Warm Hands Warm Heart

The weather is cold here at the Children’s Museum so we’re warming up at Young at Art! Last week children and families were engaged with a mitten art project. The focus of the project was creating fun patterns to decorate their mittens with. This may just look like a fun art project, but it is also assisting kids in learning some very important skills. By tracing their hands and using scissors to cut out the mitten shape, children are improving their hand-eye coordination and fine motor skills. Fine motor movements involve the coordination of small muscles in the hands and fingers. Whether you’re cutting, writing, or eating with utensils, fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination are essential to everyday life.

 

Aside from fine motor skills, this art project helps children learn and predict patterns, so math is often regarded as the “science of patterns”. Learning patterns can be a great preparation for learning the basics of mathematics. Counting from one to ten or multiplying numbers by zero are both examples of patterns that may be looked over. Patterns help us figure out the answer to the question “What’s next?” Understanding patterns may not make us able to predict the future, but it can help us to better understand the world around us!

 

 

 

 

Goin’ Green Preview- Camp 55

Summer will be here before you know it and we’re mixing things up at the Children’s Museum of Illinois for our big kid summer camps! Each week we will highlight a different Camp 55 week (for kids entering 1st-3rd grade in the 2016-2017 school year) with information and a look into an activity or two. All of our Camp 55 programs run Tuesday-Friday from 9A-1P. During the day we will do hands-on activities, learn about related topics, and create pieces of art to take home. Let’s get started with our first camp this summer- Goin’ Green!

After receiving a grant from the Ullrich Foundation to update our outdoor space, we were able to secure more volunteers and opportunities for education. What better way to showcase our new outdoor space then with a camp? During Goin’ Green we will explore the outside world as well as work with Junior Volunteers and a Master Gardener to learn about the CMofIL’s garden.

The very first day we will plant seeds and see how they grow during the week. Learn about the different parts of a plant by dissection and looking closely at growing plants outside. A garden is an ecosystem, though, and the plants wouldn’t be able to grow without the help of other creatures.image1

Museum Junior Volunteers are taking care of a worm bin and campers will get the opportunity to learn about the important roll worms play. We’ll also create homes and feeders for bugs, butterflies and birds. Bugs may seem creepy and crawly, but we will learn why they’re very important to the environment and gardens.  IMG_2035

The museum understands that integrating art in science is not only fun, but beneficial to children. Campers will have the opportunity to create art with organic materials found outside. We’ll also make paper that can be used and then planted to grow flowers. It’s a super fun (and messy) project.

In addition to Camp 55, CMofIL will be hosting PreK Camps for children ages 3-entering Kindergarten. Many of the PreK Camps have similar themes to Camp 55 and run on Wednesdays and Fridays from 9A-11A. Due to the popularity of these programs, please check online for availability.

We hope to see you this summer!

Make Space Workshops – Spring 2016

Even though most students are still in school for the fall semester, we’re thinking ahead to SPRING Make Space Workshops!

Make Space Workshops

Photo from Herald & Review
Photo from Herald & Review

We just revised our Make Space Workshops for this spring, and we hope that you can attend!  These workshops are scheduled on days that Decatur Public Schools have half-day in-services, and any student is welcome to attend!  Kindergartners all the way up to 6th graders can tinker, make and build with instruction from our coordinators.

All workshops are $15 ($12 for members!), and are eligible for an additional discount if you sign up for all six!  Check out the dates and topics below!

January 13th – Beep, Beep!
K-1st Graders: Are you always late for school? Let’s learn how to create a tiny alarm and always be on time!
2nd-6th graders: We’re going to combine our littleBits synthesizer and a microphone to make cars move to the beat!

January 27th – Cars & Music
K-1st Grade: Create your own car from nothing more than rubber bands, balloons, and your imagination!
2nd-6th graders: Are you a musician? Even if you aren’t, you can create a synthesizer to create your own music.

February 10th – Loop-de-Loop & Backpack Improvements
K-1st graders: Perfect your fine motor skills with the basics of sewing.
2nd-6th graders: Is your backpack a little boring? Liven it up with some littleBits ideas!

February 24th – Boom & Whirl
K-1st Grade: Have a blast making a cannon and rocket!
2nd-6th graders: Create your own alien and UFO and talk about creating livable environments!

March 9th – Rainbows & Superheroes
K-1st Grade: Ever wonder how a rainbow is made? Come in and make your own rainbow paper!
2nd-6th graders: Who’s your favorite super hero? Maybe you will create your new favorite with recyclables and littleBits!

March 30th – Carnival Rides
K-1st Grade: Use circuit stickers to make a perfect pinwheel – just like your favorite merry-go-round!
2nd-6th graders: Using littleBits and everyday items, create your own amusement park rides.

Bit Wars Competition!

In a Make Space far, far away on the second floor of Children’s Museum of Illinois, young Jedi warriors will gather to develop a new gadget to fight the Dark Side in a Bit Wars Competition!  Using littleBits, these students will design and craft a gadget worthy to fight evil, and then create a video to enter it into the littleBits Bit Wars competition.  This could be a new take on the light saber, a nifty R2D2, or an awesome new shield.

Bit Wars Twitter

Bit Wars: CMofIL Style!

Make Space instructors will be on hand to lead the workshop to create, and Heroic Age Art Center will assist with filming and uploading to the Children’s Museum’s YouTube page.  Participants will have full access to the Museum’s library of littleBits (This includes batteries, lights, timers, buttons and more!) and items in the Make Space, but students are encouraged to bring along any extra components they want to use and costumes to film in!

We encourage the whole family to join in!  Oftentimes, students need an extra set of hands to help build, and we’ll defintely need extras for filming.  Just remember that all gadgets must be developed by the student to be eligible for the littleBits competition.  And if you have a whole group that wants to work together – the more the merrier!  Just figure out how you’ll submit your project for the Bit Wars competition.

And the most fun part?  Once entered, students will be eligible to win an all expenses paid trip (up to $3K) to the Orlando Disney World Star Wars Park and tons of other prizes!

The cost per student for both workshops is $6, which includes admission to the Museum.  We hope to see you on Saturday!

Sign up today!

8 to 10 Year Old Workshop – 10am – 12p

11 and Up Workshop – 1pm – 3:30pm

It’s #GivingTuesday!

#GivingTuesday photo post with logo

It’s officially #GivingTuesday – and we want to be the organization that you support today!

Below are a few of the great reasons to support Children’s Museum of Illinois today and throughout the year!

And don’t forget – if we meet our goal of $5,000 today – we’re celebrating with a Free Admission Day on December 21st!

Annual fund 2015 (2)

Top 6 Gifts from the Toy Shop

To all our #BlackFriday and #ShopSmall Business Saturday shoppers – we’re excited to share with you the top 6 holiday gifts at the Toy Box inside Children’s Museum of Illinois!  We’ve included a range of options to fit everyone from newborn to adults – and there are many more neat items to choose from!

6.  Peek-A-Boos Phone Holder – $6.25

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These adorable phone holders come in a variety of animals – including a unicorn and a penguin!  Their bottoms double as a screen cleaner and work well at your desk, at home, or in your car.

5.  Baby Ganz Sugar Stripes Lion – $8.25

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This lion is the perfect addition to your stuffed animal collection!  Soft and cuddly, this little guy is for kids birth and up.

4.  Kinetic Sand – $17 – 47

Gifts Kinetic Sand

Kinectic sand is a favorite here at the Museum – and is featured in our play-table in the entryway. Pack it, pull it, shape it and love it, Kinetic Sand is so incredible you can’t put it down. It’s kinetic—meaning it sticks to itself and not to you—so it oozes, moves and melts right before your eyes. It flows through your fingers like a slow-moving liquid, but leaves your hands completely dry. Shape anything you want and use it over and over again. Kinetic Sand never dries out and is gluten free. This soft and stretchy sand cleans up easily while delivering non-stop fun!

3. Magnet Science – $14

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Selected by the University of Cambridge Science Festival, this kit contains all you need to perform 10 fun experiments and games.  Designed for kids 8 and older, this kit is also a great stocking stuffer for “big kids!”

2.  Melissa & Doug Felt Food Pizza Set – $20.25

Gifts Pizza Set

The Toy Box has a great selection of Melissa & Doug merchandise, but our favorite is the felt pizza set.  For kids ages 3 and up, you can design your own custom pizza, and fold it up into the box!

1.  littleBits Base Kits – $99

Gifts littleBits

NEW to the Toy Box TODAY! We’ve hosted several workshops in the Make Space with our littleBits Library, but now we have littleBits Base Kits for sale for the holidays!  This circuit creator kit has been featured on TED Education and has won an International Design Excellence Award!   We also have a few accessories for you to add to the kits, like the long LED light.

12 Days of Making

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Children’s Museum of Illinois’ Make Space is proud to present its first ever 12 Days of Making. Visitors will be able to tinker with and design holiday creations in Make Space using littleBits magnetic circuits, lots and lots of cardboard, materials found in Make Space, and imagination. 12 Days of Making activities include bitWars, Santa Traps, Cookie Conveyor Belts, Igloo Construction, and more!  All 12 Days of Make activities are free with Museum admission and are available all day during our normal hours. 

December Calendar 2015 FB Size
In addition to 12 Days of Making, Make Space will be decking the halls with a 2-story Tinker Tree and weaving a blanket for Santa on a communal loom throughout the month of December!

Thank You Gift to the Community

As a thank you to the community, Children’s Museum of Illinois will be offering half price memberships on November 21st to the first 50 participants. Perfect for a family gift for the holidays, the Museum offers several membership levels, all of which are eligible for the discount, with the exception of the Support Membership.

Thanks for Giving promo 2015 (1)

This promotion is held on the same day as the “Thanks for Giving” floral arrangement workshop at the Museum, hosted by The Secret Garden.  Community members of all ages are encouraged to make their own floral arrangement for the person they are thankful for when they stop by to purchase their membership.

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Children’s Museum of Illinois encourages interested individuals to call or stop by early!   This offer will be limited to the first 50 new memberships, and is valid in-person or over the phone only.  The half price rate must be for a new member to the Museum; offer not valid for membership renewals.

For more information, visit www.CMofIL.org or contact Jen McMillin at jmcmillin@cmofil.org.

Half Price Memberships

As a thank you to the community, Children’s Museum of Illinois will be offering half price memberships on November 21st to the first 50 participants. Perfect for a family gift for the holidays, the Museum offers several membership levels, all of which are eligible for the discount, with the exception of the Support Membership.

This promotion is held on the same day as the Thanks for Giving floral arrangement workshop at the Museum, hosted by The Secret Garden.  Community members of all ages are encouraged to make their own floral arrangement for the person they are thankful for when they stop by to purchase their membership.

Children’s Museum of Illinois encourages interested individuals to call or stop by early!   This offer will be limited to the first 50 new memberships, and is valid in-person or over the phone only.  The half price rate must be for a new member to the Museum; offer not valid for membership renewals.

CMI Adults Only: Ugly Sweater Party!

The year has gone by so quickly!

It seems like we were just setting up for summer camps at Children’s Museum of Illinois. But one look at the calendar shows that Santa will soon be here!

Many times, adults get lost in the shuffle of the holidays. As family members, we are usually super focused on the children in our lives having a great season. This year, we want to bring back that special holiday feeling to our adult  community members.

So, after a successful CMI Adults Only event in October, we’re gearing up for a December version!  This event brings together all our favorite adult friends to celebrate the season, and we hope you join us.

CMI Adults Only: Ugly Sweater Party!

Ugly Sweater Slider 2015 (1)

On December 3rd, Children’s Museum of Illinois will again host an adults only party. We’re celebrating ugly sweaters, spiked cider, and party games! While the Museum is supplying the cocoa, cider, and snacks, this is a BYOB party – swap stories and share the merriment!

And what holiday party would be complete without good, old-fashioned party games?  We’re sure to have Box of Lies, lip-syncing, and charades ready to play. Tickets are only $15 per person, or $25 per couple!

 

The event is sponsored by Busey Bank and powered by Thrive Entertainment, and will also feature a holiday themed raffle from local businesses. All proceeds from this event go to Children’s Museum of Illinois annual fund. Fundraisers like the Ugly Sweater Party help provide quality educational programming and exhibits to Central Illinois.

To reserve your tickets, click here!