Curious Kids' Museum

Curious Kids' Museum Curious Kids' Museum AND Discovery Zone Where everyone plays as they learn! Curious Kids' Museum has "TWO" locations.

The museum on the Bluff caters to younger children, infants to about 10 years old. Discovery Zone is located below the Bluff. Discovery Zone has a climbing wall, water table exhibits, walk on water exhibit, and a traveling exhibit gallery.

Temporarily closed

#museumtoyou String Obstacle Course  to Find the Number Bonds to 10. If number bonds is a new term for you,  let us expl...


String Obstacle Course to Find the Number Bonds to 10.

If number bonds is a new term for you, let us explain.

Basically, it is a math addition fact. What are all the number pairs that equal 10? 1+9, 2+8, 3+7, 6+4, 5+5 (and backwards). Those are the number bonds of the number 10.

We love "move and learn" activities - we like to combine learning math or sight words or other facts with a gross motor activity whenever possible. So we're going to combine this with an obstacle course that you can make with string.

If your kids are not old enough to understand or work on number bonds, have them do the string obstacle course to find matching numbers.

We used a deck of cards for the numbers. But sticky notes, or index cards would work the same if you want to try higher numbers.

Before doing the activity with the kids, you have to first set it up quickly. You can see in the pictures they wove string back and forth between a hallway of chairs. But you can also tape the string to hallway walls (use painter's tape!). You can keep the string low to the ground and mostly all at the same level, or if you tape it to the wall you can go up and down.

The string setup reminds us of the tire courses that football players use to step through. This has the same concept. Your kids will step through the string obstacle course.

You can set this up with both the matching numbers and the number bonds (one on each side), or just one or the other, depending on how many kids will be doing it, and their ages. Clip cards/numbers from a deck of cards (or index cards) onto the string using clothespins.

For littler kiddos, make sure to have a match of each card for them to find. We set up two fours, two twos, two fives and so on.

For a bit older child, set up cards/numbers to make number bonds to 10. If they choose a number, 4 for example, they need to find the matching number bond, 6, as they step through the course.

You can tape lines on the floor at the end of the course where the children can put their matches when they get to the end of the course, each time. Have them take turns going through the course. For us, though, eventually they get antsy to go, go, go, and they'll end up going at the same time.

The older ones will choose their number to begin with and looked to find the number bond match.

The littler ones will choose a number and find a more basic number match (perfect for a preschooler learning their numbers).

This activity has so much going on! It will definitely be a hit.
- Older kids will practice number bonds to 10.
- Little ones will practice matching and recognizing numbers.
- All of them will get up and moving working on gross motor skills.
- All of them will work on fine motor skills with the clothespins.
- And all will have smiles and fun doing it!
We call that a winner of an activity!

#museumtoyou Candy Cane Goo (Oobleck)Sadly, this doesn’t have candy canes in it, but the good news is that it does have ...


Candy Cane Goo (Oobleck)

Sadly, this doesn’t have candy canes in it, but the good news is that it does have stuff you already have around the house. What’s really cool is that it is educational - for the little ones, it is a sensory item; for the older kids, it is still fun to play with and they get the science details to go along with. Very neat!

- Cornstarch
- Water
- Peppermint extract
- Red food coloring

We made up two batches of goo, one just normally with the cornstarch and water, and a smaller amount to which we added red food coloring, then swirled them together with a very small amount of the peppermint extract. The peppermint smell was lovely and definitely made us feel in the holiday spirit.

• Pour one cup of cornstarch into a mixing bowl, and dip your hands into it. Can you feel how smooth the powder is? It's made up of super-fine particles.
• Now pour some water in (you should only need 1 cup or less of water), mixing slowly as you go. Keep adding more water until the mixture becomes thick (and hardens when you tap on it). Add more cornstarch if it gets too runny, and more water if it becomes too thick.
• Add a few drops of food coloring (and extract) if desired. (If you want to turn your Oobleck another hue, it’s easier to add the coloring to the water before you mix it with the cornstarch.)
• Oobleck is non-toxic, but please use caution when doing any science activity. Be careful not to get it in your eyes, and wash your hands after handling the Oobleck. And always be careful when adding food coloring - it could stain clothing and fingers!

• Roll up your sleeves and prepare to get messy! Drop your hands quickly into the Oobleck, then slowly lower your hands into it. Notice the difference!
• Hold a handful in your open palm—what happens?
• Try squeezing it in your fist or rolling it between your hands—how does it behave differently?
• Move your fingers through the mixture slowly, then try moving them faster.
• What else can you do to test the mixture's properties?

Did you notice that if you make a ball with the goo it is solid, but if you drop it on the floor it turns liquid again? Applying pressure to the mixture increases its viscosity (thickness). A quick tap on the surface of Oobleck will make it feel hard, because it forces the cornstarch particles together. But dip your hand slowly into the mix, and see what happens—your fingers slide in as easily as through water. Moving slowly gives the cornstarch particles time to move out of the way.

Oobleck and other pressure-dependent substances (such as Silly Putty and quicksand) are not liquids such as water or oil. They are known as non-Newtonian fluids. This substance's funny name comes from a Dr. Seuss book called Bartholomew and the Oobleck.

#museumtoyou Coffee Filter SnowflakesThese coffee filter snowflakes are such a fun craft to make on a cold or snowy wint...


Coffee Filter Snowflakes

These coffee filter snowflakes are such a fun craft to make on a cold or snowy winter day! They’re really easy to make, they look gorgeous hanging in the window (or anywhere!) and it’s a great opportunity for kids to experiment with color blending. It’s a craft and science experiment mixed together in one – and it ends up looking beautiful!

How to Make Coffee Filter Snowflakes
This craft is so perfect for a cold winter day!
- coffee filters
- washable markers (need to be washable)
- water
- an eye dropper or small measuring spoon

Check the dollar store for coffee filters. The coffee filter size doesn’t really matter, but we used the smaller size meant for 4 to 6 cup coffee makers. (The larger size might look too big hanging in the window?)

We recommend giving each child a cookie sheet to color their coffee filter on. It really helps contain the mess!

We chose wintery colors for our snowflakes – blues, purples and pinks and they ended up looking SO PRETTY! You can of course use whatever colors you like, but the winter colors really do make them look beautiful.

Since the colors are going to blend, it really doesn’t matter what you draw onto the coffee filters. Just keep in mind that the more marker you use to cover the coffee filter (less white space is better), the brighter the color will be when you’re done. Darker marker colors work great, too!

You can see how the patterns changed before and after adding water/drying in the attached photos.

After drawing patterns and pictures on the coffee filters, use an eye dropper (a small measuring spoon will also work) to drip water onto the coffee filters.

You want the entire coffee filter to be wet. Just make sure it’s not “swimming” in a giant pool of water or it will take forever to dry! We normally like to take our coffee filters out into the sunshine to dry, but since we've entered "gray season" in Michigan, that may not be an option.

How to Dry Coffee Filters
You have two choices:
1. You can leave them overnight to dry (or longer if they are really wet).
2. We figured out that you can put them in the oven to dry! (It saves sooooooooo much waiting time!). But it will only work if your oven will heat to a super low temperature. We dried some in the oven at 115F and it only took about half an hour (we tried a second time at 120F and it only took 20 minutes). DO NOT dry them at an oven temperature much higher than mother nature would give you outdoors. Keep an eye on them and take them out of the oven as soon as they are dry so the edges don’t curl up too much.

Once they are completely dry – and it’s important that they are completely dry or your fingers will get really messy – you can fold them into a triangle to make the snowflake pattern.

How to Fold the Coffee Filters
See the photo attached:
1. Fold the coffee filter in half.
2. Fold the right corner of the coffee filter to the left so that it is 1/3 of the way over.
3. Fold the left corner of the coffee filter so that the edges line up on the right. (If you open it up to check, you should have perfect thirds.)
4. Fold the coffee filter in half one last time.
This method of folding will give you a snowflake with 6 points. Did you know that all snowflakes have 6 points!?

If it’s too tricky for your little ones to get the edges to line up, you can follow a similar method, but simply fold the coffee filter in half 4 times. This will give you a snowflake with 8 edges. Perhaps not as scientifically accurate, but easier for kids to fold and still beautiful.

Next cut out the pieces from your folded coffee filters to make your snowflakes! It’s always a surprise when you open them up to see the beautiful patterns you’ve made!!

On a side note, after you open up your snowflakes, you can iron them between two sheets of parchment paper using the lowest iron setting, just so they’ll lie flat, if you want/need to.

Be creative with the patterns you choose! You can cut half circles, half hearts, half diamonds, half tear drops, and all sorts of other shapes to make a beautiful snowflake! When you cut the tip off, it will give you a hole in the center.

Attached are photos of what some snowflakes looked like before and after opening them up. So pretty!

How beautiful are these coffee filter snowflakes!? They make us smile just looking at them!

#museumtoyou Experiment: How do snowshoes work? Do big paws help in the snow?The Canada lynx, which lives in the colder ...


Experiment: How do snowshoes work? Do big paws help in the snow?

The Canada lynx, which lives in the colder parts of North America, has large furry paws that make it easier to walk on the snow. In fact, almost all of the animals that live in cold and snowy climates have big paws, and there's a reason for that! This experiment will show your little ones why, and how snowshoes (or big paws!) help in the snow.

Materials Needed:
- A plastic toy animal – any type of animal will work! If you have a big cat, that’s great, but any animal with four legs will be just fine.
- Tape
- Scissors
- Cardboard – a cereal box works well
- A shallow dish
- Flour

Step 1: Fill a shallow dish with an inch or two of flour. Pour the flour in, but be careful not to pack it down. Then, place your animal in the “snow” (flour) to see how deep his footprints will be. Don’t push the animal down. Just set it in the snow.

Check out the attached picture...hmm, those footprints are pretty deep.

Now try pushing the animal into the snow. It will be very easy to push his feet way into the snow!

Step 2: Now it’s time to make your plastic animal some snowshoes (or bigger paws)! Cut out a cardboard circle to go under each paw. Make them quite a bit larger than the animal’s paws. Attach each “snowshoe” to a paw with a loop of clear tape.

Step 3: Then it’s time to see what effect the snowshoes have on how much the animal sinks down into the snow. Use a spoon to stir the flour and fluff it back up the way it was at the beginning. Then place your animal in the flour again, with his snowshoes on this time.

It’s amazing how much difference the snowshoes make! Your animal should not sink into the snow much at all.

It’s very interesting to try pushing down on the toy animal with his snowshoes on. Even if you push, you can’t really get him to sink down very far. There is obvious resistance when you try to push him into the “snow.”

Why does this snowshoe science experiment work?
If you’ve ever tried to walk through deep powdery snow, you know that it requires a LOT of energy to keep lifting your feet out of the snow! If the snow is deep enough, it can even be dangerous. Snowshoes keep you from sinking into the snow with each step by spreading your body weight out across a larger surface area. With the weight distributed across a larger area, the snow is able to hold you up. Your body puts less mass per square inch on the snow. You’re still the same mass, of course, but it’s spread out over more square inches.

Animals such as the Canada Lynx benefit from wide paws that distribute their weight over the snow just like man-made snowshoes do!

#museumtoyou Are Mittens Warm?We love to combine science and picture books! Here is an interesting science experiment yo...


Are Mittens Warm?

We love to combine science and picture books!

Here is an interesting science experiment you can try with your little ones. First, read the book "The Mitten" by Jan Brett. If you do not have a copy, you can search for a video of it being read online. Then, ask your child/children why all the animals wanted in the mitten. Let them hypothesize about whether or not mittens are warm...and then let's find out!

Your child will need to find the room, plain mitten, and hand in mitten temperatures. When they begin to look at and analyze the data be prepared for lots of questions because mittens are NOT warm. Body temperature creates the heat, and the mitten traps the heat. This will come as a surprise to most children.

Materials needed:
- mittens (you could get a few different thicknesses at the dollar store for further experimentation)
- thermometer (also should be available at the dollar store if you do not have one)
- timer

1. Find the room temperature. Place the thermometer on your table/work surface for two
minutes. Record the temperature.
2. Place the thermometer in an empty mitten for two minutes. Record the temperature.
3. Have your child put their hand in a mitten. Place a thermometer inside the mitten with their hand. After two minutes record the temperature.
4. Look at all three temperatures that you recorded. Discuss the data and differences.

How did the data support the hypothesis? Or not? Are mittens warm?

#museumtoyou Winter Math CraftsWelcome winter with these fun projects that combine math and art!1. Snowman MeasuringPrac...


Winter Math Crafts

Welcome winter with these fun projects that combine math and art!

1. Snowman Measuring
Practice measuring by constructing a paper snowman! Encourage your kids to come up with their own measurements or give them specific measurements to follow – it’s up to you!
- This is a fun way to introduce a drawing compass, to teach little ones how to get specific size circles.
- We also like non-traditional measuring methods, for instance, instead of a certain size circle in inches, could you make the snowman's head 3 pennies wide, and his middle circle 6 pennies wide and his bottom circle 9 pennies wide? Or use marshmallows or beans or Legos to measure!

2. Snowflake Geometry
Create popsicle stick snowflakes and find hidden angles and shapes within them!
a. Start by having your little ones create their very own angle finders using popsicle sticks (see picture). Each child will need 6 sticks to craft three angles: right, acute, and obtuse.
b. Next, go around the house hunting for angles. Look at analog clock hands, space in between their fingers, tables (legs and edges), the corner of a book, tiles on the floor, the corners of a room, even check out the letters of the alphabet in their names! Then, have them check it out with their angle finder.
c. Now have them create snowflake shapes with popsicle sticks and find angles and shapes hidden in them!

#museumtoyou Corner Polar Bear BookmarkAs the weather here in Michigan starts to get colder and gloomier, reading become...


Corner Polar Bear Bookmark

As the weather here in Michigan starts to get colder and gloomier, reading becomes a more frequent activity for many of us with our little ones. Here's a fun craft activity that is super useful - a polar bear corner bookmark!

Simple Polar Bear Origami Bookmark – Materials:
- A square white piece of paper (we usually cut down a sheet of printer paper into a square)
- Pens
- A little contrasting color of paper (optional)
- Glue
- Scissors

How to make a Polar Bear Corner Bookmark:
- First you will have to make your basic Origami Bookmark (see photos for step by step directions).
1. Create a square from rectangular paper.
a. Take your A5 sheet of paper and fold over one corner to create a triangle.
b. Cut off the excess and rotate your triangle so the long edge is at the bottom and the right angle faces up.
2. Fold the lower right corner up to meet the top right angled corner.
3. Repeat for the left side.
4. Fold these two back open.
5. Flip down ONE of the top sheets and crease.
6. Now fold the flaps you created back up and tuck INTO your bookmark.
7. Repeat for the other side
8. Congratulations, you have just created your basic Origami Corner Bookmark!
9. Once you have made your basic bookmark corner, take your scissors and round off all your corners (you don’t HAVE to do this.. but we think it is nice).
10. Out of the contrasting color paper (if you are using it), cut out an oval for a “mouth piece” and two ears.
11. Add details to your ears and mouth and glue them in place. If you are using contrasting colors for the mouth piece (e.g. in our case light blue paper) you can also use that to decorate the inside of the ears.
12. Once these parts are completed, you can draw on your Polar Bear’s eyes and some paws.

That is it.. that is how quick and easy it is to make a Polar Bear Corner Bookmark!! Enjoy.


415 Lake Boulevard (2) Locations 333 Broad St
Saint Joseph, MI


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