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!
by Jane Bard, CMNH President
What’s new at the Museum? is the most commonly asked question when myself and my Museum colleagues are out and about in the community.
Before looking ahead, 2017 saw growth and change to best serve the 93,000 plus individuals we served last year. New experiences for our visitors included a new Thinkering Lab exhibit in January, to a major refresh of the iconic Build It-Fly It exhibit in the Fall, three new Gallery 6 exhibitions throughout the year, and the opening of the new Dover Adventure Playground outside our doors in June.
To deepen our impact, we created new curriculum-based programs for schools, our first-ever Grown-Up Play Dates and the We All Belong program for immigrant families. One of our most ambitious projects took place behind the scenes, an investment in a point-of-sales and database system that is helping us become more effective and efficient.
So what is in store for 2018? We will be celebrating our 35th anniversary and 10th year since becoming the Children’s Museum of New Hampshire and expanding in Dover by continuing to offer the same great programming and exhibits you’ve come to expect from us, while continuing to refresh these experiences and listening to the needs of our audience. Our One World exhibits will be getting a new life, introducing visitors to new cultures representing local immigrant populations through arts, culture and food. New signs within our exhibits will highlight the ways children are learning as they explore. Favorite programs and events will continue, while plans are underway for a special anniversary events in the summer and fall, so stay tuned!
Do you visit the Children's Museum of New Hampshire a lot and don't want to deal with parking tokens or running out to feed the meter? The town of Dover has started to use the EasyPark System and it might be a great solution for many of our visitors. It has several advantages:
- No longer need to go to and from the parking meter. Just turn your EasyPark on for the zone you are in and enjoy your visit downtown.
- No longer have to predict how long you will be parked and paying for unused time. Just turn the device off when you are done.
- Pay "by the minute." No one hour minimum for credit cards or 20 minutes for coins/tokens.
- It can be turned on before the hours of meter operation and won't start charging until 9am.
- You don't have to come out to turn it off. The EasyPark will stop charging once meter hours end. Just remember to turn off before the next morning.
- It will remind you every 60 seconds with a tone in the event you drive away and don't turn it off.
- You can still take advantage of the "short visit exception" free parking in on-street spaces. Simply don't turn your device on. Parking officers will track your short visit like they do all cars. If you change your mind and want to park longer, just turn the device on.
- If used properly, virtually eliminates the chance of getting a parking ticket.
- Not only does the EasyPark system work in Dover, but also in Durham, Portsmouth and Manchester.
You will need internet access & a credit/debit card to use the EasyPark System.
- Each EasyPark cost $29.95 including $10 in parking fees.
- There is a $1.10/month membership fee per device or $11 a year when paying for the year in advance.
- Go to www.easyparkusa.com and set up your account or you can call 1-855-873-2797 and EasyPark will send you an email to walk you through the process.
- $3.25 fee for reloads up to $50; $3.70 for $75; and $4.25 for $100.
Your membership fee gets you:
- Free battery replacement every 12 months
- Online and phone account assistance
- Access to online reports of parking activity
Questions? Call (603) 516-6132
As the Children’s Museum of New Hampshire enters its 35th year, we are taking the opportunity to shine a spotlight on some of the businesses and individuals who have supported us so generously along the way.
Meet Kevin Grant from Sprague and a former member of the Children’s Museum board. Sprague was founded in 1870 and is one of the largest independent suppliers of energy products and related services in the Northeast. They market fuel oils, natural gas, and electricity to over 20,000 business customers. They are committed to improving the communities in which they live and work, both as a company and through their employees.
As Kevin and I walked around the museum, we talked about Sprague’s long connection to the Children’s Museum.
Paula: Sprague was instrumental to the Children’s Museum by giving the lead gift to our capital campaign to create the new museum in Dover in 2008. Can you tell me about that decision?
Kevin: Prior to the capital campaign Sprague had a long history of supporting the Children’s Museum during its years as our neighbor in Portsmouth. I think we recognized the important role the museum plays in our community and what a large endeavor that it was taking on in transforming their organization with the move into this new space. Sprague saw an opportunity to support the museum during this period and we were pleased we could be part of the campaign.
Paula: What impact is Sprague achieving through its giving?
Kevin: There is a culture of giving that is important to Sprague throughout the entire organization. I think this is reflected in our annual support of the MDA and Big Brothers / Big Sisters as well as the weekly support we provide to a number of different entities. Many of these efforts come from Sprague’s “Just Give” committee, which is an employee-organized group that is constantly coming up with innovative ways to raise funds within Sprague to assist local organizations. We are proud of this legacy of giving to the Museum and the other non-profits in the Seacoast plus the other communities that we operate in.
Paula: What would you tell other businesses about supporting the Children’s Museum?
Kevin: Being part of the Museum’s donor community has allowed us to see up close the great programs and services being offered here daily. Having had the opportunity to serve on the board, I have witnessed what a knowledgeable and professional staff the museum has been able to assemble. These experiences give Sprague great confidence that our donations are having a meaningful impact. I will also add that the museum is also a lot of fun. Sprague employees and their kids are frequent guests and have had many great experiences at the facility.
Paula Rais, VP Development & Community Engagement
Paula@childrens-museum.org (603) 742-2002 ext. 119
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.
The Children’s Museum of New Hampshire in Dover has started a series of adult evening events called “Throwback Thursday: Grown-up Play Dates,” where adults 21+ can have a chance to play in the exhibits, do funky science experiments and crafts, and enjoy special drinks in the 7th Settlement Brewery cash bar. To kick off the series they’ve planned a “Night at the BooZeum” on Thursday, October 19, 7-9pm.
“It’s something people request all the time,” shared Xanthi Gray, CMNH Education Director. “They want to get into the museum and play, whether they have kids or not!” Now is their chance to explore the museum’s two floors of hands-on exhibits including a giant pinscreen, a wall-to-wall Music Matrix, even an interactive augmented reality sand table.
7th Settlement Brewery, who will provide a cash bar for the entire series, has created a specialty spiced rum cider drink for the October event. Two classic horror movies “Dracula” and “The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari” will be playing in the STEAM Innovation Lab. Guests will be invited to make spooky slime, dissect an owl pellet, craft creepy pinecone spiders and paper cats. “We’ll have do-it-yourself face painting and a scavenger hunt and people can even try to win a Gold, Silver or Bronze candy medal by challenging their friends in a mummy wrapping contest and fashion show, or by eating a donut off a string!” said Xanthi.
In coming months the museum has planned more themed Throwback Thursday grown-up play dates. November 16th will be a “Bend & Brew” night with 3 Bridges Yoga instructor Gretchen Lamothe. January 18th has an “Engineer Some Fun” theme with giant Jenga and an egg-drop challenge. February 15th is “Messy Mayhem: Paint Night” for the aspiring artists. March 15th is all about “Star Wars: A Brew Hope.” April 19th will be a chance to celebrate with “The ‘Way Back’ Birthday Bash” featuring classic party games. Pull out the tux for the May 17th “80s Prom” night. June 14th will be a “Kick-off To Summer Party” complete with tie-dye, and sandcastle contests.
Guests must have a valid ID to attend. Tickets are on sale now online for $10 and are $12 at the door. The museum thanks its October Throwback Thursday sponsor, Atlas Heritage, LLC.
A unique, irreverent and fun event happened in Queens, NYC on Saturday, September 23 and it has a unique tie to New Hampshire. The Punk Rope Games IX has been held annually in New York City since 2009. A cross between the Olympics and Mardi Gras, the Games feature teams of 4 in costume, competing in 10 events with titles like the “Rubber Chicken Relay” and “Rope Skipping Barrel Race.”
This year, the majority of the registration fees from the Punk Rope Games, over $1,100, have been donated to the Children’s Museum of New Hampshire in honor of a recently departed museum volunteer, Vicky Haft. The Punk Rope Games are organized by her son, Tim Haft.
“My mom witnessed her first and only Punk Rope Games last year, less than two months before her untimely death,” shared Tim. “Watching the competition made her so happy as did volunteering at the Children’s Museum of New Hampshire. It seemed only fitting that this year’s Games be a tribute to both my mom and the great and important work being done at CMNH.”
Tim Haft created Punk Rope in 2004 to provide an edgy alternative to mainstream fitness classes. Their raucous classes for jumpers of all ages have taken place at gyms, community centers, bowling alleys, bars, breweries, city parks, art galleries, churches, playgrounds and even the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.
“On the surface, the Punk Rope Games are an athletic competition, but what they are really about is expressing creativity in a youthful, playful manner,” said Tim. He adds “The costumes are clearly more important than the athletic feats!”
The Children’s Museum of New Hampshire is located along the Cocheco River in downtown Dover and offers two floors of interactive exhibits for kids ages birth to 12 years. The museum’s mission is to actively engage families in hands-on discovery and to inspire all to become the next generation of innovators and creative thinkers. “Something that Vicky believed in and certainly reflects our goals here at Punk Rope,” said Tim. “We hope the funds raised will, in some small part, help CMNH to more easily achieve its mission. Even if just one child is positively impacted, the ripple effect can be felt throughout the world.”
“We’re thrilled that Tim has chosen to throw the Games this year in honor of Vicky,” said Doug Tilton, CMNH Director of Visitor Services and Volunteer Coordinator. “She was one of my closest friends, and in the 9 years that we worked side-by-side at the museum, she transformed both the museum and me. I use Vicky as a guide star to help us keep the Museum as the kind, welcoming and nurturing place as it was when she was with us.”
Learn more about the Punk Rope Games at http://www.punkrope.com/about/punk-rope-games/.
By Meredith Lamothe, CMNH Early Childhood & Literacy Coordinator
I love art. I love going to art museums and looking at masterpieces—I always have. I’m pretty crafty and have managed to make some art-like creations. I enjoy coming up with activities in our Muse Studio and finding ways to make them about the process of art rather than the final product (a subject that deserves its own blog post!). As I sit at my desk right now, I see Experience Guide Amanda outside doing our “Chalk Art” kit—no visitors have joined her yet, but she’s happily drawing a lovely rainbow near the entrance to the museum.
There’s just something about art, isn’t there? It can be whatever you want it—or need it—to be. For Amanda right now, it’s a calm moment before she gets back to her many tasks inside the museum. I’m more of a crafter and get a lot of joy from giving finished crafts to people I love. Art can be purely fun (have you seen the projects where you throw water balloons at a blank canvas?!). Art, especially with kids, can be a great way to visually see some of the fascinating growth that is happening—from drawings of stick figures with arms coming out of their heads, to beautiful clay sculptures and beyond.
As fun as art is on it’s own, just for yourself, it’s also great to have skilled instructors help out sometimes. They open our eyes to different art forms we may not have thought about before, introduce new materials to use to create, and have an abundance of knowledge and encouraging words to share.
And what do you know, lucky us, we have five incredible instructors visiting the museum next week! We’re thrilled to announce our first ever Visiting Artist Week here at The Children’s Museum of New Hampshire.
We will have five wonderful local artists joining us for workshops the week of July 24-28, 2017. A few of these artists were guests at our “Visiting Artist Camp” last year and the final products that those campers produced were nothing short of remarkable.
Workshops will be from 11am - noon each day and are included with museum admission and free for members. Workshops may be best for children 6 years old or older, but would be fine for younger children with some help.
Monday, July 24th: Neva Cole
Neva, the Communications Director here at the museum, will encourage families to tear up, rip, cut and glue painted paper into collaged sea monsters! If a mermaid or pirate find their way into your scene, even better!
Neva is a multimedia artist and illustrator who is not the least bit ashamed to admit she spends a ridiculous amount of time with paint on her hands.
Tuesday, July 25th: Tess Feltes
Tess, the curator of Gallery 6 here at the museum, will be sharing some of her watercolor knowledge! Did you know all birds start from eggs? Of course you did! But! Did you know that bird paintings start with egg shapes?
Learn to draw and paint birds using simple geometric shapes with Tess!
Tess has illustrated numerous scientific books and articles and she is going to share some tricks of the trade.
Wednesday, July 26th: Cindel Lamothe
Cindel, an expert seamstress, will be here explaining a bit about the process of sewing—from patterns to fabric to putting it all together into a fabulous final product! What will be the final product of your hard work on the 26th? An adorable felt dinosaur that you can put on a pillow, apron, or frame and put on your wall!
Thursday, July 27th: Gina Perry
Learn how to draw imaginary creatures with children's book illustrator Gina Perry. She will show you, step-by-step, how to draw a Unicorn, Bigfoot, Loch Ness Monster, and a Mermaid. Watch out - you might even learn how to draw a Dragon!
Friday, July 28th: Francois Lamothe
Seacoast pastel & acrylic painter Francois Lamothe will be here to share his skills. Francois will be sharing some tips and tricks about painting flowers using chalk pastels! Be sure to come prepared to get messy—this unique art experience is sure to accidentally travel onto clothing (it’s washable!)
We hope you will join us for a day or two of Visiting Artist Week. It’s sure to be a lot of fun and you’ll learn some unique new skills as well.
Oh! In case you’re interested, some visitors have joined Amanda and her chalk outside now and have added frogs, fish, a yellow submarine, and some very large flowers alongside her rainbow!