Museums with Kids

Museums with Kids

We live about an hour from New York City, which is very lucky. One train ride and we are in the Big Apple! We try to take advantage of this perk whenever possible, although I’ve found that it was actually easier when they were little and didn’t have homework and activities. One of my favorite trips is to the MoMA. I just love this place! If you’ve never had the chance to visit the Museum of Modern Art, I would suggest planning a trip to NYC, pronto.

My kids didn’t used to jump up and down for joy when I mentioned going to a museum, but now they do because I have a museum trick! Well, it’s not really my trick, it’s one that was told to me by a wise friend. You probably already know this trick, but it’s so good that I just had to share.

Here is what you do:

When you get to the museum, go directly to the gift shop. Let your kids chose a handful of postcards that excite them. You can use this time to talk about when the piece was made, the artist’s style and color choice, and anything else that stands out. Then it’s time to go on a search! My kids love this part…finding the real art that matches the postcard. I love it, too!

These pictures are from a few years ago but I remember this day like it was yesterday. After we did our museum search, we went out for lunch at Rockefeller Plaza. They had their backpacks full of little surprises, and we had the day to ourselves…just the girls. When we got home, hot and tired, they taped their postcards to their doors. A little trick they like to do to let everyone who enters know what they have been up to. We still have the postcards, I used them this summer to decorate my studio. Have I mentioned how much I love postcards?

Right now at the MoMA (through 11/5/12) there is a wonderful exhibit called Century of the Child, a survey of 20th century design for children. With over 500 items to look at, this curated show examines the intersection of Modernist design and modern thinking about children. I can’t wait to take all three of them!

Here are some more exciting ways to use museum postcards.

Have fun!



Flubber Recipe

Flubber Recipe

This past weekend was my son’s birthday. He turned six! We broke our own rules of 1) having birthday parties at home and 2) inviting no more than 10 guests. This year he wanted to invite all of the kids in Kindergarten (oy!), no one was to be left out. With so many invitees, we had to come up with a new plan. We decided to rent out the local movie theatre, and make a homemade party favor that wouldn’t cost too much. After some investigation, and many lengthy discussions, we decided to make flubber!

I researched and tried several variations on the recipe. We made 10 batches, each batch filling 4 containers. That’s 40 party favors! I designed a little label which I had printed on sticker paper at my local print shop, color coordinated, of course, and we were done. Moms were happy there was no candy, and my son was happy that he could share something he made himself.

Here is the simple recipe we used:


Mixture 1:

~ 1 1/2 cups very warm water

~ 2 cups white school glue (I used Elmer’s)

~ Food coloring

Combine in a small to medium bowl and stir with a clean spoon.

Mixture 2:

~ 3 teaspoons Borax (you can buy it on Amazon or at the grocery store)

~ 1 cup very warm water

Combine in a large bowl, stir until dissolved (or almost dissolved) with a clean spoon.

Pour mixture 1 into mixture 2. Because of the science behind this recipe, the borax combines with the PVA in the glue and makes a polymer. You could do nothing at this point and it would turn to flubber after a while. But what fun would that be? Your kids will want to stick their hands in immediately and start mixing. It will take about 10 minutes, but eventually all of the water will be absorbed, and you will have flubber!

Since I am an eco-mom, I did some research on Borax. (I had read on a few blogs that it was toxic which freaked me out). Borax (sodium borate) is a mined substance, just like salt is mined, and occurs naturally in the Mojave Desert, Chile and Tibet. Borax is only slightly more toxic than salt, and in some countries it is used as a salt substitute. Caffeine is 14 times more toxic than Borax! Flouride is more toxic, too. Breathing Borax powder is not a good idea, so don’t let your kids handle the powder. But once it is in it’s polymer form, it is completely safe.

Remind your kids that flubber is not a food! Also, just to be safe, have them wash their hands after playing with their flubber.

Tip: Keep your flubber in an airtight container, or a ziploc baggie. it’s shelf life is about 3 weeks. When throwing out your flubber, use the garbage not the sink.