles of food post-race at our Hospitality Tent! (See what I did there?)

Bookings Manager Caitlynne, Corporate Relations Manager Katie and CMNH Board Member Sarah were running behind the scenes all morning to make sure everything ran smoothly!

Bookings Manager Caitlynne, Corporate Relations Manager Katie and CMNH Board Member Sarah were running behind the scenes all morning to make sure everything ran smoothly!

Well, that’s another CMNH Road Race & Fun Run in the books! We’re already preparing for Race #31! Did you run the race? We hope you had as much fun as we did!

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Giving the Gift of Great Memories

For years my family has gotten accustomed to my gift-giving strategy. Sure, you may get something from me that you want (like a certain brick building toy) or something you need (like socks and pajamas), but thrown into the mix has always been the “experience gift.”

No one in my close circle can avoid these treasures – from tickets to a concert, theatre, attraction or sporting event, to a Museum membership, day of skiing, weekend of camping or day-trip adventure with several destinations, always including a stop for food, of course.

I always thought I was being sly, giving gifts that brought my family together for shared experiences, creating new memories. Is it still considered “giving” when what you receive back is just as valuable as the gift you give?

My sons, age 2 and 6, at the Boston's Children's Museum.My sons, age 2 and 6, at the Boston’s Children’s Museum.

I recently asked my boys, ages 12 and 16, what their favorite gifts were from years’ past. I was surprised how few toys they could name or really remember, especially given how excited they were about them at the time.

But my teenager did remember the awe of sitting in the front row to see his first live theatre performance at age 4, and how much fun he had exploring the Museum in this picture at age 6. And my 12-year-old remembers the thrill of night skiing with a glow stick strapped to his jacket and learning how to start a campfire by a lake.

Last year's experience giftLast yeLast year's experience giftar’s experience gifts: Tickets to see the Blue Man Group and pizza dinner in Boston’s North End for my oldest (left), and and a ropes course adventure for my youngest (right).

As my children get older, I may not always be the person chosen to enjoy these experiences with them. You can be sure that my experience gifts will keep coming nonetheless.

This year, consider giving your friends and family the gift of a year-long membership to the Children’s Museum of New Hampshire or our top-level Clubhouse Membership that includes free and reduced-priced admission at 400+ museums around the country.

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