Sanity Savers are Explore & More’s at-home guide for bringing PLAY based education right into your very own home!
Polish Heritage Sanity Saver: Pajaki Paper Chandelier
Pajaki is Polish for “spider,” and these delicate Polish “chandeliers” look like spiders made of paper and straws – originally, they were made from the leftover straw of the autumn harvest season. Pajaki are part of a long Polish paper folk art tradition that includes paper cuttings and paper flower paintings. Traditionally, pajaki mobiles would be hung from the ceilings of Polish village homes during the Christmas season for protection during the hard, cold winter months.
Draw inspiration from the leaves outside to create your own salt art! This activity is simple, and the results are beautiful. Grab a piece of paper and roll up your sleeves, and get busy creating your own masterpiece with the following steps.
Veterans Day Sanity Saver: Popsicle Stick American Flag
Although playing in the museum may look different right now, this PreK to 2nd grade lesson is designed to celebrate and honor our community heroes. Combining this lesson with a beautifully illustrated children’s book is a great way to start the conversation about our American soldiers!
Halloween is not the only holiday celebrated in the fall. Each year sometime between mid-October and mid-December Diwali is celebrated throughout the world. Today, as we learn a little more about Diwali or the Festival of Light, we are going to make our own rangoli sand art!
Did you know static electricity is the buildup of electrical charge on an object. The reason why it is called static is because the electricity stays in one stop, otherwise known as static. Today we will be showcasing this with an extra haunted activity.
The people of the Seneca nation, native Americans who used to occupy this area, call them the Three Sisters, or Deohako (pronounced, Jo-hay-ko), which means “the life supporters”. Corn, beans, and squash were the main crops that they grew and ate. There is even a legend told about these inseparable three sisters that grow and thrive together.
Looking for a new game that you can create right inside your home, especially on a rainy day? Look no further than the Paper Airplane Toss Game! This easy point board is simple to create and will provide loads of fun. You can even customize your airplane and try different versions to see what works the best! Find a partner to play against.
Sanity Savers, Honk for Heroes Edition: Mail Carrier Thank You
The United States Postal Service traces it’s roots back to 1775. Today the postal service has been going strong through all types of weather, making sure you get your mail! Today we are going to celebrate the postal service by making our own mailboxes!
Sanity Savers, Honk for Heroes Edition: Trash or Recycle?
Sanitation workers often get overlooked when it comes to recognizing community heroes but without these workers our community would not function! Can you help-out our sanitation workers by learning to sort the recycling from the trash?
Sanity Savers, Honk for Heroes Edition: Thank a Hero!
So many heroes have been working the front lines through this entire pandemic. With many of us spending more of our time at home due to Covid, why not take this opportunity with our kids to spread some cheer? Sending homemade decorated cards to local heroes will put a smile on their face guaranteed!
Did you know ornithology is the study of birds, this includes migration patterns, colors, and even bird calls! Today we will be creating our own biodegradable bird feeders. Biodegradable means that it can decompose naturally without leaving behind any trash.
Explore & More has decided to open up a school of witchcraft and wizardry and we need your help! First we need a model school built first. Using different materials found around your home can you help build us a school for witches and wizards!?
Amelia Schrader reads the Day the Crayons Quit by Drew Daywalt – be sure to pick up a free activity kit from your local Buffalo Public Library (while supplies last!) to follow along and do the activity at home!
Sanity Savers, Honk for Heroes Edition: Essential Worker Flip Book
So many heroes have been working the front lines through this entire pandemic. They are nurses and doctors, workers from grocery stores, sanitation departments and the postal service to name just a few! This fun activity allows you to imagine yourself as a hero!
The unofficial end of summer is here. Typically, our summer months have colorful fireworks displays fill the skies. With all the changes this summer due to the Coronavirus pandemic, many of us have missed this bright tradition. We have all looked to alternative forms of entertainment including art to represent fun events from past years. With this fun art project, you can celebrate the end of summer with a beautiful work of art that will remind you of the season through the cold months to come.
Sanity Savers: Birthday Edition – Paper Chain Countdown
Birthday countdowns are an exciting tradition leading up to your special day. This fun paper chain activity will provide your child with a fun project to help the whole family count down to the big day!
As we celebrate our first anniversary at Canalside and our 26th birthday as a children’s museum we are also reflecting on how people celebrate milestones around the world! In many cultures, Henna or Mehndi is used to celebrate births, weddings, holidays and other important milestones.
Slime is such a fun science experiment for little ones – especially sensory seekers! Our family loves making all different kinds of slime! This is one of our favorite recipes! Many slime recipes use borax but not everyone has that ready in their home. This is an alternative recipe for those who have contact or saline solution in their home!
It’s Explore & More’s Birthday, and we need your help to make a wish for us. With these magical steps you can create your own magic wand. The magic wand can also double as a great reading pointer for as you read.
Sanity Savers: Birthday Edition – Make Your Own Ice Cream
We are continuing our Birthday Celebration today by teaching you how to make your very own Rock Salt Ice Cream! This recipe tastes just as delicious as store bought ice cream and you can still add all your favorite toppings!
The Big Bad Wolf is at it again! You have been asked by the three pigs to construct a house that can withstand the big bad wolf’s breath. Can you help the three pigs!? This is an open-ended challenge. There are different ways to build a house. Below you can find directions to help you build a house or create your own.
Recently NASA launched a new Mars Rover. The rover’s name is Perseverance and it is currently expected to land on February 18th, 2021. One of the most exciting things of the Perseverance project is along with the rover a helicopter is hitching a ride to mars! Today we will be acting as scientists creating a helicopter to work on Mars!
I like crafts that are quick to make, with not a lot of clean up. Can anyone relate? Well then this is the perfect craft for you to work on with the kids! The Patriotic Paper Cup Popper only takes a few minutes to make but is loads of fun to play with!
Summer isn’t over yet and kids are still looking for fun activities to stay busy! Why not try some engaging reading activities that incorporate new scenarios for them to explore (reading under a tree, in a sleeping bag, or even a new genre that they have never tried)?
Explore & More needs your help! We are trying to build the wackiest robots imaginable. Can you help us? As you are building imagine what jobs your robot could do. Does your robot put out fires, help on construction sites, or help doctors with surgery? The instructions are open ended, so you can build however you want!
NASA is planning on going back to the moon by 2024. This means new technology must be made for the astronauts, in particular a new moon buggy. Can you help the astronauts by creating a model Moon Buggy?
This week we are celebrating Adeline Gray! Gray was a parachute rigger that tested out the first nylon parachute. Before this time parachutes had been made from cotton. Cotton parachutes couldn’t be used in bad weather such as rain or wind. Therefore, another material had to be tested. Today we are going to test out different materials to build a parachute out of it and see which works best!
This healthy trail mix contains protein, natural sugars and healthy fats making this salty, sweet treat ideal for an adventure day outside! The banana chips and dried cranberries provide a naturally sweet flavor while the sunflower and pumpkin seeds give a salty, protein packed crunch. The dark chocolate chips offer a healthy fat option to balance out this healthy snack.
Sanity Savers- Find a Truck Edition: Painting with Trucks
Have you ever noticed how different the wheels of certain trucks are? Some are large, some are small, and some even have rotating tracks for grip to drive over bumpy ground and mud. Wouldn’t it be cool to see what kind of patterns these wheels can make? That’s what today’s Sanity Saver is all about. Let your child experiment with different toy trucks that they have and see a one-of kind-painting being created!
Sanity Savers- Find a Truck Edition: Create Your Own Town
Have fun by creating your own map for your toy trucks! All you need is a little creativity, a box, and basic art supplies. Children will be able to use their fine motor skills to create their town and drive their toy trucks around! This is a great activity to practice lefts and rights, coloring, and shapes. One may also discuss communities, services, and jobs!
Sanity Savers – Find a Truck Edition: Counting Dump Truck
In today’s Sanity Saver we will be featuring a dump truck and working on some early math skills! In this activity your child will practice number writing and counting, all while having fun filling up their truck and dumping their blocks!
Sanity Savers: Celebrate Pride: Make your own Rainbow Flag
The Pride Flag was originally designed by Gilbert Baker in 1978. The design used today uses the six colors of the rainbow each with its own meaning. Pride Flags are still flown today by members of the LGBTQ community and allies. Today you are going to learn to make your own Pride Flag!
While studying space one of my favorite things to study are Nebulae. Nebulae are almost like clouds in space that are made up of different gases and space dust. Nebulae take up trillions and trillions of miles in space, but the gases are spread out and slowly gather together over time. Here are just a few nebulae to look at before we start our project. What colors do you see? Do you see any shapes in the clouds? Today we are going to be making our own nebulae!
Our friend Perry has gotten stranded on a desert island. On the island Perry has found corks, cardboard, and other recycled materials. Perry wants to build a raft out of these materials! Can you help Perry build a raft and carry her to safety?
Father’s Day is fast approaching…does your child have a fun gift for their awesome Dad yet? This homemade goodie bag craft is a special present for them to give, especially since they were not able to make anything at school this year. Gather up some of Dad’s favorite treats, fill up the bag and get ready to create this easy project that any kid would be proud of!
The weather is finally getting nicer, so who is ready for an outside picnic? This activity can take place with your child(ren) in your favorite outdoor or indoor spot. A healthy snack and some bear ears will help transport your child’s imagination for some endless fun! Grab your favorite furry friend and a blanket to set the stage for a delightful afternoon!
Role playing with puppets is an easy way to address issues like telling the truth, as it invites the child to think critically about the situation and how they would resolve it from a neutral perspective.
This morning when Farmer Dan went out to walk the fields, he noticed a ton of carrots popped up through the ground. He was very surprised! But Farmer Dan needs our help counting the leaves on each carrot. Can we help him!?
This fun game is inspired by the fourth floor of the museum – our Farm to Fork Play Zone and our Person Centered Services Community Treehouse! This game will get you up and moving like the animals represented in these play zones!
Sanity Savers: How Would You Feel? Build your Own emoji!
This special “Sanity Saver” blog entry is based on the Living Lab project originally planned to be implemented with our visitors in Spring of 2020. In today’s activity we will have fun while we explore our emotions!
Today we are making popsicle stick picture frames! These can be created to send to any loved one you are really missing right now! You can use a real photo for these frames or draw a picture to put inside.
Have you ever wondered when your child is going to realize you can’t see what they are pointing to because you are in the other room? Do you just wait for the day that your toddler understands that using different pictures can build the same building? Through this activity, caregivers will be able to compare and contrast buildings and talk about why different people sometimes see things differently.
Sanity Savers: Pretend Play Scenarios To Help Your Child Develop Causal Reasoning
The Living Lab is a collaborative project between UB’s Early Childhood Research Center (ECRC) and Explore & More – The Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Children’s Museum. The Living Lab is designed to bring child development research and knowledge directly to you through play-like experiments with your child! Causal reasoning is the ability to identify causality; establishing the idea that a cause always comes before an effect. You can try to test your child’s ability to identify cause and effect relationships within a sequence of events!
On May 20, 1932, Amelia Earhart took off for her solo flight across the Atlantic Ocean! To commemorate this important day in aviation history, I am going to teach you how to make your own glider using very simple materials found around your house!
There is never a better time to start talking with our kiddos about all of the different emotions that they are experiencing, and what is a better way to do it than through a fun game? Creating this fun spinner helps make these conversations more light-hearted and game-like!
Today we are going to be building marble mazes! Think about a time you have done a maze in a coloring book. What sort of things did you see? How many paths to the end were there? Did anything stump you? Now’s your chance to build your own maze!
Now that the weather is getting nicer it’s time to break out the safari vests and binoculars and go on a backyard safari! A perfect scientist to talk about with this subject is Jane Goodall. Goodall is a zoologist that studies social and family interactions of wild chimpanzees. Goodall has studied chimpanzees for over sixty years! Now is your chance to be inspired by Jane Goodall by going on your own wild safari at home!
Today we are going to show you how to make your very own gluten-free snack at home! This delicious treat is made from Cheerios – a product made right here in our back yard at the local General Mills plant.
This activity is an oldie, but a goodie! The color-changing-celery-stalk science experiment can help young learners better understand plant growth and how plants soak up their nutrients in order to survive and thrive.
Sanity Savers: Make a Pinch Pot for the Archaeological Society Anniversary
May 10th marks the 141st anniversary of the American Archaeological Society’s formation. An archaeologist is a person who studies the past by digging up artifacts. Today we are going to make our own artifacts with clay!
Who doesn’t love bubbles?! We sure love them in our house! Sadly, we were currently out of bubble solution. Typically when I make homemade bubbles, I use glycerin but I also do not have that in my house now. At first I thought I was out of luck then I remembered a member family once shared with me that they always use honey in their homemade bubbles so for the first time my family tried replacing glycerin with honey and it worked GREAT! I hope your family enjoys this bubble solution as much as mine did!
Today we are making popsicle stick picture frames! These are another great Mother’s Day gift but can also be created to send to any loved one you are really missing right now! You can use a real photo for these frames or draw a picture to put inside. For our samples, we did both! This lesson is also a great opportunity to address some basic geometry concepts!
Today we are doing a great STEAM project to learn about how oil and water don’t mix. This simple project can be done with all ages – the complexity of the drawing will increase with older children. Since it is May 4th, I decided to do a space theme for this project!
Crafting these gold medals is only half the fun. Parents or bigger siblings can design an at home Olympics to carry out and award. This lesson heavily emphasizes fine motor development as well as promoting physical fitness and exercise.
Sanity Savers: Rainbow City – 119th Anniversary of the Pan Am Exposition
May 1st marks the 119th anniversary to the opening of the Pan-American Exposition located in Buffalo NY. The Pan-Am Expo was a world fair that showcased culture, scientific advancements, and of course electricity!
Today is National Space Day! It is a day to celebrate all that is STEM. The goal of National Space Day is to promote science, technology, engineering, and math to young people and inspire them to follow career paths in STEM. Today we are focusing on space, and in this project we will be creating a Star Jar that will light the night with stars in the comfort of your own home.
Sanity Savers: El Dia del Niño- Make your own One Page Book
April 30th is “El Dia del Niño” or the Day of the Child! This celebration began in Mexico in 1925 and continues to be celebrated to this day! In 1996 libraries, universities and grassroots organizations worked to incorporate literacy and language skills into the celebration of El Dia del Niño. Today we are teaching you how to make your own book in celebration of El Dia del Niño!
Spring is a great time of year to go outside and let your creativity bloom with this fun sidewalk chalk painting activity. Kiddos can help during the making process and then let their imagination soar when it is time to paint!
Have you been on a Bear Hunt yet?! Bear hunts are uniting the community as children and their families search windows near and far for bears waiting to be found. Today we are going to make some binoculars in order to help us find bears! You can use these binoculars for so much more than bear hunts including bird watching, scavenger hunts and anything else you can use your imagination to find!
Fine motor practice is incredibly important for early childhood development. These stations will help develop your child’s fine motor skills. These stations can also be beneficial for a child who is receiving Occupational Therapy (OT) services at school. Fine motor develop is crucial for your child to accomplish daily activities including writing, drawing, feeding themselves, dressing themselves etc.
Sanity Savers: Member Blog – How to Replicate Explore & More at Home
We live close to the museum so we have to pass by fairly often! Charlie doesn’t understand “WHYYYYY…..?” she has to pass by her favorite place but can’t go in. We decided to replicate her favorite Explore & More spots at home!
Here’s a little secret: you can make a basic loom using nothing but cardboard, scissors, and yarn. Follow the steps below for an easy weaving project you can do right at home with your kids. Help them fashion their own coaster, wall hanging, or bracelet while honing their fine motor and math skills!
April 23rd is National Picnic Day! Hopefully it is a nice day in your neighborhood and you are able to have an outdoor picnic with your family today! This tasty sandwich alternative is fun to prepare together and makes a great lunch for your outdoor or indoor picnic!
People participate in Earth Day by cleaning up garbage around their neighborhood, parks, shopping centers etc., planting trees, setting up recycling centers and so much more! This year we are celebrating Earth Day 2020 by doing a fun lesson about planting seeds!
Today is National Library Workers day!! Libraries are a great community resource. The books they keep safe help us learn, foster our imaginations and have the ability to transport us to whole new worlds! Today’s sanity saver is all about writing your own story. Maybe one day you will have a story that everyone can find and read at the local library!
People celebrate Earth Day by planting trees, cleaning up their neighborhood or starting recycling projects! Today, we are encouraging our friends to read the story The Lorax and do this fun activity connected to the story!
Even though we may be missing out on basketball this season, we still can run fun science experiments around basketball. For today’s experiment, we will be building our own catapults and seeing if we can score a basket.
Invented in China centuries ago, tangrams are one of the oldest types of puzzle. With just some paper, scissors, and markers, you can make your own tangram set at home and use it to work out different configurations.
This lesson gives your child the opportunity to create their very own cloud! This activity is fun for both adults and children and can provide an awesome activity that children will marvel at. While doing this activity caregivers can teach their children about clouds and how condensation and rain happens.
Are you looking for a fun activity on a rainy day perhaps? This easy craft made with materials from your home, can help children discover physics principals as they test the different speeds of objects. They will be having so much fun they won’t even realize that they are learning the basics of speed and velocity!
Welcome to Apple City, this is a city that is made completely out of apples. Even cars are made out of apples. Today we will be acting as mechanics to learn how to make our own apple car to zoom around the city.
Looking for something fun and creative to do with all of those left over plastic Easter eggs? Here is a fun lesson to get your kiddos imagination soaring by creating their own musical instruments. This simple activity combines fine motor and sensorimotor skills through a blend of art and music.
Here is a simple recipe for making your own puff paint at home – using things you already have around the house! This recipe can be used to make every color of the rainbow and will add a three dimensional element to any painting project!
Sanity Savers: Dyngus Day Pussy Willow Art Project
Dyngus Day is an immensely popular Polish-American tradition in Buffalo. This celebration occurs annually the day after Easter. Today we are sharing a Pussy Willow craft you can make together to celebrate Dyngus Day from the comfort of your home!
Every Easter in my family we do an activity challenge – these have ranged from art projects, timed puzzle making and cookie decorating. This year I am challenging all of you to a ‘Peep House’ Building Competition!
This activity is based on our winter time tradition of Graham Cracker House building
We all have our favorite Easter or spring time tradition. For many of us it is getting a butter lamb at the Broadway Market. Through this activity you will learn more about the history of the butter lamb and how to make your very own!
In this project, children will create a piggy bank they can use for keeping coins and money. This bank will be creatively decorated and be able to hold actual money. Aside from the actual construction of the piggy bank, children can learn how to count money and place it in their newly created bank all while celebrating one of our favorite farm animals – the pig!
Sanity Savers: Salt Dough Unicorns and Easter Eggs
Today, we are decorating salt dough unicorn ornament. It is national unicorn day and there isn’t a better way to celebrate than making your own unicorn!
Salt dough is a simple recipe with ingredients most of us have in our homes. This recipe can be used to make countless keepsakes including foot or hand-print memories, holiday ornaments or special decorations for your room!
Dying Easter Eggs is a favorite tradition for many across Western New York and the globe. This lesson will teach you and your family a new technique to try out this year! The great thing about this technique is it can be used on real hardboiled or blown eggs AND on paper to have a keepsake that will last a lifetime.
Do you love dinosaurs!? Well, this project is for you. Ralphie the raptor is looking for something fun to do. He would like to build a park just for him. Children will love using their imagination and their STEM skills to build a dinosaur park!
Today we are going to act as geologists. Geologists study what makes up the Earth. The Earth is made up of all sorts of things like soil and rocks! Geologists even study geodes, which are crystalized rocks! This experiment will show you how geodes are formed over time!
Sanity Savers: Bear Snores On – Read-a-loud & Art Activity
Spring has finally arrived and with that animals will begin to come out of hibernation! Hibernation is when an animal sleeps during the cold months when access to food and water sources are limited. Animals like bears, bats, skunks and groundhogs store up on food in the fall and sleep for several weeks or even months until warmer temperatures arrive!
Sanity Savers: All Are Welcome-Read along and Lesson
Diversity, inclusion and empathy are all topics we strive to teach our children. The first Play Zone in our Museum, Being Good Neighbors, is all about teaching these important lessons to our visitors. This at home lesson, targeted at kids PreK-2nd Grade will help children learn to empathize with a child or community member that may be feeling excluded for one reason or another.
Sometimes getting your child to eat a healthy treat can be tricky! This simple, tasty treat is easyto make and will get your little one excited about eating healthy! This protein packed, fruit snack is sure to win over even the pickiest eaters.
Let’s face it we all need to relive a little bit of stress right now – even the kiddos! When our bodies feel stress we tend to clench our muscles. By using a stress ball the repetitive squeeze and release motion leaves the user feeling less stressed!
In this activity the child will not only get to use their imagination and create a colorful cloud, but also create a 3-dimensional cloud that displays two steps of the water cycle condensation (water collecting in the clouds) and precipitation (rain)!
Did you know Buffalo played an integral role in the space race to the Moon? Even some of the rockets the astronauts on the mission to the moon were built right in our backyard. Today we are going to build our very own rockets.
Have your child practice their counting skills while you count and complete the 2020 Census! This fun art project about an octopus will get your child practicing counting, number recognition and fine motor skills.
The current global pandemic, the COVID-19 Virus, is attacking a very important part of our body, our lungs. However, it can be hard for children to understand why lungs are so important and how they function. This simple activity will give children a hands on way of understanding this important concept.
Did you know that newborns and children under 5 are the most underrepresented populations in the census? Accurately counting every member of your household help influence billions of dollars in federal funding that goes to schools, hospitals and other critical community resources.
Sensory play is essential to early childhood learning. This type of play engages the different senses of your child, developing their ability to intake and process different sensory stimulation. When your child is playing in a sensory table, they are also developing new language and practicing fine motor skills.
Indulge in some kitchen travel, making world flags from snack foods and leftovers! You’ll discover flags from around the globe, learn about different sizes, shapes, and colors, and enjoy an international treat.
Sending homemade decorated cards to local nursing home residents will put a smile on their face guaranteed! Any age of child/adult can participate in this activity, so making it a family project could be fun!