How to Be a Bubble Hero

Bubble ChaserSummer is a great time for kids to be outside investigating the world around them, and there are not many more captivating activities for kids than blowing and chasing bubbles. Maybe you have tried it with one of those plastic bubble bottles and little round bubble wands.  Want to do something a lot more impressive?  Read on, bubble master.

Here is how to create giant bubbles that will impress your kids, your neighbors, your friends and yourself.  And all you need is stuff you already have at home. Continue reading

Imagine Science

DSC_0122b smScience is not about facts.  That may sound like an odd statement – after all, it is quite likely that the way you were taught science in school was ALL about facts.  That is sort of a shame, and it may be part of the reason that our education system is struggling in terms of teaching children science.  The truth is that science is about DOING.  And about wondering, and asking questions, and figuring things out.  While it is important that we learn about the things that other people have discovered, the real exciting stuff in science is the stuff we DON’T know.  And that is where we fall short in getting children excited about STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) content and careers…we focus on what is already known, and testing them on how well they memorize it, rather than getting them excited about what they might discover in the future.

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Dadding in the Kitchen: Oobleck

Copyright 2012 Bill GalleryIf you find yourself at home with your children this vacation week, and you are looking for a kind of amazing, simple, fun and educational activity to do with them, you need look no further than your own kitchen.  This activity – making a substance that has come to be called “oobleck”, in honor of the Dr. Seuss book “Bartholomew and the Oobleck” – will help your kids to practice scientific skills like observing, experimenting and problem solving (which are skills that will benefit your children in ALL facets of their lives).  And as an added benefit, this is an activity that is actually a lot of fun for adults too.  Really. Continue reading

Exhibit Sneak Peek: My Sky

DSC_0019 smBoston Children’s Museum is an educational institution.  This bears pointing out because amidst all of the giggling and yelling and general fun-having that kids engage in here, it is easy to forget that this museum is about fun AND learning.  What you experience here is not simply thrown together – every program that the Museum offers was created over a period of months and sometimes up to a year of planning and testing.  Exhibits are developed over intensive periods of 1-4 YEARS with evaluation, research and child development and/or cognition theory incorporated into the work.  That exhibit that you are having so much fun in is a carefully orchestrated experience designed to maximize learning impact.  It was created by anywhere from 5 – 20 professionals who take their job and the Museum’s mission very seriously!  And at the center of all of this is you and your child.  We consider not only what your child will experience and learn, but how roles can be created for you, their adult caregiver so that you are involved in their learning in some way. Continue reading

The Big Picture: Art and Science

IMG_5448Close your eyes and picture a typical scientist.  Now imagine an artist.  You probably conjured up two very different images.  But the truth is that artists and scientists have more in common than most of us may think.   There is art in science and science in art.  What seem like contrasting disciplines are actually quite closely related to each other.  In that vein, for the past two Fridays Boston Children’s Museum has played host to “The Big Picture,” a project funded through FOCUS (Forest, Oceans, Climate, and Us), a partnership between the U.S. Forest Service and the Wyland Foundation. The Big Picture merges hands-on art with environmental literacy through a series of large mural projects in which children and families create art alongside some amazing local artists, all inspired by the environment around us.  It’s science meets art meets the great outdoors.

Matching art with science might seem like a strange combination, but for us the two worlds have always been intertwined.  Artistic expression can be a gateway to science discovery (and vice versa), because both disciplines share many of the same characteristics.  Continue reading