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National Children's Museum


National Children's Museum offers ideas to spark kids' creativity this summer

Nature journals: Journals positively encourage kids to record and sketch what they observe and, more importantly, to sit still for a few moments in nature and really focus. It's a time to record personal thoughts and nature discoveries. Journals can be as simple as a personalized, decorated spiral notebook.

Children's gardens: Kids love to spend time in the garden and watch plants grow. Even very young children will have fun watering, weeding, and just playing in dirt. When starting a children's garden, a good rule is to keep it small and manageable. Be sure to mark off a specific plot and encourage kids to be responsible for the watering, weeding, and harvesting.

Children's cookbook: Kids can cook and learn at an early age how to prepare meals for themselves and the family. Creating a cookbook can be as simple as copying recipes that kids have tried onto 3 X 5 colored index cards. Be sure to include fun comments like, "These cookies are delicious with chocolate milk!" or any special instructions like, "I added extra raisins and it was really good." Also consider printing recipes from the computer and putting them into a personalized three-ring binder.

Children's citizen science projects: Citizen science can be a great way to interest young children in science and to introduce a few basic skills. Join the Firefly Watch Project through the Museum of Science Boston, www.mos.org/fireflywatch, to collect firefly data and help save the American firefly population. Kids can also visit the NCM-powered website, www.ReadySetGlow.org, to play firefly games and learn about fireflies. These projects aim to engage kids in inquiry-based learning and stewardship of the environment and, above all, to have fun!

Nature photography for children: Photography is an exciting way to connect kids to nature through the lens of a camera. With a camera in their hands, kids want to stop, look, and concentrate on the wonders of the environment. With a little supervision, children as young as 5 years old can learn to take good photographs.

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