Wonder and Grow
Here are some fun ideas and activities to spark interest and play at home, either before coming to the museum or after your visit.
All the recommended books below can be found at the Brookings Public Library.
Under the Hood
Kids love cars and things that move. To learn more about automobiles and the people who invented them, here are a few ideas.
Investigate other cars.
Take a trip around town pointing out the different cars and what you and your child like about them.
Look under the hood of your car with your child.
Point out what the various parts do and what owners do to take care of cars. The book, The Visual Dictionary of Cars:-Eyewitness Visual Dictionaries, can help in naming the different parts.
Change the oil or air exchange filter on your car with your child.
Give him or her jobs to do such as holding the flashlight as you work together.
Have a discussion about individuals who invented automobiles.
Talk about Henry Ford, Ferdinand Porsche, and Karl Benz, and how their ideas changed the way we get around. The books, Great Automakers and Their Cars, by Robert Italia, How Science Works, Cars, Trains, and Motorcycles, by Chris Oxlade, or Reader’s Digest How Things Work: 100 Ways Parents and Kids can Share the Secrets of Technology, can jump start the conversation.
Create a car.
Make a car out of found objects (i.e. toilet paper rolls and rubber bands) from around your house and/or garage.
Fit 4 Life
Spend family time enjoying more health and fitness activities.
Take a stroll down the street.
Take a walk together around your neighborhood and then take your pulse at some point along the walk.
Bike to the store.
Ride bikes to the grocery store and have your child pick out a new, healthy fruit for a snack.
Try hopping or jumping together.
Count with your child how many times the two of you move. Record where you stop so that you can challenge each other the next time!
Toss a ball around.
Play catch together.
Central Square is all about connecting to our past. These ideas can make connections between past and present for you and your family.
Introduce your child to your favorite childhood game.
Think about your family’s new events over the past month.
Together, think of different headlines for those events. Create serious headlines, silly headlines, and ones that use alliterations (such as Little, Lovely, Lady has a Lark and Licks up all the Limes).
Share stories of your childhood memories with him or her.
With your child, look through your own high school yearbooks or old photo albums and point out pictures of you.
Communication occurs at such a rapid pace these days. Take some time to explore communication and the Post Office with your child.
Mail a letter.
Sit down with your child, write a letter to a family member and then mail it. While at the post office, explore the available commemorative stamps and choose one together to put on the letter.
Begin a stamp collection with your child.
Chat with your Mail Carrier.
With your child, make a list of questions to ask your Mail Carrier and then ask them! Follow up with a thank you note for your Mail Carrier.
Children love to pretend and role-play! Here are some ideas to build on the activities at Café Oscar.
Create your own menu.
Design a menu for your very own café together and then use it for pretend play.
Enjoy some tea.
Have a tea party.
Create a new sandwich.
Make a new type of sandwich together and then eat it for a snack.
Visit the library.
Check out books together from the library.
Read a poem or write a poem together.
The books, The 20th Century Children’s Poetry Treasury, by Jack Preslutsky & Meilo So, or Read a Rhyme, Write a Rhyme, by Jack Prelutsky can help you put pen to the paper.
Taking on characters and becoming someone new or different is great fun! Exploring the possibilities of different characters together builds confidence for the future. Here are some playful ideas.
Create or act out a play together.
Books like Fifty Fabulous Fables, by Suzanne Barchers and Tadpole Tales and Other Totally Terrific Treats for Readers’ Theatre, by Anthony Fredericks, can help brainstorm script ideas.
Create awesome costumes.
Make them from found items around the house.
Make shadow puppets.
Try making them with your hands or with small objects.
Create sock puppets and a play.
Assist your child in making tickets for the rest of the family to attend the show.
Our environment and how it changes is really fascinating, and it’s happening all of the time. Here are a few activities to further explore the weather.
Create a weather report.
Go outside, take in all of the current weather conditions with your child and then create a weather report for the rest of your family.
Check your climate.
Record the weather on a daily basis for a month and then look back on your recordings to talk about the different types of weather we had.
With your child, draw or build weather related craft projects.
The book, Weather & Art Activities, by Janet Sacks, can be the foundation for this activity.
Market Fresh Grocery
The grocery store is often a very familiar place for young children. Children may repeatedly pretend in familiar roles as a way to explore and try on ideas about themselves. Here are some ideas to build on experiences from Market Fresh Grocery.
Make a grocery list together.
Bring the kids on the next grocery trip.
Empty your pockets.
Examine the different types of coins and then talk about how many coins are needed to make up the next largest coin (such as 5 pennies make up one nickel).
Try something new.
Go to the grocery store and find unusual fruits, then taste them for a snack.
Go on a coupon frenzy.
Cut out coupons from the local grocery store’s advertisement and then use them while shopping. Talk to your child about the function of coupons. Ask your child to match the food item with the coupon or use the coupons as your source for a ‘treasure hunt’ around the grocery store – looking for the items on the coupons.
Continue to play, and explore.
For additional activities to try at home or at school, check out the Teacher Resources.
Before & Beyond KidStreet Gallery - Activity Guide
Making Homemade Ice Cream
Like the ice cream served at Café Oscar, here’s an opportunity to make homemade ice cream together.
What You’ll Need: (makes one small scoop of ice cream)
- 6 tablespoons rock salt
- Ice cubes – approximately 12 ice cubes
- 1 gallon-size plastic food storage bag
- 1/2 cup milk or half & half
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 pint-size plastic food storage bag (e.g., Ziploc)
Place all ingredients on a table with the ice cream ingredients near by and the ‘freezing’ ingredients closer in order to work on that step first.
What to Do:
- Place the rock salt & ice cubes in the gallon-size plastic food storage bag. Close bag.
- Place the milk/half & half, sugar, and vanilla into the pint-size food storage bag and seal carefully.
- Place the smaller bag inside the larger bag and carefully seal the gallon size bag.
- Take turns shaking the bags until ice cream is form. This will take about 5 minutes.
- Carefully open the larger bag. Take out the smaller bag and dry it off.
- Enjoy your ice cream together!!
Ideas for More:
- Use a fruit juice instead of the milk to create a sorbet.
- Add flavors, such as a small amount of chocolate or strawberry topping to the ice cream.
- Use the ice cream to make a banana split!
Length of Activity:
Set Up – 5 minutes if ingredients are readily available
Ice Cream Making – 5 minutes
Eating Time – it’s up to you!
Resources: Lebovitz, David. The Perfect Scoop: Ice Creams, Sorbets, Granitas, and Sweet Accompaniments. Berkeley: Ten Speed, 2007. Print.
Building a Shoebox Car
In the Under the Hood exhibit, there are a lot of things to do to help the car be in tip-top shape. Here’s a car that you can build and race at home.
What You’ll Need:
- Crayons or Markers to decorate
- Masking tape
- Elmer’s glue
- Construction paper (yellow & two other favorite colors)
- 2 Gallon Milk Jug Lids
- 2 Dowels the 2” longer than width of shoebox
- 4 Wooden Craft wheels (2” or larger)
- Hot Melt Glue Gun (Optional)
Create a work space on a table suitable for crafts. Gather materials needed from the list above so that they are nearby.
What to Do:
- Draw an outline of a car on the sides of the shoebox. It can be as simple or as complex as you like.
- Take the lid off of the shoebox. Cut out the outline of the car on both sides.
- Draw a line about 2” up from the bottom of cardboard on the front and back of the shoebox. Cut along the line matching the line of the outline of the sides to the front and back of the car.
- Cut the edges of the top off. Then use this cardboard for the hood and top of the car. Bend the cardboard as needed and use the masking tape to tape the top of the car to the sides.
- Glue the two milk jug lids to the front of the car for headlights.
- With a red marker, draw two red rectangles on the back of the car for taillights.
- Make four holes (2 in the front and 2 in the back) in the sides of the car for the front and back axels to go through.
- Put the wooden dowels through the holes to create the front and back axels. Then put the wooden wheels on axels. If needed, add a touch of glue to keep the wheels on the axels.
- Cut out two small rectangles of construction paper for the license plates. Add letters and numbers or create ‘customized’ license plates, like ‘Grace’. Glue the license plates to the front and back of the car body.
- Decorate the body of the car as desired with markers, crayons, and remaining construction paper.
Ideas for More:
- Find a 2X6 or wider board for a ramp to experiment with gravity.
- Find two boards with two cars and create your own races!
- Attach a balloon to a straw, blow up the balloon (& hold onto it to keep the balloon inflated), and then tape the straw to roof of the car. Let go to watch it become ‘jet propelled’.
- Develop other ways to propel your car – use your imagination.
Length of Activity:
Set Up – 15 minutes to gather materials
Car Making – 30 minutes to make the car
Racing Time – it’s up to you!
How to Build a Mousetrap Car:
Sobey, Edwin. Inventing Toys: Kids Having Fun Learning Science. Tucson, Ariz.: Zephyr, 2002. Print.