by Rebecca Scheinberg, CMNH Intern
We are officially in 2017. We made it to a brand new year filled with possibilities. The New Year provides an opportunity for reflection and resolutions. It is a blank slate. It is a chance for new discovery, innovation, and creativity.
At the end of 2016, we asked you to join us in sharing your wishes for the New Year. As part of our Family New Year’s Eve celebration, visitors created ‘wish blimps’ that they launched off our 30-foot vertical, hand-powered conveyor system known as 'Build It, Fly It.'
Your wishes ranged from getting a pet guinea pig to peace on earth, from being able to fly, to...pancakes. Someone wished for a baby sister or brother and someone else wished that their baby sister would stop crying so much. One visitor wished for nachos, and another wished for her frosty the snowman to come to life. Another friend wished for snow. We are nearly two weeks into the New Year and this one has already come true!
These are some of your wishes:
We had a wonderful time playing and exploring with you in 2016. This year, we already have a new exhibit and many exciting upcoming events. We hope you will visit us soon to play. May this year bring even more adventure, exploration, love and kindness to all.
We hope all your wishes come true.
2016 was full of...
We met some new friends
We tried new things
And we looked to the stars
We learned new skills
And we got a bit nostalgic
We watched in awe
And cheered on artistic exploration
We were here to teach you
And you inspired us all.
Thank you for another wonderful year!
Why “Dog’s Colorful Day”?
As the Literacy Coordinator here at The Children’s Museum I had the exciting task of picking the book we would be giving away to visitors as part of our Family Literacy Month celebration.
This might sound like a simple task. I adore picture books and use them as much as possible in all the programs I do here at the museum. I go to the library to pick out a few books for a specific class and always come back with about 12 more than originally planned. I can’t help myself!
However, this book buying was different. I wanted to choose a book that had great illustrations and a fun story--- I wanted the book to be entertaining for adults as well as children, I wanted it to prompt fun conversations among families and become a favorite to be enjoyed over and over again. I wanted it to be a book that could be appreciated by a grandparent, a teenage babysitter, an 18 month old or a nine year old—or even better—all of those people together!
Needless to say, it took me a very (very) long time to select a book.
The book I ended up picking is “Dog’s Colorful Day” by Emma Dodd.
This is a story of a busy little dog that goes on a colorful adventure and ends up getting into all kinds of messy trouble—teaching colors and numbers along the way. School Library Journal calls it “A multifaceted concept book and a charming story to boot!” I couldn’t agree more.
Here’s why I think “Dog’s Colorful Day” is a perfect fit for Family Literacy Month—and how you might like to use it with your family:
For reading with Babies:
- The book has clear illustrations that are easy for baby’s eyes to see and understand—there are many familiar shapes that appear in the book (shoe, ball, table, clouds). These are great to point out to baby--it will help them understand the world around them. Point these items out in the book while you read and then find real life examples.
- There are wonderful onomatopoeic words (Splat! Splish! Squash!) These playful words will resonate in baby’s ears and help them learn the sounds of our language.
- It’s a lovely and fun introduction to colors and numbers.
For reading with Toddlers & Preschoolers:
- This book is perfect for reading with the toddler & preschool age group—be sure to ask lots and lots of questions while you read—“What do you see on this page that Dog might get into? What color spot do you think he will get? Can you help me count Dog’s colorful spots?”
- As you read the book—point out the different colors of spots that Dog has—ask your toddler or preschooler if they can remember how Dog got each of his colorful spots. This activity will reinforce narrative skills—one of the most important pre-reading skills!
Reading with Older Children:
- This book has many familiar words that children starting to read will recognize. The pictures also lend themselves well as clues to help figure out what the words on the page say.
- Use it as a math activity! Ask your older child “If I wiped off Dog’s pink spot and blue spot—how many spots would he have left?”
- Do an art activity when you finish reading the book—have your child draw a picture of dog and then add all of his colorful spots.
I hope you enjoy “Dog’s Colorful Day” as much as I do. It’s a splendid book to read together as a family and has lots and lots of potential for literacy activities at home.
If you do enjoy “Dog’s Colorful Day”---Emma Dodd has written two more books about the adventures of Dog—“Dog’s ABC’s” and “Dog’s Noisy Day”. What kind of trouble will Dog get into next? Sounds to me like a good reason to pile into the car and head to the library!
We would like to give an extra special "Thank You!" to our Family Literacy Month sponsors for making these book giveaways possible:
Halloween is celebrated at the Children’s Museum of New Hampshire with science experiments with the resident “Wacky Scientist,” Fairy Bubbles, fairy wand-making, scavenger hunts, a costume contest, pumpkin clay and bat hat creations. During the Not-So-Spooky Spectacular on Saturday, October 29, parents and children will be offered lots of spook-free activities, crafts and fun, all free with museum admission.
This annual family-oriented event mixes costumes with hands-on learning, trades in candy for crafts, and offers little ghosts and goblins a chance to discover something new with interactive science experiments. “And as a bonus,” adds Jane Bard, CMNH President, “No one will jump out and scare you!”
This year’s Not-So-Spooky Spectacular is set for Saturday, October 29 from 10am–5pm inside the museum at 6 Washington Street in Dover.
The day’s activities for kids and families include:
- Touring our exhibits in your costumes
- Experiencing amazing science experiments with the museum's own Wacky Scientist at 11:30 am, 12:30pm, 1:30pm and 2:30pm
- Visiting ‘FairyLand’ where the fairies will guide you in making your own fairy wands
- Trying your hand at a Fairy bubble experiment
- Enjoying a trick-or-treat scavenger hunt around the museum and collecting stamps to receive an extra special prize
- Competing in a costume contest at 3:15pm with your fellow ghouls
- Creating crafts with pumpkin clay and crafting funky bat hats
All Not-So-Spooky Spectacular festivities are included in regular paid admission ($10 for adults and children, no charge for children under 12 months old) and free for Children's Museum of NH Members.
Families with children on the autism spectrum are invited to the Children’s Museum of New Hampshire for a free visit on the first Sunday of every month. Exploring Our Way provides opportunities for guests to enjoy family time at the museum in a safe, understanding environment, allows parents to network with one another and helps families discover new resources.
“Sunday mornings are very quiet,” said Paula Rais, CMNH Vice President of Development and Community Engagement. “The museum doesn’t open to the public until noon, so we invite these families in to experience the museum for a stress-free morning from 10am-noon. Siblings are always welcome, and the families can stay after we open the museum to the public if they feel comfortable. We hope their visit during Exploring Our Way will give them the confidence to come back and explore during regular hours.”
Often, a children’s museum can be a loud and overwhelming place, especially for children with sensory issues. “The Children’s Museum of New Hampshire’s mission is to actively engage families in hands-on discovery,” said CMNH President Jane Bard. “And that means, ALL families. We take that very seriously here and do everything we can to accommodate families facing these unique challenges.”
Exploring Our Way Autism Partnership Program takes place next on Sunday, October 2, 10am-noon and is sponsored by H.O.P.E. Behavioral Consulting. This program is free.
by Meredith Lamothe, Early Childhood and Literacy Coordinator
We were making shaky eggs the entire first week of our Toddlerfest celebration. Shaky eggs or egg maracas are a great first percussion instrument for little ones and a fun way for them to feel included in making music as well as get a good introduction to rhythm, which is an important early literacy skill!
There are lots of songs that can be used with shaky eggs—actually, you can shake along to most any song you like or listen to---but there are a handful of songs that I use regularly in Baby Storytime here at the museum that highlight shaky eggs and are a lot of fun.
Here’s a few you can try at home!
Counting Shakes: (Tune: "If You’re Happy and You Know It")
If you’re happy and you know it shake your egg—one time!
If you’re happy and you know it shake your egg—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 egg—three times!
(Keep going for however long the focus lasts!)
Shake, Clap, Tap! (Tune: "If You’re Happy and You Know It")
If you’re happy and you know it give a shake
If you’re happy and you know it give a shake! (etc)
If you’re happy and you know it give a clap!
If you’re happy and you know it give a clap (etc)
If you’re happy and you know it give a tap (tap your egg on a surface or part of your body)
If you’re happy and you know it give a tap (etc)
If you’re happy and you know it give a shake! And a clap! And a tap!
Shake Your Shaker! (Tune: "London Bridges")
Shake your shaker way up high, way up high, way up high
Shake your shaker way up high
Shake your Shaker
Shake your shaker…
Way down low
To the left
To the right
On your foot!
On your head
Shakers can also be used as an early reading and literacy tool. Bump them along the pages of a book to point out the different words, sound out familiar words and names using the eggs to accentuate the different syllables, or read a book that lends itself to music (Pet the Cat anyone?) and have your shaky eggs ready for the grooviest parts of the book!
How will you use your egg shaker at home?! Let us know!
Thanks to D.F. Richard, one of the Children’s Museum of New Hampshire’s busiest spaces, the MUSE Studio, is getting a makeover. For the past eight years, museum visitors of all ages have engaged in creative activities and challenges in the MUSE Studio. “Activities change every month here in the MUSE Studio,” shared Meredith Lamothe, CMNH Early Childhood and Literacy Coordinator, “the equipment and furniture needs to be versatile so we can use it in many different ways.”
The Studio now features a newly designed magnet table, inspiring artwork by local artist Sam Paolini, new technology for storytelling with a computer kiosk and an Elmo projector, a burlap-covered sewing table for collaborative art-making, and a pegboard table that can be taken on the road for the museum’s outreach programs. Renovations also include new tables and chairs, and of course, new art supplies.
Some other new features might not be as noticeable, but are equally important. The MUSE Studio also has a host of new picture books, open shelving for displaying artwork, and a curtain wall that will be utilized during special events like the popular Books Alive character appearance.
All MUSE Studio activities are free with museum admission. Muse Studio revitalization is supported through the generosity of D.F. Richard.
When I was growing up I loved going to the Children’s Museum of New Hampshire. To this day I can still remember playing in the submarine, brushing the giant teeth, and of course hanging out with "Witchypoo," the giant witch puppet, outside the museum during October. When looking for places to do my 10-week internship this summer I wanted to make sure I chose a place that I wanted to be and somewhere I could contribute. Early on in the search I was having a tough time finding places that interested me. When I stumbled upon the Children’s Museum of New Hampshire I immediately had a good feeling about it. I thought back to all the times I went to the Portsmouth location as a kid and how much fun it was to play in all the exhibits, and thought it would be really cool to help make that experience possible for other kids.
I was lucky to be a part of some really cool projects this summer. One of my first big assignments was to go around to various food vendors who were going to be at our Dover Mini Maker Faire and write blog posts about each organization and the food they would be serving. Through this process I got to meet a lot of really cool hard-working people that have built amazing local businesses. I also got the chance to sample some great food and share my thoughts with the public through the Children’s Museum of New Hampshire’s blog. Writing the food blog was something I didn’t expect to do at all this summer, but something I am so glad I got to do.
I also had the opportunity to try out some new guerilla marketing techniques for the museum using Rain Works spray which allows you to spray messages on the ground that only appear when it rains. This was a lot of fun because I had the freedom to really do whatever I wanted with it and create a blueprint for future Rain Works campaigns.
The best part about this whole summer though was the atmosphere of the Museum. The entire staff from the people working up in the office to the people on the floor everyday were so nice and just made it a really comfortable place to be. This whole summer really was a great experience for me, and I definitely improved my writing through the blog posts and other assignments I did.
It's funny how life comes full circle sometimes. Who would have thought when I was a sugar-crazed 10 year old running around having the time of my life in the museum that I would have found my way back to the new location in Dover, 13 years later to help the marketing team promote the museum brand. I certainly couldn’t have predicted it, but I’m so glad it happened, its brought back some awesome memories and made me more confident in my abilities as I journey into the real world. I cannot thank everyone at the museum enough for helping me through these last two months and just being awesome people to be around everyday.
Thank you CMNH! I will miss you!