Children's Museum of South Dakota

Beyond Sensations

149

Wonder and Grow


Explore at home, ideas and activities, either before coming to the museum or after your visit.

 

Being curious, wondering, and asking 'what if...' are all part of great thinkers' repertoires.

Either before or after your visit to the museum, try some of these creative activities for open-ended exploration and experimentation.

 

Creativity Lab

Fostering creativity provides opportunities to put ideas together in new or unusual ways. Using imagination builds problem solving skills. Here are a few ideas to spark that creativity:  

Gather a collection
It could be nuts and bolts, buttons, or seeds. Then with your child, sort them in as many ways possible. Take turns coming up with the characteristic to sort by: color, shape, or length.

Look at an Escher print book together
Pick a book like The World of M.C. Escher, to follow the different pathways in the prints. Talk about how you think he created the picture.

Draw together
With a box of colors and some blank drawing paper, create patterns of color with your child. Fill up the whole sheet.

With older children, play the homonym game
Think of as many possible words that sound the same, but mean different things. When taking your turn, if you run across a pair of words that your child doesn’t know the second meaning, take some time to explain what it means and how it’s spelled.

Find a few flashlights
Experiment with light and shadow.

Gather some recyclable materials from around your home
Find soda bottles, paper towel rolls, newspaper, cardboard, or used plastic containers. With your child, make an imaginary machine with the gathered objects. Think about its purpose or function and together come up with what that might be.

On a summer day, go for a walk and collect nature objects
Look for sticks, pebbles, and fallen leaves or plant material. On a blank piece of paper, create designs and patterns with the collected objects. When finished, don’t use glue, instead take a digital photo to preserve the design and then use the materials to make a different pattern.

Interested in optical illusions like the one used in the Zoë-a-trope for animation?
Visit Michael Bach’s Optical Illusion website or the National Institute for Environmental Health Science Optical Illusions for Kids website. Michael Bach is a professor of ophthalmology at University of Freiberg, Germany.

Sounds Abound

Discovering how sounds are made and how sounds combine to make music can be intriguing. Try these activities to inspire young musicians.

Make simple instruments with your child
You can make a kazoo out of a toilet paper roll, waxed paper, and a rubber band. Then play them and talk about the vibrations you both felt.

Stretch out a larger rubber band and watch the vibrations
Listen to the sounds and how it changes as the rubber band is stretched tighter or looser.

Stretch out a slinky and hold it as straight as you can between two family members
Have a third family member moving the center coils back and forth. Watch the coils as they squeeze together and move far apart, making waves. Talk about sound traveling on waves, just like the slinky’s waves.

Together make a “telephone” with two paper cups and about 8 feet of string
Put holes in the center of the bottom of the cups and tie the two cups together with the string. Then stand far enough apart to pull the string taunt. Have a conversation in whispers with your child; see if you can hear each other through the telephone as the sound waves move along the string.

Make your own instruments out of found objects
Find objects around your house and have a parade in your backyard or around your neighborhood.

Art Studio

Creative expression provides a great deal of fun and satisfaction. Taking time to create together is a memory-making recipe.

With your child, make a collage
Cut pictures out of old magazines. Create patterns or designs with the pictures.

Make a sculpture out of toothpicks and marshmallows.

Make paper snowflakes together
Fold white paper in half, then in quarters, and then fold again to make a triangle. Cut small shapes from the edges or make slits to create a wonderful design. Finish off your masterpieces by decorating a window.

Create a picture by tearing paper to make the objects
Layer the pieces of torn paper; decide exactly where to put each piece and then add glue.

Create a layered tissue paper collage of your favorite object or pet

Before & Beyond Sensations - Activity Guide

Making Different Kinds of Playdough and Paint

In the Sensations Gallery, there are different concoctions created, here are a few tried and true recipes to use at home.

Cooked Playdough

What You’ll Need:

  • 1 cup flour
  • ½ cup salt
  • 2 teaspoons cream of tartar
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • Food coloring

Set Up:
Collect supplies and create a workspace near the kitchen. A heat source is needed.

What to Do:

  1. Heat flour, salt, cream of tartar.
  2. Add water, oil, and food coloring.
  3. Cook until it forms a ball-knead.
  4. Store in a Ziploc and refrigerate for up to a month.

Ideas for More:

  • Add a scent to the Playdough, by including a drop or two of scented oil or extract
  • Add glitter for a texture.

Length of Activity:
Set Up - 5 minutes if supplies are readily available
Mixing - 5 minutes
Cooling time - 20 minutes

Resource: Fishback Center for Early Childhood Education Cookbook.

Rubbery Playdough

What You’ll Need:

  • 2 cups baking soda
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1 cup cornstarch

Set Up:
Collect supplies and clear a workspace, a heat source is needed.

What to Do:

  1. Mix with a fork until smooth.
  2. Stir while heating for approximately 15 minutes.
  3. Spoon onto plate or wax paper.
  4. Play!
  5. Store in refrigerator in a Ziploc gallon bag.

Ideas for More:

  • Add food coloring to change the color

Length of Activity:
Set Up - 5 minutes if supplies are readily available
Creating the Dough - 15 minutes
Cooling time -15 minutes

Resource:
http://babyparenting.about.com/cs/activities/a/playdough.htm

Kool-Aid Playdough

What You’ll Need:

  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 2 cups boiling water (or heat in the microwave for 6 minutes) with 1 package Kool-aid (any flavor)
  • 3 tablespoons corn oil
  • 1/2 cup salt
  • 1 tablespoon alum

Set Up:
Collect supplies and create a place to work, a heat source is needed.

What to Do:

  1. Mix ingredients and knead with flour (may take up to 1 extra cup).
  2. Stir for about 3 minutes to get rid of any lumps.
  3. Add ¼ cup flour if the dough draws moisture in high humidity.
  4. Knead to break up oil lumps.
  5. Keeps well, has a nice fragrance and is very colorful and very flexible.
  6. Use and create!
  7. Store in refrigerator in a zip-loc bag for up to a month. (Suggest to write date it was made on the bag as a reminder)

Ideas for More:

  • Use a second pack of Kool-aid to double the fun!
  • Add a few drops of an extract for a stronger scent

Length of Activity:
Set Up - 5 minutes if supplies are readily available
Mixing - 5 minutes

Resource: http://babyparenting.about.com/cs/activities/a/playdough.htm
Fishback Center for Early Childhood Education Cookbook

Silly Putty

What You’ll Need:

  • 2 parts liquid starch
  • 1 part Elmer’s glue

Set Up:
Collect supplies and clear a workspace.

What to Do:

  1. Add starch to glue.
  2. Mix.

Ideas for More:

  • If you desire softer putty you may try using equal parts.
  • Add food coloring to the liquid starch for color.

Length of Activity:
Set Up- 5 minutes if supplies are readily available
Mixing-5 minutes

Resource: Fishback Center for Early Childhood Education Cookbook.

Salt Paint

What You’ll Need:

  • ½ cup liquid starch
  • 2 cups salt
  • 1 cup water
  • ½ cup flour
  • Tempera powder or food coloring

Set Up:
Collect supplies and clear a workspace.

What to Do:

  1. Thoroughly mix liquid starch, salt, water and flour.
  2. Divide mixture for different colors.
  3. Slowly add food coloring or tempera powder.
  4. Use as paint.
  5. Store in a plastic bottle, such as a recycled mustard or ketchup bottle.
  6. Keep in the refrigerator for up to a month.

Ideas for More:

  • Add glitter to paint for a slightly different effect!

Length of Activity:
Set Up - 5 minutes if supplies are readily available
Mixing - 5 minutes

Resource: Fishback Center for Early Childhood Education Cookbook.

Face Paint

What You’ll Need:

  • 1 tsp. cornstarch
  • ½ tsp. water
  • ½ tsp. cold cream
  • A couple drops of food coloring
  • Muffin tin

Set Up:
Collect supplies and clear a workspace.

What to Do:

  1. In each cup of the muffin tin, mix the corn starch, water, cold cream and a food coloring of a different color for each cup.
  2. Stir.
  3. Paint your face.
  4. Wash your face with soapy water.
  5. Store paints in a plastic container for up to a month.

Ideas for More:

  • Use a mirror in order for the “face-paintee” to watch the process
  • Paint a whole face design

Length of Activity:
Set Up - 5 minutes if supplies are readily available
Mixing - 5 minutes

Resource: Fishback Center for Early Childhood Education Cookbook.

Shoe-Box Guitar

What You’ll Need:

  • Scissors
  • Ruler
  • Shoe box with lid
  • White glue
  • 4 toothpicks
  • 4 large rubber bands of various thickness
  • Pencil

Set Up:
Collect your supplies and clear a workspace.

What to Do:

  1. Cut a hole about 3 inches (7.5 cm) square near one end of the shoe-box lid.
  2. Glue the toothpicks onto the lid of the box, spacing them evenly between the hole and the opposite end of the lid. These are the frets.
  3. Place the lid on the box. Slide the rubber bands, from thickest to thinnest, around the box and lid so that they go across the hole.
  4. Insert the pencil under the rubber bands at the end the hole. This is the bridge.
  5. Play the guitar by plucking the rubber bands. Try making different sounds by holding the frets while plucking. Notice that the thicker rubber bands create a lower sound.

Ideas for More:

  • Decorate your guitar with fun markers or paints.
  • Try using a larger or smaller box to see if it creates different sounds.

Length of Activity:
Set Up - 5 minutes if supplies are readily available
Constructing the Guitar - 10 to 15 minutes

Resource: Sabbeth, Alex, and Laurel Aiello. Rubber-band Banjos and a Java Jive Bass: Projects and Activities on the Science of Music and Sound. New York: John Wiley, 1997. Print.

Mother Nature's Chimes

What You’ll Need:

  • Paintbrush
  • Several colors of acrylic paint
  • 3 clay flowerpots, from 2 ½ up to 4 inches (6.25 to 10 cm) tall
  • Scissors
  • Ruler
  • String
  • 6 small screw nuts
  • White glue
  • 3 pinecones
  • 15-inch (37.5-cm) long tree branch

Set Up:
Collect your supplies and clear a workspace.

What to Do:

  1. Paint all 3 pots and let the paint dry. The pots will hang upside down, so keep this in mind when you are making your designs.
  2. Cut the strings into three 20-inch (50-cm) lengths. Tie a large knot in one end of each string.
  3. Thread a nut onto one string and tie it 2 inches (5 cm) from the knotted end. This is the bell’s clapper (a metal object hung inside a bell to hit against the sides of the bell as it is rung).

Ideas for More:

  • Use spoons, metal pipes, air-drying clay, soup cans, CDs or invent your own idea for a different material to use.
  • Try beads instead of screw nuts for the chime.

Length of Activity:
Set Up - 5 minutes if supplies are readily available
Painting and Drying - 15-30 minutes
Constructing and Assembling the Chime - 10 minutes

Resource:
Sabbeth, Alex, and Laurel Aiello. Rubber-band Banjos and a Java Jive Bass: Projects and Activities on the Science of Music and Sound. New York: John Wiley, 1997. Print.

Additional Resources:
Fiarotta, Noel, and Phyllis Fiarotta. Music Crafts for Kids: the How-to Book of Music Discovery. New York: Sterling Pub., 1995. Print.
Hopkin, Bart. Making Musical Instruments With Kids: 67 Easy Projects for Adults Working With Children. Independent Pub Group, 2009. Print.

Paper Making or Re-Making

We invite you to travel around the world of art in our Sensations gallery. Here is an opportunity to be an artist at home and create your own paper.

What You’ll Need:

  • Recycled newspaper or dryer lint (~20 cups)
  • 1 cup concentrated commercial liquid starch
  • Bowl
  • Warm Water
  • Blender
  • 2 Tubs (like storage tubs)
  • 8-10 cups of pulp (see making the pulp section)
  • Sponge
  • Spray bottle
  • Mold and Deckle (This can be purchased at a craft store or handmade, see:http://gort.ucsd.edu/preseduc/moldekl.htm - Sally Lancaster)
  • Towel
  • Drying board(s) depending on size –have enough area to dry all made paper sheets.

Set Up:
Gather supplies needed and prepare a workspace.

Making the Pulp

  1. Tear recycled newspaper or dryer lint into small (1” to 2”) pieces.
  2. Soak lint or recycled newspaper in a bowl of warm water for at least 30 minutes. If there is time, soak it overnight to help break it down.
  3. Blend a cup of lint or newspaper in a blender for 3 minutes.
  4. Pour blended mixture in the storage tub.
  5. Repeat process until completely blended.

Forming Paper Sheets
Set Up: Gather supplies needed and prepare a workspace outside in an area that is able to get wet.

What to Do:

  1. Fill a tub about one-thirds full of water & 1/2 cup of liquid starch.
  2. Add 4-5 cups of pulp. The thickness of sheet is determined by the proportion of pulp to water; the more pulp you put in the tub, the thicker the paper will be. Each time you form a new sheet, add another 1-3 cups of pulp.
  3. Wet the mold’s screen by dipping it into the tub. Position the mold, screen side up and the deckle over the top of the mold. With your other hand, stir the pulp in the tub with your fingers spread wide, to disperse the pulp throughout the water.
  4. Holding the mold and deckle in both hands, dive them, to the bottom of the tub; the leading edge should be almost vertical when entering the water, before leveling the mold and deckle into a horizontal position when completely submerged. Keep them horizontal and bring to the surface. They will have a thin layer of wet fibers on them. Give them some quick shakes.
  5. When most of the water is drained, rest the mold and deckle on the edge of the tub with one hand. Remove the deckle with your other hand. When removing the deckle, lift it straight up.
  6. Place the mold on a flat surface and, fiber side up. Fold a towel in half and gently place the towel over the fiber on the screen once to blot out some water.
  7. With a spray bottle, spray a paper-size section on the drying board liberally with mater. Flip the mold onto the wet board, fiber-side down. Sponge water out of the sheet with an absorbent sponge by firmly pressing the sponge against the back of the screen. Go over all areas of the sheet with the sponge 4-5 times. Remove the mold from the board, leaving the sheet of fiber on the board. Gently press the sheet with a sponge another couple of times, removing more water and pressing out any air bubbles.
  8. Leave the sheet on a drying board for 1-2 days.
  9. Repeat process until pulp is all used.

Ideas for More:

  • Use fruits and vegetables; try flowers or other plants as part of the fiber source. See The Gourmet Paper Maker: Handmade Paper from Fruits and Vegetables. Minnetonka, MN: Creative Publishing.
  • Add essential oil to give your paper a sweet scent.
  • Use alum to change the color of the paper.
  • Replace the plant fiber with paper products such as telephone directories, and egg cartons. Run the blender an extra 10-15 seconds after adding the paper product.
  • Create a journal with homemade your paper.

Length of Activity:
Soaking - 30 minutes to overnight
Blending - 3 minutes
Making paper: 15-20 minutes
Letting it stand - 1-2 days

Resource:
Lockie, Ellaraine. The Gourmet Paper Maker: Handmade Paper from Fruits and Vegetables. Minnetonka, Minn.: Creative Pub. International, 2001. Print.
Todman, Tonia. Tonia Todman's Paper-making Book. Rozelle, NSW, Australia: G.A., 1992. Print.

Continue to play, explore and go...for additional activities to try at home or at school, check out the Teacher Resources.