#PlayTogether

Children’s Museum Encourages Families to #PlayTogether

The Children’s Museum of New Hampshire, like every museum across the country, has closed its doors for the good of the community during this pandemic. “Luckily ‘PLAY’ can happen anywhere,” said CMNH Director Jane Bard. “Our mission is to actively engage families in hands-on discovery, and there is no reason we can’t continue to do that, even with our exhibits being temporarily closed.”

In order to continue to fulfill their mission, Museum staff and educators are working hard to create online videos, blogs, social media challenges and more. “We continue to offer our Wee Ones Wednesday program Wednesday mornings at 8am through a recorded video on all of our social media channels including YouTube,” shared Bard. “So, fans of that program can tune in and say hello to their friend ‘Octopus’, do an activity or craft, pause for snack time, dance around to some silly songs, and even enjoy a story. If you’ve never joined us for a Wee Ones program, now is a great time to test it out! It’s perfect for ages 2 - 4.”

Another popular program is “First Friends and Baby Storytime.” “Ms. Meredith, one of our educators, has been recording First Friends videos to share with families at 8am on Friday mornings,” said Bard. “First Friends is a great program for babies and toddlers to watch together with their caregivers, because it has silly rhymes and active songs perfect for that age group.” Ms. Meredith also shares Tinker Time Tuesday videos as well, which are designed for parents who are looking for creative ways to help their toddlers practice skills like sorting, building, cause and effect and more. 

The museum’s outreach efforts don’t exclude the older kids. “Much of the content we share can be modified for a wide range of ages,” said Bard. “We give tips and tricks on how to do that either within the videos or on our blog.” Other video topics have included art activities, storytimes, STEAM challenges, and simple science experiments. “Everything we share can also be utilized by educators, and we certainly hope they take advantage of them."

In addition to the online content, the Museum is offering a range of Museum Shop “Spring Fun Packs” and “Museum to Go Activity Boxes” for sale online. When ordering, people can choose from two pick-up dates, Thursday, April 9 from 4-6pm or Saturday, April 11, 10am-noon. The purchases will be available in front of the Museum for contactless pick-up. “These are great bundles of toys and activities, perfect for the upcoming holiday, or really any day,” said Bard. “After all, playing together can happen anywhere, anytime. And the Children’s Museum of New Hampshire is here to be a community resource as we all try to parent through this pandemic.”

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First Friends Songs About Bugs & Insects

By Meredith Brustlin, CMNH Educator

Even if it’s rainy and gross outside, we can PRETEND it’s Spring, right? That’s why I shared songs/rhymes about bugs & insects this week! 

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! 

Beehive (action rhyme)

Here is the beehive
But where are the bees?
Hiding inside where nobody sees!

Soon they’ll come buzzing out of the hive…
One! Two! Three! Four! Five!

Buzzzzzzzzzz!

I’m a little Beetle (bounce) 

I’m a little beetle and I wiggle all day
If you get too close to me I’ll FLY away!

I’m a little bumble bee and I wiggle all day
If you get too close to me I’ll FLY away!

I’m a little lady bug and I wiggle all day
If you get too close to me I’ll FLY away!

I’m a little dragon fly and I wiggle all day
If you get too close to me I’ll FLY away!

Sleepy Bumble Bees (song/movement)

See the little bumble bees sleeping ‘til it’s nearly noon
Shall we wake them with a merry tune?
They’re so still...are they ill?!
No! Wake up bumble bees!

Hop little bumble bees hop, hop, hop
Hop little bumble bees hop, hop, hop
Hop little bumble bees hop, hop, hop
Hop, hop, hop aaaaaaaand...stop!

“  “

Jump little bumble bees!

“  “

Dance little bumble bees!

Popcorn (prop song)

Popcorn, popcorn (Wave your scarf!)
Popcorn, popcorn
In the pot, in the pot (Hide your scarf in your hands)

Shake them, shake them, shake them (shake shake shake!)
Shake them, shake them, shake them
‘Til they pop! ‘Til they pop! (Throw scarf in the air!)

Scarf Opposites (prop song)

Wave your scarf up high,
Wave your scarf up high,
Wave it up high! Wave it up high!

Wave your scarf down looowwwwww
Wave your scarf down looowwwwww

Wave your scarf! Wave your scarf! 

Wave your scarf fast/slow

Wave your scarf in front/behind

Wave your scarf a little/a lot! 

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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Ice Exploration!

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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!

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Make a Bird Kite!

by Meredith Brustlin, CMNH Educator

The craft I have to share with you today is making a bird kite! This is a really simple activity that you can do with a handful of household items - and it will (hopefully) supply your little ones with a whole bunch of fun.

This awesome activity was found on www.krokotak.com - browse their website for a variety of other fun activities that use simple materials you can find at home, mostly paper! 

Materials Needed:

  • Piece of 8.5 X 11 paper 
  • 2-3 Sticky notes 
    • Or pieces of colorful scrap paper and a glue stick or tape, I like the sticky notes because they are self adhesive!
  • Stapler, scissors, hole punch
  • Markers, stickers, any other decorations you’d like
  • String/ribbon/yarn

Instructions:

  1. Fold a piece of paper in half 
  2. Gently “swoop” down both sides to form the wings of your bird and attach with one staple
  3. Punch a hole on the bottom for the kite string
  4. Cut a sticky note to make a beak and tail feathers--feel free to add other decoration using markers
  5. Add some sticker eyes
  6. Attach the string - you’re ready to fly! 

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Tinker Time at Home

by Meredith Brustlin, CMNH Educator

Sorting: Exploring playing cards

  • Find a deck of playing cards and spread them out
  • Raid your recycling bin and find 2-4 containers (depending on child’s age, see below) and cut slits in the top so the cards can be dropped inside. 
    • I used large clear plastic baby spinach/mixed greens containers for this.
    • Some children will just have fun putting the cards into the slots - and that’s okay!
    • Younger children can sort them by color (2 containers)
    • Older children could sort them by their suit! (4 containers)
  • Invite your child to sort the cards! 

Art: Evaporation Science Art

  • Find a plastic container and a paintbrush 
    • The paintbrush should be one you don’t mind getting a bit dirty!
  • Fill the plastic container with water and go outside!
  • Paint designs on your driveway/sidewalk using the water
  • Watch and see how long it takes the drawings to evaporate
    • This activity is best done on a sunny day :) 

Sensory: Floating splashy transfer

  • Put out two mixing bowls
  • Fill both with water
  • Put items that float in one bowl
    • I used marker caps
  • Invite your child to use a spoon or scoop to move all of the items from one bowl to the other!
    • You could put items that sink and float in the bowl and chat about how moving them is different if they sink or float. 

Building: Recycling Bin Wonders

  • Raid your recycling bin and find a variety of items
  • Use them to build!
  • Give your child prompts like “Make a bridge!” “Make a house!” “Design a rocketship!” and challenge them to just use the items from the recycling bin
    • It’s fun to add little toys or other manipulatives to this challenge  

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Polymer Science MAGIC!

Materials Needed:

  • Large mixing bowl or container (a casserole  pan would work!)
  • Plastic bag (I recommend quart size) filled ¾ of the way with water
  • A bunch of pencils or colored pencils--the sharper the better! 

Directions (prep):

  • Fill your plastic bag ¾ of the way with water 
    • You may want to fill a few because this experiment is very fun!
  • Sharpen your pencils
  • Prep the activity area with the bowl or casserole pan

Directions (activity):

  • Ask your young scientists if they think you can poke a pencil through a bag of water without spilling a drop (they will probably say “No way!”)
  • Hold the bag up over the bowl or other container
  • Carefully twist a pencil through one side of the plastic bag and then continue to twist through the other side
  • No water will spill!
  • Try it with the other pencils

Invite your young scientists to try on their own using bags of water and pencils

The Science:

  • Plastic bags are made of something called a polymer
  • Polymers have long strings of molecules that are flexible
  • When you poke the pencil through the plastic bag, it wiggles in between these strings of molecules and the molecules seal up around the pencil so that no water is spilled!

Extend the learning:

  • Spend some time looking on the internet for other household items that are polymers - you’ll be surprised by what you find! 

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CMNH, Here for you Now and in the Future

Dear CMNH Friends,

I’m sure by now you all know how these announcements go. “These are unprecedented times.” Indeed they are, as I’m writing to you from my kitchen table, and not from inside the Museum listening to the sounds of happy children. Two weeks ago we thought we would be welcoming you back with a refreshed facility and exhibits on April 1st. Pandemics, as it turns out, are hard to predict, and we now know we can’t reopen just yet. But we will be back when it is safe to do so!

In the meantime, we’re doing what we do best, which is encouraging families to actively engage in hands-on discovery, now from the safety of their own homes. We are creating videos of our popular programs and sharing resources to support your at-home learning. Our goal is to continue to #PlayTogether while also bringing a sense of normalcy to children who miss their Museum friends.

Temporarily closing the Museum has not only been sad, but also devastating to us financially. As a non-profit, we rely on income from ticket sales, memberships, classes, and special events to keep the Museum running. Like many of you, we are tightening our belts, using our creative thinking skills to find ways to sustain us through this time, and looking forward to the day we can see you face-to-face.

Since we are closing longer than anticipated, we will be extending our family memberships so you can join in the fun when we reopen. 

If you are able, here’s how you can support the Museum during the closure:

  • Renew an expired membership or purchase a gift membership for a friend or loved one so you can visit together when we reopen. Gift Memberships aren’t active until redeemed here at the Museum, so they can be purchased at any time and are valid a year from the month of redemption. All memberships will be mailed out one we have an opening date.
  • Share our free online content with friends, and consider giving a $5 donation for programs you and your family enjoy.
  • Participate in our Car or Cash Raffle fundraiser, and have the chance to win an electric car, sports car or $20,000 prize.

As we watch spring unfold, we’re all taking a collective deep breath and moving forward one day at a time.  We will be sure to keep in touch when there is news to share. We are honored to be a valued part of this community for the past 36 years, and look forward to seeing you all soon.

Jane Bard, President

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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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