Paper Plate Snakes

What can you make out of a paper plate? I bet the first thing that comes to your mind isn’t a snake! This week at Young at Art things got a little wild as we transformed paper plates into slithering snakes. It’s a creative lesson to teach children that basic items like paper plates can be used to make something extraordinary.

This art project is also a great opportunity for learning. Snakes are very interesting animals! They don’t have eyelids. Also, they can’t chew so they swallow their food whole with their flexible jaws. They can eat prey bigger than their head! Learning about animals is more fun with projects like these.

Snakes are covered in scales that create many different types of patterns. Children had fun coming up with their own patterns to decorate their snakes with such as dots, zig-zags, and stripes!

Cut up pieces of tissue paper were used as “scales” to decorate snakes with.

Let your imagination run wild and brainstorm what else you can make out of paper plates!

By, Kara Berk

Dream Weaving

This week at Young at Art we introduced a new topic-Weaving! Our project entitled Dream Weaving introduces weaving in a fun and creative way. Using different colored strips of paper, the children were instructed to weave a “blanket” and draw a sleeping person above it.


On top of the fun art project, children can improve many different skills when they weave. While holding the strips of paper, they are practicing the proper “pincer grip”. This grip involves using your thumb and pointer finger to grip an item. It is an essential skill used to write, hold silverware, and many other everyday tasks as well! Weaving also requires a great amount of hand-eye coordination to move the strips of paper in the manner they choose. Because of the intricate movements weaving involves, it takes a lot of concentration, which children will soon learn is a fundamental part of learning. With difficult tasks like these, it is important to remind them that if they make mistakes it is okay! Messing up and trying again is the best way to learn; Especially when the outcome is as beautiful as this project is!

Brilliant Builders Sneak Peak

Brilliant Builders will happen the week of July 5th-8th. This is a jam-packed camp for makers, tinkerers, and engineers entering the 1st-3rd grades. Due to the popularity of the Museum’s Make Space, we decided to bring four full days of making to the children of Decatur. We’ll learn about design, circuits, and bridges in this busy week.


To start things off, every child will receive a littleBit circuit kit to use and take home at the end of the week. Cool! We’ll begin by teaching the basics of circuits and learn how to build on to the pieces. The first challenge will be to use the littleBits to create a monster that either moves, makes sound, or lights up. How would you build one?


The following days will have similar challenges such as building bridges, towers, and safe vehicles (for eggs!) Each challenge will have specific materials, time limits, and special requirements; but no instructions! Are you up to the challenge?

To top off the week we will be participating in a nationwide challenge with NASA. Check out the details here. Educators participated in the challenge and it’s tough! We’ll work in groups to create a gliding aircraft and share our designs with other kids around the nation.


Ready to sign up? Go here to register today!

Art-ology Sneak Peek

At Children’s Museum of Illinois, our main focus is on Art and Science… So why not have a camp combining the two? Witness how art can be found in areas of science like nature and space as well as learn how to create art with chemistry and physics.

A majority of the first day will be spent outside in nature discovering and experimenting with organic materials as art. We’ll learn about pigments from different plants, search the garden for colors, and use various found objects to enhance pieces of art. We’ll also begin mixing colors in a messy project to match what we see in nature.

nature brush

We’ll continue to get messy during the week by exploring the world of bubbles! Did you know bubbles are always round… or are they? Do different wands make different shapes? We will explore this possibility while making colorful bubble paintings.

bubble paint

The rest of the week will be SUPER messy and SUPER fun! We’re going to dive into the world of physics by creating splatter art from the second floor. That’s right- we’re going to drop paint from the second floor to create awesome and colorful patterns. And then we’re going to launch paint with catapults! Who knew art could be so exciting?

Our week isn’t over though. Our final day will be spent mixing colors and chemistry. Let’s mix different ingredients to create concoctions that fizz, pop, and explode! One thing’s for sure- we’re going to make a mess and it’s going to be awesome!

splatter paint

Art-ology will be hosted June 28th-July 1st from 9A-1P each day. A snack will be provided, but campers need to bring a sack lunch. This camp WILL be messy, please be sure to dress in play clothes. We have PreK Camps running in conjunction with this camp; but they fill fast! Check HERE for openings.

Padawan Training Camp Preview

With a new generation of Star Wars fans, CMofIL decided this summer would be a great time to teach children of Macon County about REAL galaxies far, far away…. And mix some Jedi fun in there too. Padawan (or young Jedi) Training will immerse children in a world of stars, astronauts, and planets as well as incorporate light saber fun, wookies, and tie fighters.


On the first day of camp we’ll learn about living in space. Experience how astronauts eat, write, and live on the International Space Station. They’ll even get a chance to build a small version of a space station. During the project children will need to find answers to questions like “where will the astronaut sleep?”, “where will he or she get food?”, “What will he or she do for fun?”.  I know I’d miss walking my dog every day. What would you miss?

The following days will center around the stars and planets. Crawl into our StarLab for a chance to see the stars and constellations up close. The planets Obi Wan and Yoda live on are fictional, but some of them are very similar to the planets in our galaxy. We will study the similarities and design and build a vehicle to use on various planets.iss_gallery_med_02_960x600


Perhaps the coolest part of this camp will be participating in a national NASA project. Our friends at the Glenn Research Center in Ohio have created a national design project for kids to participate in. Our campers will be given different materials and be challenged to great a vehicle that glides. I can’t wait to see what our campers create!

Plenty other activities await young Padawan at this camp such as an obstacle course, straw rockets, droid and light saber construction, and carbonite melting! Let’s see if our campers have what it takes to graduate to become a Jedi!


Padawan Training Camp will be held June 21-June 24 from 9A-1P each day. A small snack will be provided, but campers will need to bring a sack lunch. In addition to Camp 55, CMofIL will be hosting a Jedi Youngling Training for our PreK Camp for children ages 3-entering Kindergarten. PreK Camp is on Wednesday and Friday from 9A-11A. Due to the popularity of this camp, please check online for availability.