Dan’s STEM Corner: Winter Solstice Paper Lanterns

Get ready for the winter solstice by making a paper lantern! The winter solstice is the shortest day of the year. This means we have the shortest amount of daylight and the longest night of the year. This year we celebrate the solstice on December 21st. Solstice is a Latin word that translates to “sun stands still” View the link below for the complete directions on how to make a paper lantern. Follow this link for the directions. 

Will’s Culture Corner: December Edition

With the holiday season officially kicked off, the Explore & More Education Team has worked to put together exciting and intellectual programming to share with our WNY community. For many of the individuals reading this, December means decorating with lights, baking cookies, and placing a star on top of a tree, though here at Explore & More we want to showcase how the holiday season is celebrated not only within our diverse WNY community but across the world.

The Education Team will be facilitating numerous activities and lessons dedicated to demonstrating how the holidays are celebrated around the world. Our team will introduce guests to traditional, Latin American Christmas celebrations, local Hanukkah festivities, to traditional Kwanzaa happenings. Showcasing such diversity in celebrations will inform our guest families that the holidays mean something different for everyone, even within our own community.

It is the hope of the Education Team that exposure to different holiday practices and activities, will lead people toward better understanding a multitude of cultures across the globe, but also to better understand our neighbors and friends in our very own community. As across all cultures, the holiday season remains a time for joy, love, and togetherness!

Happy Holidays from your friends in the Explore & More Education Team!

Meet the Team: Catherine Gesel

Play to Learn Facilitator

Catherine is thrilled to join the team at Explore & More and share her love of play with the children of Buffalo. Just ask her family and friends how often she bugs them to play a game at gatherings. Her past experience at the Buffalo Museum of Science, as well as Engineering for Kids, allowed her to find her true passion as an informal educator. She loves all things Buffalo and is so happy to be working in the fun Canalside area. You can usually find her at a Sabres game with her husband, Taylor or snuggling on the couch with her Velcro-dog, Talulla and her cat, Milo.

Did You Know? Winter Break Camp

Did you know that camps at Explore & More aren’t just for the summer break? 

We have an exciting camp opportunity for school-aged children during the upcoming winter break from December 27th through the 31st where we will learn about Holidays Around the World! We’re going to shake off the winter blues and learn more about various holiday celebrations such as Hanukkah, Christmas, Saint Lucia Day, Kwanzaa, and Saint Nicholas Day while having great fun doing so! Fun, hands-on experiences will spark creativity, imagination, and exploration as we venture throughout the museum to play and learn in the exhibits. 

Another chance to join us will be over the February break (February 21st through the 25th) at our World Traveler’s Camp, where children will travel the world and encounter a different country every day of the week through maker projects, artistic masterpieces, traditional games, and authentic foods, as they gain math, science, and cooking skills.  

We hope you’ll join us for these weeks of fun!  

A Letter from Lisa: December Edition

Dear Friends,

It’s the most wonderful time of the year, so take time to PLAY! Research shows that play helps relieve stress for both kids and adults, which is why making time to play together as a family is so important. In addition to spending quality time together, family play helps to strengthen relationships and encourage creativity and imagination.

If you’re not sure how to get started, here are some easy ways that you can incorporate play into the time your family spends together and eliminate your kids using that dreaded ‘b’ word – I’m bored!

1. Have some winter fun – Put on your favorite pair of snow pants and warmest winter boots and head outside for an activity like sledding or ice skating at Canalside. Take a trip to your local park and play on the equipment in the frigid weather. Blow bubbles – yes! – Bring your bubble mixture outside and let the fun begin! Let the bubble sit on the wand after you blow it to see it slowly freeze and transform into a crystal ball up close. 

2. Make some art – Gather supplies and do a group art project. Give each family member a blank canvas and create some new wall art or take turns drawing portraits of each other.

3. Host a game night – Are you the all-time Monopoly champion? Challenge your family to a game night. Be sure to rotate who gets to choose the games played each time. I suggest that you play the latest and greatest, Monopoly City of Buffalo. Who will be lucky enough to own Explore & More?

4. Take a nature walk – Play can be calm and low-key. Explore the outdoors as a family while walking around your neighborhood or strolling the Boardwalk at Canalside.

5. Make chores fun – Turn everyday tasks, like cooking or cleaning, into a bonding moment by doing them together. Find opportunities to make tasks fun and silly to get everyone laughing.

6. Build a fort – Grab the couch cushions, some cardboard or even a stack of pillows and blankets and build the hideout of your dreams. Don’t forget the flashlights!

7. Dance – Put on your favorite tunes and let loose with the family. Bring back some of your favorite dance moves, like the robot or the moonwalk.

8. Have a family photoshoot – Grab some props and costume pieces and let kids direct a family photoshoot.

9. Sing-Share your love of music with a karaoke sing-along. Everyone can pick their own tune or have a theme for the night, like 80’s music or songs about summer (Oh, how we miss you!)

10. Support imaginative role-play – Let kids take the lead by letting them plan the fun. Have them choose what characters everyone will be, then play along as a superhero, doctor, or whatever else they’ve dreamed up. I personally, will choose Wonder Woman every time!

It doesn’t matter how your family chooses to play, as long as you’re spending quality time together and having fun. Play has important benefits for people of all ages, so take the time now to make it a priority and see how your family benefits. If you need more convincing that play isn’t just for kids, experience all the fun that we have in store for you at Explore & More throughout the month of December as we celebrate Winter Holidays Around the World.

Looking forward to seeing you soon,

Lisa Chrapowicz
Senior Manager of Community & Strategic Initiatives