Daily Dose of Play

Daily Dose of Play

Blood Model Activity

What is your blood made of? Follow this fun "recipe" to learn about blood's key ingredients and what they do!

Click here for printable activity guide (Grades K-5)

Click here for a printable activity guide (Grades 6-8)

This activity was developed in collaboration with the Turtle Team researchers at Illinois State University.

Antibody Activity

Antibodies are amazing! Learn how they defend your body against pathogens with these fun, hands-on demonstrations.

Click here for a printable activity guide!

This activity was developed in collaboration with the Turtle Team researchers at Illinois State University.

Bug Hunt

Bug Hunt

Bugs! Insects! Solve riddles to figure out which bugs you're hunting! With suggestions on where to start your bug quest, you'll have a great time exploring nature and discovering insects.

Click here for complete details! 

Insectopia Video

It's a bird, it's a plane, no it's...an insect? In this video you'll explore the wonder that are insects! You'll learn all about insects, the incredible things they do, and why insects are some of the superheroes of our environment.

Butterfly design

Butterfly Creations

Butterflies are known for their colorful wings that come in seemingly endless patterns and designs. Have fun creating your very own butterfly (or butterflies) out of simple materials!

Click here for complete details! 

Butterfly Design

About Art Around You:

Every AAY usually starts with a guided tour of the current exhibition at University Galleries, which allows students to explore and interact with local artists in a new and profound way. It also provides inspiration for a special art making activity that happens after the tour at the Children’s Discovery Museum. The art making that occurs after the tour further expands on the media and ideas used by the artists students learned about. Each session of AAY focuses on a “spotlight artist(s)” to inspire our art making. This program is made possible by the MIRZA Arts & Culture grant funded by the Illinois Prairie Community Foundation and our continued collaboration with Illinois State University’s University Galleries.

For this special, online art making activity there will not be a guided tour included, but University Galleries is now open for in person viewings of the exhibitions! We strongly encourage visiting the gallery to get the full experience before or after making the artwork in this lesson. Please visit https://galleries.illinoisstate.edu/ to schedule your visit online or call (309) 438-5487. You can also view images of the exhibition on the University Galleries website.

Joyful Marker Printmaking

This artmaking activity will combine some of the focuses and media used by the PGOBA in this exhibition including printmaking, poetry, and joy. You will be creating a marker print with simple materials about something that brings you joy and then create a fun, Haiku style poem to go with it.


  • 2 pieces of paper the same size (thick paper works best)
  • plastic food storage bag (same size or bigger than your papers)
  • regular markers (just not permanent/dry erase)
  • a spray bottle with water
  • another piece of paper for a poem
  • pencil

Click here for Instructions on how to

 complete your Printmaking Project!

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  5. 5
 IWU Exploring Colors   

Explore colors with Illinois Wesleyan Chem Club and American Chemical Society of Heartland Section! 
  1. Pour water into three separate containers.
  2. Add red food coloring to one container, yellow food coloring to the second container, and blue food coloring to the third container.
  3. Stir the food coloring in really well so the food coloring drops get mixed in completely!
  4. Put the red container behind the yellow container and look through the yellow container. What color do you see? Do the same for the yellow and blue as well as the blue and red

 Virtual Spring Break Camp  
This virtual summit, presented by Project Exploration and the James Dyson Foundation, will provide virtual engagement opportunities for K-12th grade students on Zoom in a wide array of STEM disciplines. Students will choose the opportunities that are most interesting to them from multiple organizations – from coding to career exploration to marine biology, aeronautics, and more – and  work with real world mentors to get an idea for what that STEM field is all about! 

Check out this Virtual Spring Break Camp
 IWU Lava Lamp

  1. Pour the oil into your container.
  2. Slowly add the water against the side of your container (Don’t just dump it in!)
  3. Watch. Do the water and oil mix? Do the separate? Which one rises and which one sinks?
  4. Add your food coloring!
  5. Break up your antiacid tablet.
What happens to the water and oil when you add the antiacid? What happens to the food coloring? Experiment with different amounts of water, oil, food coloring, and antiacid. What happens?

 IWU Color Wheel- Exploring Color and Light  
  • Print out two color wheels (or color your own) with the primary (red, blue, yellow), secondary (green, orange, purple), and tertiary (yellow green, yellow orange, red orange, red purple, blue purple, and blue green) colors.
  • Tape or glue the color wheels to a thin piece of cardboard (like a cereal box).
  • Use a pencil or paper clip to make two small holes in the middle of the wheel (Ask your adult for help here!).
  • Pull one end of your twine through one hole of your color wheel.
  • Pull the other end of your twin through the other hole of your color wheel.
  • Tie the ends of your twine together.
Hold both sides of your twine and twist the wheel. Pull the twine tight and watch the wheel spin! What colors do you see? Do you see white? Twist your wheel a few times...what happens? Twist your wheel a bunch of times...what happens? Make your wheel spin slowly. Now make it spin fast!

Now have fun experimenting with your color wheel!
 3D Paper Winter Scene 

Create an awesome 3D winter scene! This winter wonderland can be created with materials you have at home and then be decorated however you wish. Get creative and have fun during these long, cold winter days! Materials
  • 1 piece of 8.5x11 white computer paper
  • 1 half piece of 8.5x11 (4.25 x 5.5)  blue, purple or black paper
  • Scrap pieces of colored paper for decorations
  • Glue stick
  • Scissors
  • Markers
Click here for complete instructions! 

3- D Winter Scene
Photo of frost
 Make Your Own Frost          

Have you ever drawn in the frost of your windows-or any frozen food container? Ever wonder how that frost forms? Have fun making your own frost with materials around your house!

Ice (preferably crushed)
A metal container
You’ve probably seen snowmen melt when it gets warm outside, but have you ever seen one…EXPLODE?! Have fun making your own exploding snowman and learn about chemical reactions!

Plastic Sandwich Bag
Permanent Markers (Optional)
Baking Soda
White Vinegar
Paper Towel

Click here for complete instructions! 
Expanding Snowman
Fireworks in a Jar
 Fireworks in a Jar!   
Create a mini celebration in a jar by creating your very own fireworks! Enjoy the colorful explosions while learning about density and the polarity of bonds!


  • Warm Water
  • Vegetable Oil
  • Food Coloring
  • A Clear Container
Click here for complete instructions!

 Fishing for Ice  

Maybe you’ve gone fishing for…fish but can you catch an ice cube?

  • Ice Cubes
  • Salt
  • Water
  • String

Photo showing how you fish for Ice
Picture of homemade snow
 Make Your Own Snow!            
Make snow to play with no matter what kind of weather we’re having! You’ll need materials you most likely have around your home. 

Baking Soda
Shaving Cream (or Conditioner)
A Container for Mixing

Before you begin gather all of your materials and decide whether you’ll use shaving cream or conditioner. Both shaving cream and conditioner will work just as well-so use whatever you have on hand!

Click here for complete details! 

 Melted Crayon Stained-Glass Christmas Tree   

Create an awesome faux stained-glass masterpiece with just a few supplies you most likely have around your home! There are two options for creating our melted crayon Christmas trees. You decide which one you would like to create based on your materials and comfort level- both require adult supervision! One cool thing about this project is you can display your stained glass with any “frame” shape- not just a Christmas tree! Get creative and have fun! 

Click here for complete instructions! 

CDM Art Studio Online Melted Crayon Stained-Glass Christmas Tree
 Art Around You- Bubble Print Galaxy 

Welcome to our virtual version of Art Around You: Exploring Contemporary Art in the Community! This program is made possible by The Mirza Art and Culture grant awarded to The Children’s Discovery Museum by the Illinois Prairie Community Foundation as well as our continued partnership with Illinois State University Galleries.

Art Around You starts with a trip to University Galleries, a discussion about a selected inspiration art piece, and then a guided, at home art making session with supplies that you can find around the house!

This time we will be creating a Bubble Print Galaxy inspired by the artwork of Ala Ebtekar! These are the simple supplies you will need:

  • White paper
  • Small bowls (3)
  • Dish soap
  • Food coloring
  • Water
  • Paint brush (or something to mix with)
  • Straw
  • Paper towels (for mess)

Visit this link to go on a video tour of University Galleries’ exhibit, An Infinite and Omnivorous Sky: https://galleries.illinoisstate.edu/exhibitions/2020/an-infinite-and-omnivorous-sky/#slide63

 Art Around You- Aluminum Foil Moon              

Welcome to our virtual version of Art Around You: Exploring Contemporary Art in the Community! This program is made possible by The Mirza Art and Culture grant awarded to The Children’s Discovery Museum by the Illinois Prairie Community Foundation as well as our continued partnership with Illinois State University Galleries.

Art Around You starts with a trip to University Galleries, a discussion about a selected inspiration art piece, and then a guided, at home art making session with supplies that you can find around the house!

This time we will be creating an Aluminum Foil Moon inspired by the artwork of Lisa Oppenheim! These are the simple supplies you will need:

  • Black paper (or dark colored paper)
  • Large circle to trace that fits on your black paper (such as a bowl)
  • 1 sheet of aluminum foil (big enough for your circular tracing object)
  • Pencil
  • Small, flat, circular objects (lid rings, hair bands, key rings, coins, etc.)
  • Scissors
  • Liquid glue and paintbrush (or glue stick)
  • White crayon, white colored pencil and/or white oil pastel
  • White paint or liquid whiteout (optional)

Visit this link to go on a video tour of University Galleries’ exhibit, An Infinite and Omnivorous Sky: https://galleries.illinoisstate.edu/exhibitions/2020/an-infinite-and-omnivorous-sky/#slide54

Backyard Picnic   

Are you missing Our Great Backyard exhibit on the first floor? Now that the weather is starting to get warmer, it is perfect opportunity to head to the backyard for a real picnic! Have your child help pick out the perfect spot, lay out a blanket, and eat lunch together!

This activity is so simple, yet a perfect opportunity to engage in conversation with your child and build family memories together! (We have done this a lot this spring and my kids beg to have picnic outside even if its not the greatest weather!)

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 Splat Painting   

Experiment with gravity and create a fun piece of art!

Materials: cotton balls, liquid watercolor or water dyed with food coloring, cups for paint, paper

1. This project could get a little messy, so it may be a fun one to try outside! If outside, you may want to place rocks at the corners of your paper so that it does not blow away.

2. Dip cotton balls into the liquid watercolor and then drop from varying heights onto your paper. Repeat multiple times until you are satisfied with how your painting looks.

This activity is fun for a variety of ages. You can also ask your child to experiment with dropping their cotton ball from different heights to see if it creates the same amount of splatter or less.

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Splatter Art
Tree house design
 Tree House Design   

Design a tree house of your dreams!

Materials: Shoe box, milk carton, scissors, glue, construction paper, toilet paper tubes, and any other craft supplies that you may have / want to use.

First, before you get started, you may want to plan and draw out a design that you may have in mind. This is an important step in the engineering process and may be the plan may be modified once you start building.

Second, build your tree house! Depending upon how simple or complex you decide to make your tree house, this project may take a short amount of time or it could take up an entire afternoon if you really get creative and use your imagination!

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 Easy Spin Art   

Mix science and art together with this easy DIY spinning top! 

  CD, markers, tape, paper
  1. Use tape to hold a marker inside of the hole in a CD.  Try to make sure the marker is standing up straight.
  2. Take the lid off and on a piece of paper spin the marker like a top.  Change the marker if you’d like a new color.

Watch the motion of the maker as it spins across the paper to create beautiful works of art. 

Does the placement of the marker in the CD affect the way it spins?  Try placing the CD at different heights on the marker. The lower the CD is taped on the marker, the better the top spins.  What happens if you add weight to the CD?  You can try taping pennies or washers to see how it affects the spin.

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Spin Art
Back Scratcher
 Engineering Challenge: DIY Back Scratcher   

What do you do if you can’t reach that itch in the middle of your back?  Invent your own back scratcher!

Using supplies around your house, build your own back scratcher that can reach that pesky itch.  The only rule is to make sure it is long and strong enough to work.  For an extra challenge make the handle retractable so it stores easily.

Suggested supplies: toilet paper tubes, string, straws, clothespins, cardboard, pencils, plastic forks, craft sticks, pipe cleaners, glue, tape, rubber bands

This was a fun challenge we did with the youth at Unity Community Center. 

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Paper Tube Wind Sox
 Make a Windsock  

We all have so many toilet paper tubes laying around our house, let’s do something fun with them. You will need a toilet paper tube, construction paper or a page from a magazine, tissue paper or paper towel, tape or glue.

Take a tube and decorate the outside with your favorite spring theme. You can color it, make it a collage, or wrap it in construction paper. Then use construction paper or a strip of paper from an old magazine to make a handle coming out of the top. Lastly use tissue paper or paper towel to create the fringe coming out the bottom. Once you have made one experiment and explore. What other materials can you use to make a wind sock?

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 Cook with Your Kid   

So many of us are spending extra time in the kitchen and cooking with your kids can not only be fun, but also includes so many important learning skills. Having your kids help measure ingredients incorporates math skills, pouring and mixing are excellent motor skills, baking things such as cakes and cookies can introduce very basic states of matter, and decorating things like cakes and cookies gives your child an opportunity to express their creativity! Not to mention, simply cooking together strengthens bonds and builds memories!

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cook with your kids
Grow a Rainbow
 Grow a Rainbow

Create a rainbow with simple materials from around the house! You will need the following supplies: a paper towel, scissors, washable markers, and two small jars of water. First, trim your paper towel so that is approximately 7 inches in length and 3 inches wide. Next, color the opposite ends of the paper towels to make a rainbow. Then, place each of the colored ends into a small jar of water and watch what happens! In a matter of minutes, you should see the colors from the markers travel to towards the other ends of the paper towels to create a rainbow!

Grown ups, this a great opportunity to easily talk about science with your child. Ask them what they are observing or seeing happen after the paper towel ends are placed in the water. You can also introduce the term absorption; the colors from the markers move towards the center of the paper towel as water is absorbed at the ends.

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 3D Flower Art 

Create some three dimensional flower art! Materials needed include the following: paper towel tubes, toilet paper tubes, coffee filters, markers or paint.

First, use your coffee filter to create your flower coloring it with markers. Next, color your paper towel or toilet paper tube to make the stem; you can simply color it with markers, paint it, or if you have construction paper available, you could also cover the outside of the tube with that. Last, you can carefully stuff the middle of the coffee filter into your tube to create your flower.

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3D Flower
Cereal Tower
 Cereal Tower  

If you are in need of an activity to keep your toddler busy for a good 10-15 minutes, this one is perfect!  Materials are simple and include: play dough, uncooked spaghetti, and cereal such as cheerios or fruit loops. Mound a clump or two of play dough on a flat surface and stand a piece of uncooked spaghetti through the top of the mound. Then, have your child practice threading on their cereal onto their piece of spaghetti!

This activity not only works on the fine motor skill of using a pincer grasp, but it also works on hand-eye coordination when your child works to thread the cereal onto the piece of spaghetti!

#childrensmuseums #DailyDoseofPlay #cdmpowerofplay #blono

 Bubble Wrap Prints  

Create some colorful prints with little mess! You will need the following materials: paper, tempera paint, bubble wrap, and masking tape.

Step 1: Place your paper on a solid flat surface. Splatter or squirt paint onto the paper.

Step 2: Cover your paper with bubble wrap and tape the ends of the bubble wrap to your solid surface so that it does not move during the printing process.

Step 3: Then, have your child press, pound, and snap the bubble wrap so that the paint underneath begins to move.

Step 4: When your child is finished with Step 3, remove the tape and pull off the bubble wrap.

Step 5: Place a piece of clean paper to the painted surface of the bubble wrap to make your print!

This activity is great one that requires very little clean up and provides an opportunity for you and your child to talk about colors used and if any new colors were made during the process!

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Bubble Prints
 Magic Milk     

Materials: 2% or Whole Milk, food coloring, liquid dish soap, cotton swab, shallow bowl.

Step 1: Measure approximately 1/4 cup of milk and pour it into your bowl.

Step 2: Add 1-2 drops of each color of food coloring that you choose to use. Be careful and try to not move your bowl after this step.

Step 3: Dip a cotton swab into liquid dish soap.

Step 4: Dip your cotton swab into your milk and quickly take out. Do not stir.

Step 5: Observe what is happening in your bowl. What do you see?

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 Painting with Water  

This activity is fun and easy for all ages!  All you need is to grab any kind of paint brushes or rollers and a bucket of water.  Use the water to paint on the sidewalk, driveway or fence.  As the water evaporates, the art will disappear, and you will have a clean slate to start again.  It becomes more about the process than the product.

Some things you can try...

  1. Use bigger paint brushes and rollers for gross motor practice.  Use smaller brushes to practice writing.
  2. Introduce the idea of evaporation and the water cycle.  Kids can make predictions about how fast they think their drawing will disappear.  Draw a chalk circle around your painting.  Use a timer to see how quickly it evaporates.
  3. Paint in a sunny spot and a shady spot to see which disappears faster.

Share your paintings with us, but be quick to snap a picture before they disappear!

#childrensmuseums #DailyDoseofPlay #cdmpowerofplay #blono

Paint with Water
 DIY Sundial

Take your learning outdoors!  Before the invention of modern clocks, people used the position of the sun and the shadow on a sundial to help keep track the time.  Here are three ways for you to create your own sundial at home.

Human sundial: Materials needed: sidewalk chalk, tape measurer (optional)

Pick a spot on the sidewalk or driveway to stand and use sidewalk chalk to draw a box around your feet.  You will stand in this box each time you measure.  Have someone use the chalk to trace your shadow for you.   You can use a tape measurer to measure how long it is.  Wait a couple of hours and then draw your shadow again.  This is an activity that you will repeat a few times throughout the day so that you can see the changes that happen over time.  What did you notice happening to the length and direction of your shadow? 

Paper sundial: Materials needed: pencil, piece of paper or paper plate, clay or spool, marker

Stand a pencil upright with a piece of clay or a spool.  Place it in the middle of a piece of paper or paper plate.  Make sure the pencil is standing straight up and set it outside in a sunny area so that a shadow is created by the pencil.  Tip- if it is windy, place a couple of rocks on the plate so it doesn’t blow away!  At the top of the hour, go out a draw a line where the shadow is created by the pencil and mark the time.   Repeat this each hour on the hour.  If it isn’t going to rain then leave your sundial outside to check its accuracy the next day or make sure to place your sundial in the exact same spot each day.

Nature Sundial: Materials Needed: strong stick, rocks, permanent marker or paint

You can try making a more permanent sundial by sticking a stick into the ground.  Place rocks around it to mark each hour.  Mark each rock with the time by using a permanent marker or paint.

People can use sundials to keep track of time by observing where the shadow falls on the surface of the sundial.  During the day the sun seems to move across the sky because the Earth is slowly spinning on its axis.  The different position of the sun in the sky during the day causes the shadow on the sundial to change.  Each day the sun is close to the same position in the sky as it was the day before at that same time.  You will also notice that when the sun’s position changes, the length of the shadow on the sundial also changes. In the morning the shadow continues to get shorter and shorter and noon approaches.  Then, in the afternoon, the shadow gets longer and longer. 

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 Shadow Art 

Shadow Tracing-

Place an interesting  object or your favorite toy on a piece paper.  Trace around the shadow that it casts.  With your favorite medium, color or paint the outline that you created.  Try your art at different times of the day to see how the shadows change.  Not sunny...use a light source like a lamp or flashlight to create a shadow!

Shadow pictures-

Go on a shadow hunt in your neighborhood.  Use a camera to snap pictures of interesting shadows you see along the way.

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Shadow Art
chalk paint
 DIY Sidewalk Paint 

Create some colorful art in your driveway and / or on the sidewalk! Materials are simple and include the following: cornstarch, water, food coloring, mixing bowl, mixing spoon, cups, and paintbrushes. Measure 1 cup of cornstarch and 1 cup of water into a mixing bowl. Mix until the cornstarch has dissolved in the water; the mixture will be runny. Distribute the mixture evenly between 6 and 8 cups depending upon how many colors you would like to make (I recommend using disposable cups for easy clean up). Drop in a few drops of food coloring and mix together. Once each color has a color added to it, then paint away in your drive way or on your sidewalk!

This activity is perfect for a variety of ages and allows children to express themselves creatively! For young children this activity also works on development of motor skills in using a paintbrush as well as language development as you discuss what colors they are using and what they are painting!

#childrensmuseums #DailyDoseofPlay #cdmpowerofplay #blono

 Color Sorting   

Grab a variety of toys from around the house and gather in a basket, then lay out either various colors of construction paper, plates, bowls, whatever you may have around the house that will work! Have your child then sort the items by color by placing on the corresponding piece of paper.

Did you know that when your child sorts items, they are actually practicing math and problem solving skills?

#childrensmuseums #DailyDoseofPlay #cdmpowerofplay #blono

 color sort
 Fluffy Slime 

Ms. Jenny is really missing making slime with all of you, so she shared her favorite slime recipe to try at home!

All you need to get started is shaving cream, glue, saline solution and food coloring.

Design a Board Game 

We’ve probably all been spending time having game nights with the family.  Now is your chance to be a game designer and create your own board game!   Make it a collaboration and have the whole family work together to design something you all will enjoy.

  • The Game Idea- Start by picking a style of game you like or a theme that you enjoy.  If you love dinosaurs then why not create a game about dinosaurs. 
  • Board Design-   Once you have an idea you will want to sketch out a board design.  Using cardboard or paper found around your house, start to create the board.  Use simple tools like pencils, markers and paint or print a design using your computer.  An easy way to make a game board for the young ones is to have them lay out colored squares of paper to create a path.  Spaces can be blank or have directions on them like “roll again” or “lose a turn”.
  • Make your Pieces- After the board has been finished, you will need pieces to play your game.  Use things that you can find around your house.  They can be pieces from other games or you can use small objects (like bottlecaps) to create your own. 
  • Moving your game pieces- Decide how your game pieces get to move.  Do you roll a dice, spin a spinner or draw cards?  Any of these items can be used from other games or you can easily make your own.  Dice can be made from a small box.  Cards can be made from paper.  A spinner can be made with cardboard, a paperclip and a brass fastener.
  • Game Rules- Write out the rules to your game and practice playing with your family.  You may decide that you need to change or add rules as you practice to get them just right.

Board game design gets kids thinking creatively and allows them to practice important skills like planning and problem solving.  It engages them in valuable social interactions and communication. And most importantly, it’s fun!

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Board Game
Board Game 2
Seed Bags
Sprouting Seeds
Spring is here and things are starting to bloom! Now is great time to sprout some seeds and getting started is easy! Materials that you will need to gather include: cotton balls, seeds, a small bowl, water, a paper plate, and a plastic sandwich bag. Then, follow these simple steps:

1. Fill a bowl with a small amount of water (you will not need a lot).

2. Sprinkle the seeds onto a paper plate.

3. Grab a cotton ball and quickly dip it into the water (it does not need to be soaking wet).

4. Take your wet cotton ball and dip it onto the seeds to collect them.

5. Place the cotton ball inside the plastic sandwich bag.

6. Repeat steps 3 through 5 until you have used each kind of seeds that you have available.

7. Seal the plastic sandwich bag and tape in a window that receives sunlight.

8. In a matter of days, you should start to see your seeds sprouting. Once the sprouts are 1 to 2 inches in length, you can transfer them to soil and continue to watch them grow!

This activity not only introduces your child to how to grow plants, but is also a great way to practice observation and comparing skills. Children can observe each day changes that they see in their sprouts and can also observe how some sprouts may look similar while others may look different. 

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Sensory Scavenger Hunt 

Sensory exploration is how your child naturally learns about the world that surrounds them. A great way 
to exercise learning through their senses is by taking a walk through your neighborhood or simply 
exploring your own backyard! Use your sense of sight, smell, touch, and hearing to find various things! 

This is a great opportunity to invite conversation with your child. Questions can be simple such as, 
”What do you see?” “What do you smell?” ”What do you feel?” And ”What do you hear?”

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Five Senses Scavenger Hunt
Pizza - Play Restaurant
Create a Restaurant

Are you missing the pizza kitchen at the CDM? Create your own pizza kitchen or restaurant at home! Gather your play food and then create menus for your restaurant. Younger children who do not know how to write yet can simply draw pictures to help create their menu. Then, PLAY!

Dramatic Play is important to your child’s development as it lends itself as an opportunity for children to practice adult roles and improves upon their language and communication skills.

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Make a Cat Toy

Do you love cats? We do and ours are going a bit crazy. Alida and Rachel decided to make something fun for their kitties to keep them busy. You can make toys too, even if you don’t have kitties at home. Remember you can always donate to your local animal shelter! 

Activities like these help children with engineering, problem solving, and empathy!

#childrensmuseums #DailyDoseofPlay #cdmpowerofplay #blono

Worm Hunt
 Worm Hunt 

Now that it is getting nicer out, take the kids outside for a worm hunt! Besides the obvious method of digging and finding them in the soil, you can invite your child to lift up rocks or small logs to see if the worms are hiding under there as well! Although this is a simple activity, it is a great way for your child to work on observation skills. 

Try asking your child simple questions such as, “What is the worm doing? “ or if you find multiple worms, ask them, ”Do they look the same or how are the different?” Asking these types of questions not only encourages science investigation, they also lead to conversation between you and your child which helps improve upon their language development! 

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 Water and Soap Sensory Bin  

Find any type of large bucket or tub, fill it with soap and water, and supply any items that may need a little scrubbing! Ideas could be play food, play cars or plastic blocks. Then, grab cleaning a few tools including sponges, old toothbrushes, paintbrushes, etc. Let kids clean away! 

Sensory bins are excellent opportunities for your child to learn and explores them using their senses and  improving upon their fine and gross motor skills! 

#childrensmuseums #DailyDoseofPlay #cdmpowerofplay #blono

Soap Sensory Bin
Foil Painting
 Aluminum Foil Paintings 

Take painting out of the box! Materials that you will need include: aluminum foil, tempera paint, and cotton swabs. Give your child a sheet of aluminum foil and then supply the paints and cotton swabs to your child and then let them paint away!  

This activity is a great way to let you child creatively express themselves as well as experiment with mixing colors. When your child is finished with the painting, ask them to tell you about their painting or for the little ones, ask them about the colors that they used! 

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 Flower Dissection

With spring arriving there are more and more flowers around. While on a walk or while playing outside choose one or two different flowers to examine. You can find these in flowering plants like daffodils or tulips, or you can find them on trees, like maple and magnolia. Pluck the flower and include the stem. If a parent is with you, you can even use a scissors or garden nippers. When you get inside lay your flowers on separate pieces of paper. Look at them and compare. What do they have in common and what is different about them. Encourage your child to carefully pull apart or cut off each part of the flower. This is a great opportunity to practice self-control and exercise that pincer grip! In order to keep the parts intact, children must be firm but careful in dissecting their flower. 

As your child removes each part from the flower, either tell them or ask them what part of the flower it is. Is it the stem, petal, pistil, stamen, or pollen? Can you name even more parts? Have them glue each part onto their paper, and if they are starting to write, have them label each part. Working in an orderly, logical way lays the foundation for future success in science experiments and observations. 

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Flower Disection flower
Flower Disection parts
Window Clings
 Make Window Clings 

Ms. Jenny will show you how to make your own window clings using simple materials from home.  These are a great way to decorate your windows, mirrors or refrigerators for the spring and summer! 

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 Instant Ice

Join Ms. Rachel and her kids as they try an activity we use at UNITY Community Center. Even if their experiment didn’t work exactly they way they planned, maybe yours will. Try it at your house and show us the results. 

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 Build a Bunny Home

Grab your favorite stuffed animal bunny, lamb, or baby chick and your blocks then build your animal a home! As your child builds, you can break out the ruler or tape measure and practice measuring their structure.

Although preschoolers may not have used a ruler before, showing them how to use it will help develop their confidence in measurement skills when they get older. Block play is a great way to build upon all kinds of learning and development skills including use of imagination, learning how to balance, problem solving, creating a design, and so much more!

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Bunny House
Chalk Egg Art
 Easter Egg Chalk Art

This is a twist on using your sidewalk chalk! Materials needed are: paper, making tape, sidewalk chalk, and a bowl of water. Trace an egg on paper and then place masking tape over it in various directions. Have your child dip their sidewalk chalk into water and then color over the egg with it. Once it is dry, carefully pull of the tape off to reveal your design!

Using art materials strengthens your child’s fine motor skills and great opportunity to work on their communication skills by asking them to tell you about the colors they used and how they made their piece of art!

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 Sink an Egg

Grab your plastic eggs and other materials around the house that will fit in the egg. Ideas for materials could include cotton balls, marbles, pennies, or anything else that you can think of! Fill each egg with one type of item and have your children hold the eggs one at a time. Have them compare the eggs, use words like “heavy” and “light” and predict if they will sink or if they will float. Then, have them test each egg to see what happens.

Once all items have been tested, you can discuss why your child thinks some would float and some would sink. Compare your results with your predictions. Simple experiments and discussions are part of your child learning about the steps on scientific method!

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Egg Sink or Float
Rainbow shaving cream
 Shaving Cream Egg Art

Use shaving cream and food coloring to decorate a real or paper egg! 

Step 1:  Add a nice layer of shaving cream to a plate or cookie sheet.

Step 2:  Drop dots of food coloring on top of the shaving cream. 

Step 3:  Gently swirl the colors around in a fun design using a toothpick, straw or spoon.  Don’t over mix!  You just want to move the colors around in a design.

Step 4:  Lay a piece of heavy white paper or cardstock on top of the shaving cream and gently rub your fingers across the paper so that the design transfers from the shaving cream to the paper. 

Step 5:  Carefully lift the paper from the shaving cream.  Using a squeegee or flat piece of cardboard, scrap the extra shaving cream from the paper.  Your design will now be transferred to the paper.

Step 6:  Cut the paper into an egg shape.  Now it is ready to hang!

This same process can be done on a hard-boiled egg.  Roll the egg around in the shaving cream design to completely coat the egg.  Let the egg sit for 15 minutes for the design to dry.  Gently wipe off the excess shaving cream with a paper towel.

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 LEGO Building Activity  

At Ms. Rachel’s house we build with LEGO’s every day. To help my kids stay focused for an hour we are following the LEGO building challenges. https://todayscreativeideas.com/31-days-of-lego-play-calendar/ My kids, 8 and 12, complete the same challenge each day and build as many of that challenge as it takes to fill the time period. Here are the monster day challenge build outs!
Lego 2
Pom Pom
 Pom Pom Tube Drops

This is an easy one for the toddlers! Simply gather paper towel and toilet paper tubes, masking tape, and craft poms or cotton balls. If you have older kids, they can help create and design a maze for the cotton balls / poms to travel through. For little ones, you can keep it simple and have them practice dropping them through the tubes! All you have to do is tape the tubes using masking tape to a flat surface such as a wall, refrigerator, or dry erase board!
 Water Drop Paintings   

This is a great one for little ones to practice fine motor skills as well as incorporating some science and art!  Materials needed include: paper towels, pipettes or eye droppers, cups, water and food coloring.  Mix a small cup of water with a drop or two of food coloring; you can keep the activity simple by using two or three colors. Demonstrate to your child how to use a pipette or eye dropper (most three year old children can grasp the concept pretty quickly). Younger kids will need help with filling their pipette, but they should be able to do the squeezing part just fine. Give your child their paper towel and pipette and let them go to town creating art and seeing if any of their colors mix together to make new colors!
Water Drop Painting
 Rainbow Fizzies  

Materials Needed: Baking Soda, Food Coloring, Pipettes or Eye Droppers, and Vinegar

You can keep it simple and measure 1 Tablespoon of Baking Soda into a small shallow bowl, or you can make it larger by spreading a thin layer of baking soda in a large baking pan. Next, add drops of food coloring on top of the baking soda. Finally, using a pipette or eye dropper, drop vinegar onto the baking soda.  A great tip to engage your kids during this activity is to ask them what they observe or see happening (bubbling and fizzing)!  Depending on the colors that were used, they may also see some color mixing too!

Window Painting
 Window Painting 

Missing the paint wall as much as we are?!  Here’s your chance to recreate a museum exhibit at home!

You will need tempera paint, liquid dish soap, paint brushes, and cornstarch (optional).  To get started add tempera paint and a small amount of dish soap into a bowl and mix.  If the paint is a bit runny, you can add small amounts of cornstarch to thicken up the paint until you get the desired consistency.  Now it’s time to find a window and get painting!  Clean up will be a breeze.  Just use a spray bottle and squeegee or a wet towel to wipe the paint away. 

Window Painting 2
 DIY Shrinky Dinks  

Remember Shrinky Dinks? …here’s how to make them at home!

Materials Needed:  Clean #6 plastic (clear plastic used in salad bar or take out containers-look for the #6 stamp on the bottom of the container), permanent markers, scissors, cookie sheet, oven or toaster oven, foil, oven mitt

Pre-heat your oven to 350°.  While the oven is warming, cut a flat section out of your #6 plastic. (Remember-the plastic will shrink to 1/3 of its original size).  Draw your picture or write a message using the permanent makers.  Now line your cookie sheet with aluminum foil and place your art on the tray. Put it in the oven for about 2-4 minutes watching as it shrinks.  You may notice that your art will curl up at the beginning, but it should flatten itself back out.  Once it has shrunk down, use the oven mitts to remove the Shrinky dinks and let cool for a couple of minutes before handling.

Shrinky Dink 2
Shrinky Dink
A little girl posing with her zoo
 How to Build a Zoo
Have your kids think about the zoos that they have visited and create their own version!  Materials are simple—use any kind of blocks that you have at home and any kind of toy animals! Share your zoo with us! #childrensmuseumsueums #DailyDoseOfPlay 
A photo of a homemade zoo
 Make Your Own Play Dough

Making your own play dough at home is not only fun to play with, but also a great activity to get the little ones involved in the kitchen too!  Simply measure 2 cups flour, 1 cup salt, 2-3 teaspoons alum or cream of tartar, and add either a packet or two of Kool-Aid or 3-4 teaspoons of a cinnamon, apple pie spice, or pumpkin pie spice.  Mix dry ingredients together and then measure and add in 1 cup of warm water and 2 Tablespoons of vegetable oil.  Mix everything together; if the mixture seems to sticky, add more flour or if it seems dry, add more water.

You don’t necessarily need store-bought toys to play with your play dough either. Think about incorporating your kitchen tools—rolling pins, cookie cutters, potato mashers, and plastic utensils. You can also work on fine motor skills by placing dried spaghetti into a lump of play dough and then have your child practice placing beads or cheerios onto their spaghetti!

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A sensory bin filled with yarn, cans, colander, and condiment shakers
 Sensory Bin Yarn Kitchen

Sensory Bins are a great way to get your child involved into dramatic play opportunities!  In a recent Playful Learner’s class, we featured a spaghetti kitchen!  We simply used a spool of yellow yarn cut up into approximately 6 to 8-inch lengths and added in some of our play kitchen props or you could even use real kitchen pans and tools too!  Then, let your child’s imagination go to work!

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A photo of water droplet art
 Water and Wax Paper Science 

Here are some fun and educational activities to show you the amazing properties of water and wax paper.  These are great for all ages!  If you don’t have straws around your house, you can create tubes out of paper and tape. Don’t have and eye dropper, use a straw or a paper tube. Put the straw in the water, cover the end with your finger, pull the straw out of the cup. You have water in the straw! Now move it over your wax paper and slowly release your finger. Can you make small drops and big drops? Experiment! Please show us your creations
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A photo of a maze with a spot to finish and a spot to start
A photo of cute bird in a nest
 Bird Nest Engineering Challenge 

This activity was a favorite with the kids in our Unity youth program.  Take a walk and gather natural items that you find that you can build your own bird’s nest from…try it with no tape or glue!  Test out its strength by adding weight (marbles make great egg-shaped weights).  Reflect on your experience, was it easy or hard to make a nest that looks like one a bird would build? Who knew that birds were such amazing engineers?!


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 Paper Chair for Teddy  

Can you make a chair for your stuffed animal to sit in/on using only paper and tape? Once you have built one give yourself an added challenge, can you do it without using any tape?

Share your designs with us!

#childrensmuseumsueums #DailyDoseOfPlay 

A photo of a toy panda sitting on a chair