Will’s Culture Corner: June 2023 Edition

With school wrapping up this month, and summer vacation drawing near, there is a tremendous opportunity to stimulate learning, while summer fun is being had! An uncomplicated pathway to this is cultural education, as there is literally a world of opportunities that can be examined and investigated by your little ones.  Cultural education can be as simple as introducing new cuisines, or new music.

Annually June, brings with it Caribbean-American Heritage Month, a perfect catalyst for cultural learning and exploration. This celebration is meant to recognize the histories and accomplishments of those of Caribbean descent. 

For instance, political changemakers such as Supreme Court Justice Sonya Sotomayor (Puerto Rico), and Vice President Kamala Harris (Jamaican) both share Caribbean heritage. Athletes such as baseball icon Roberto Clemente (Puerto Rico), and Gold Medalist Sonya Richards Ross (Jamacia) do as well. Countless entertainers, also share Caribbean roots, Rhianna (Barbados), and Zoe Saldana (Dominican Republic) just to name a few. Western New York is a perfect place to explore Caribbean American culture and history. There is a large population of immigrants with origins from the Caribbean, who have made tremendous impacts to our community. These immigrants have brought lasting positive change to our region and this June is the perfect time to acknowledge their contributions and learn about Caribbean culture.

Did You Know? Summer Bucket List

June is when summer finally begins! When I think of all the things I want to do over the summer, I get a little overwhelmed. Writing out a list will help me accomplish everything I want to this summer. Get out your crayons and a pencil, we have a summer bucket list for you that you can color and plan with! What will be on your summer bucket list?

Here is mine:

  • Visit Explore and More 
  • Take a picture with Shark Girl 
  • Visit Canalside on Wednesdays for EPIC story time 
  • Draw on the sidewalk with chalk 
  • Go to the beach 
  • Have a picnic 
  • Visit Canalside on Friday for “Free Play Fridays” 
  • Sit next to a campfire 
  • Go For a hike 
  • Visit Buffalo Heritage Carousel and go for a ride!
  • Eat a juicy watermelon 
  • Plant something 
  • Go to the park 
  • Watch fireworks
  • Paint outside 
  • Go to Touch a Truck on July 30th 
  • Sign up for “Together to Kindergarten” summer camp at Explore and More with Ms. Jackie!

Have a happy summer!

Ms. Jackie

Annie’s STEM Lab: Women in Engineering Day

by Annie Savinon

A noteworthy holiday in June is celebrated on June 23rd, called Women in Engineering Day! This holiday is to recognize all the women who have contributed their efforts in engineering and invention! This holiday also has the intention to raise awareness and hope to attract more females to this amazing career field! Let’s look at some amazing women who deserve a round of applause!

Edith Clarke is known to be the very first female engineer! She created the very first calculator! That invention sure saves us a lot of time! Thank you, Edith!

Marissa Mayer is currently known as one of the most powerful businesswomen in the world! She was the first female engineer to join Google, and the first female CEO of a Fortune 500 company, Yahoo!

Patricia Bath was the first African American female doctor to receive a medical patent! She was the brain behind the treatment and removal of cataracts!

Interested in learning more? Click here!

Join us in the Tinkering Tank on Friday June 23rd to create your own summer-themed invention in honor of this day!

A Letter from Lisa: June 2023 Edition

Dear Friends,

Summer break is right around the corner. As parents, you are likely thinking about season passes to the pool or water park, much-anticipated family vacations and a more relaxed schedule. What you might not be thinking about is how the summer months affect your child’s learning. Often referred to as “summer slide,” there is a real danger in the loss of educational ground your children might experience during the summer months.

Think of it this way: children who are proficient in a sport spend regular time and effort practicing the necessary skills, such as batting, running, catching, or swimming. Typically, kids become better at their sport the more they practice. However, if they take a three-month break from practice, proficiency suffers. It is the same way with math and reading. During the school year students’ minds are exercised daily. This ceases at the beginning of summer break unless children are offered enrichment activities.

Here are ten ways to avoid the summer slide:

  • Read every day. Read non-fiction, fiction, eBooks, poetry, newspapers and read out loud. For an independent reader, 20 minutes is usually a good amount of time to read. Local libraries have a wonderful summer reading program with incentives and rewards for books read over the summer.
  • Cook with your children. This is one of the best ways to integrate math, reading and following directions. Let your child design the menu, too. Take pictures of your home-cooked meals, and help your child put together their favorite recipes in a cookbook.
  • Plant a garden. Your child will gain responsibility and pride as they watch their plants grow and thrive.
  • Learn a new word each week. Hang it on the fridge and see who can use it the most times throughout the week.
  • Play quick games with flashcards like Math War or Concentration to keep math skills sharp.
  • Listen to audio books during your summer road trip.
  • Take pictures and make a summer scrapbook. Encourage your children to write narratives to accompany the pictures.
  • Make time to read. It can’t be said enough; if your child does nothing else this summer make sure he/she is reading!
  • Take a field trip. Head out to a museum, zoo, or local park with walking trails. Keep a journal about your travels. Visit us at Explore & More where kids will have so much fun, they won’t even know they are learning! Beginning Friday, July 1, 2022, Explore & More will provide FREE outdoor programming from 11:00 AM- 1:00 PM every Friday at Canalside throughout the summer. It was a HUGE success last year, and we are so thankful that Project Play and Wegmans are sponsoring our Free Play Friday series again this year! 
  • Enroll in a quality summer program that will provide your child with opportunities to build their critical thinking skills. Explore & More is pleased to offer weekly summer camps that spark 4- to 12-year-old children’s imagination and encourage exploration while playing and learning in the museum. For more information visit our website at …

Wishing everyone a healthy and safe summer,

Lisa Chrapowicz
Senior Manager of Strategic & Community Initiatives

Every “Body” Can Play: Volunteer Intern Briona

By Silvia Steele

This month I want to highlight one of Explore & More’s wonderful volunteer interns, Briona. She has been a familiar face at the museum since September, the beginning of her senior year at St. Mary’s School for the Deaf. As part of her internship, she assisted educators with STEM activities in the Tinkering Tank, prepped and facilitated art activities in the Art Studio and engaged with visitors throughout the museum.

I asked her a few questions about her time at Explore & More and about what she wants people in the community to know about being deaf/hard of hearing. “I enjoyed volunteering at Explore & More. It has been a great opportunity to work with children. My favorite STEM activity was teaching kids how to use Scribble-bots. People should know that for deaf/hard of hearing students, there are many ways for us to communicate with our peers. After graduation I will be attending Rochester Institute of Technology- National Technical Institute for the Deaf, majoring in digital media.” Briona is graduating this month and will be missed by our entire team.

Deaf & Hard of Hearing Awareness Facts and Resources

Field trips are back, please be aware that it will be busier than usual.