Sanity Savers

Sanity Savers are Explore & More’s at-home guide for bringing PLAY based education right into your very own home!

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!

Sanity Savers: Craft Stick Picture Frames

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.

Sanity Savers: Can you build it this way?

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!

Sanity Savers: Amelia Earhart Glider

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!

Sanity Savers: Emotional Development Game

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!

Sanity Savers: Roller Coaster Wall

One of my favorite things to do at Explore & More is use the rollercoaster wall. I miss it so much that I decided to build my own! Here are the steps to build a rollercoaster wall.

Sanity Savers: Amazing Marble Mazes

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!

Sanity Savers: Wind Powered Cars

In honor of STEM Saturday, we’re learning how to make Wind Powered Cars and then we can have a fun race!

Sanity Savers: Sky Painting

What better way to get excited for summer than to get your hands dirty drawing your own rainbow and sunshine!

Sanity Savers: Zoo Safari at Home

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!

Sanity Savers: Cheerio Bars

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.

Sanity Savers: Colorful Celery

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!

Sanity Savers: Bubble Solution

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!

Sanity Savers: Egg Carton Flowers

This art project will repurposed old egg cartons into a beautiful bouquet of flowers that can be put on displays for the entire house to see or given as a beautiful Mother’s Day gift!

Sanity Savers: Craft Stick Picture Frames

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!

Sanity Savers: Tissue Paper Vase

We have another fun art project today that can be used as a wonderful Mother’s Day gift!

Sanity Savers: Papel Picado (Mexican Fiesta Banner)

Hoy, ¡te vamos a enseñar como hacer una versión simplificada de una banderola de papel picado papa celebrar la belleza de la cultura mexicana!

Sanity Savers: Crayon Resist Space Painting

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!

Sanity Savers: Olympic Games and Medal Craft

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!

Sanity Savers: Star Jars

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!

Sanity Savers: Sidewalk Chalk Paint

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!

Sanity Savers: Tie Dye Snail Shell

This Tie Dye snail shell is a great opportunity to practice fine motor development, explore color mixing and understand the science concept of diffusion.

Sanity Savers: Binoculars for a Bear Hunt

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!

Sanity Savers: Fine Motor Practice Stations

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!

Sanity Savers: Cardboard Weaving Looms

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!

Sanity Savers: Skewer “Sandwich”

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!

Sanity Savers: Seed Bombs

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!

Sanity Savers: Write Your Own Story

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!

Sanity Savers: Truffula Trees Puffy Paint

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!

Sanity Savers: Catapult

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.

Sanity Savers: Tangrams

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.

Sanity Savers: Cloud in a Jar

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.

Sanity Savers: Cereal Box Ramps

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!

Sanity Savers: Ski Challenge

Relive the joys of skiing, even when we can’t go outside and play in the snow with the fun, at home activity!

Sanity Savers: Apple Cars

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.

Sanity Savers: Plastic Egg Maracas

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.

Sanity Savers: Cave Paintings

Cave Paintings are a prehistoric art. Today we’re going to create our own cave paintings, right at home!

Sanity Savers: Puff Paint

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!

Sanity Savers: Pretzel Structures

Pretzel Towers are a great way to combine learning and everyone’s favorite time, snack time!

Sanity Savers: Peep Houses

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

Sanity Saver: Shake Your Own Butter

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!

Sanity Savers: Make Your Own Piggy Bank

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!

Sanity Savers: Shaving Cream Easter Eggs

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.

Sanity Savers: Recycle Creations – Dinosaur Park

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!

Sanity Savers: Egg Geodes

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: Finding a Rainbow

We are here for a fun rainbow-themed activity that you can do inside or outside. Use our guided indoor and/or outdoor scavenger hunt worksheets to go on a quest to find a rainbow!!

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.

Sanity Savers: Pop Up Cards

Nothing is more special than a home made card, except maybe a home made pop up card! Teach your kiddos how to make their very own pop-up cards for hours of fun and endless memories!

Sanity Savers: Spin to Spell Eggs

Do all those vocabulary worksheets seem overwhelming right now? Looking for a fun way to engage your child in spelling practice?
Try out these spin to spell eggs.

Sanity Savers: Monster Apple Snack

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.

Sanity Savers: DIY Stress Balls

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!

Sanity Savers : Yard Obstacle Course

Who doesn’t love an obstacle course? There are endless ways to have fun & learn while having a good old competition and a little exercise!

Sanity Savers: Driveway Game

What better way to practice your motor skills than playing outside in the fresh air with friends!

Sanity Savers: Raining Cloud

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)!

Sanity Savers: Zipline Rockets

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.

Sanity Savers: Octopus Counting

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.

Sanity Savers: Paper Bag Lungs

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.

Sanity Savers: Community Helpers need YOUR help

These activities will help your child understand the important roles of different community helpers and how YOU can help them by participating in the 2020 Decennial Census!

Sanity Savers: Who Lives in my Home?

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.

Sanity Savers: Shaving Cream Sight Words

Practicing sight words and spelling words doesn’t have to be a routine task just to check off your homeschooling to-do list. Here’s a fun and creative way to make it fresh and fun!

Sanity Savers: Paper Strip Art

Creating unique cards & paper art can ignite your child’s imagination! Have fun creating your paper art and then send it off to relatives and friends to brighten everyone’s day!

Sanity Savers: Play Writing

This activity, inspired by the famous play King Lear by William Shakespeare, is perfect for your upper elementary students to get creative and have fun while building up their literacy skills!

Sanity Savers: Sensory Tables

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.

Sanity Savers: King/Queen for a Day

Let your child’s imagination run wild while they are King or Queen for the day! Help them create their very own crown and castle!

Sanity Savers: World Flag Snacks

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.

Sanity Savers: Easy Block Prints

Here are some simple block printing methods you can try at home, using everyday materials to stamp your own patterns and designs!

Sanity Savers: Planting Seeds from the Fruit you Eat

Watching seeds sprout and grow is one of the most fascinating things you can do with your kids. Especially if the seeds came from their snack!

Sanity Savers: Nursing Home Mail

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!

Sanity Savers: How to Make Homemade Modeling Dough

We all love to play with modeling dough, what better way to learn about science than to make your own dough! Then play for hours with your creation!

Sanity Savers: Worry Dolls

These are emotional times for children, who may be upset or confused about why we are all staying home. To help, we pulled out a soothing craft, making “worry dolls” from materials around the house.

Sanity Savers: Space Paintings

When scientists take pictures of outer space, color is added to better understand what they’re seeing. We will show you how to make your own Space Painting.

Sanity Savers: Recycled Creations – Invent a Game!

Everyone loves playing games! Now is your chance to invent your own game out of the materials you find at home.

Sanity Savers: Lava Lamps

What’s more fun than creating your own lava lamp? A couple ingredients from around the house will have your kiddos enthralled for hours!

Sanity Savers: Paper Bag Piñatas

Piñatas are commonly associated with Mexican birthday parties, but they have a rich history that is hundreds of years old. Gather the ninos & get swinging!

Sanity Savers: Architect Shapes

Teach your child the imaginative world of architecture by turning paper into crazy fun shapes!

Sanity Savers: Making Germs Scatter

Teach your children the importance of hand washing with soap and water through this fun and easy experiment. It’s like magic!

Sanity Savers: Dyed Rice

Have fun while teaching children about primary and secondary colors! The rice can be used for other activities and projects!

Sanity Savers: Leprechaun Trap

This St. Patrick’s Day sit down with your child and tap into their imagination by building a leprechaun trap by using found supplies around your house!

Sanity Savers: Walking Rainbow

Gather your little leprechauns and get ready to find the treasure at the end of our WALKING RAINBOW!