Curious Kids' Discovery Zone

Congratulations to the Boys & Girls Clubs of Benton Harbor!

Congratulations to the Boys & Girls Clubs of Benton Harbor!


Bridgman, Mich., April 22, 2020 – Indiana Michigan Power’s Cook Nuclear Plant “Heart of Cook” grant committee announced today that the Boys and Girls Clubs of Benton Harbor will be the recipient of its first annual $5,000 Earth Day Environmental Grant Award.
The Heart of Cook is a corporate advised fund held by the Berrien Community Foundation that has provided almost $1 million to nonprofit organizations over the last 16 years. However, unlike the traditional Heart of Cook grants that were awarded last week to 35 nonprofit organizations totaling more than $58,000, the new Earth Day Environmental Grant is a single $5,000 award set aside to help fund a program or special project that promotes environmental science, education and sustainability.
“We wanted to introduce this new award in celebration of the 50th Anniversary of Earth Day,” said Blair Zordell, Cook Plant Environmental Specialist and chair of the newly formed Earth Day Environmental Grant Committee. “It just so happened that the Boys & Girls Clubs of Benton Harbor had a fantastic project in mind that brings three organizations together to help give kids an ongoing, hands-on learning experience with nature.”
The project was set to kick off around an Earth Day event which will now be moved forward to a to-be-determined date due to the coronavirus outbreak. The event will include environmental science stations presented by environmental consulting group PhycoTech, Inc. and the Curious Kids’ Museum. Elements from this event will then be incorporated into a permanent water quality exhibit at the CKM Discovery Zone, where grant funds will be used to purchase museum quality, robust microscopes. Funds will also be used for raised garden beds that support the Positive Sprouts project, a BGCBH program where Club members manage gardens to provide fresh produce, apply STEM learning opportunities, and increase their knowledge and awareness of environmental stewardship. Finally, funds will help purchase a trailcam for the newly installed Eagle Scout project that incorporated 11 bird and bat boxes and native shrubs/trees along the back edge of the Boys and Girls Clubs’ Nate Wells campus.
“We’re thrilled to receive the inaugural Heart of Cook Earth Day Environmental Grant despite having to postpone the scheduled Earth Day project,” said Brian Saxton, CEO of the Boys & Girls Club of Benton Harbor. “It’s just a temporary setback, however, because the overall benefits will be long term. The garden provides our younger members experience planting, nurturing, and eventually eating vegetables grown each summer. It’s also one of several on-site locations developing around the Youth Campus as fun, hands-on STEM activities to learn more about plants, soils, and the natural environment.”
The excitement is mutual for the project partners as well, including PhycoTech, Inc. President, Dr. Ann St. Amand, and Curious Kids’ Museum Executive Director, Lori Marciniak.
“I'm so thankful we could install the new metal planters on the Nate Wells Campus for the kids so that they can safely garden for the long term,” St. Amand said. “I'm also excited to be able to help add more permanent STEM learning opportunities not only for just the Boys Girls Club, but the larger community as well through new the Curious Kids’ exhibit. Continuity is key to teaching the natural sciences, and the Heart of Cook Earth Day Environmental Grant will allow us to create permanent activities and projects that we've wanted to do for several years.”
“It’s fantastic being able to collaborate with PhycoTech and the Boys & Girls Clubs,” Marciniak added. “Through the great creativity of Ann’s group, we’ll soon have a new permanent water quality exhibit at the Curious Kids’ Discovery Zone that utilizes kids’ artwork. It will also include museum quality, robust microscopes, appropriate for K-8 level museum goers to use to look at pre-created slides of organisms that can be found in Lake Michigan which is just steps away from the Curious Kids’ Discovery Zone.”
The $5,000 Heart of Cook Earth Day Environmental Grant opportunity will be awarded again in 2021. Other non-profit organizations who want to make a positive impact on our environment will be eligible to apply. Beginning in mid-November, 2020, the grant application will be available through the Berrien Community Foundation website. A team of Cook employees will review the applications, select a winner, and publicly announce the award on Earth Day, 2021.
Successful applicants will demonstrate how they can use the $5,000 grant to benefit the environment or raise environmental awareness. Projects that have STEM involvement and can demonstrate a lasting sustainability component will get special consideration. The grant will be available to organizations in all of the Indiana Michigan Power service territory with preference given to Berrien County, MI.
Indiana Michigan Power (I&M) is headquartered in Fort Wayne, Indiana, and its 2,370 employees serve more than 597,000 customers. More than half of its generation is emission-free, including 2,278 MW of nuclear generation in Michigan, 450 MW of purchased wind generation from Indiana, 22 MW of hydro generation in both states and approximately 15 MW of large-scale solar generation in both states. The company’s generation portfolio also includes 2,600 MW of coal-fueled generation in Indiana. For more information visit or
The goal of the Berrien Community Foundation is to connect needs with resources in our community. Working with individuals, corporations and other foundations, BCF creates endowments and other funds that support the ever-changing needs of Berrien County. For more information about BCF and how you can create your own legacy of giving, visit their website at or call (269) 983-3304.

Curious Kids' Museum

Curious Kids' Museum


A fun experiment - Surface Tension - Drops on a Penny

Surface tension is a force so powerful that it causes a skin to form on the surface of water. It happens because water molecules are strongly attracted to and strongly pull at other water molecules from below and at the surface.

Materials: A penny, a paper towel or piece of wax paper, a cup of water and an eyedropper

Place a penny on a piece of wax paper or a paper towel. Can you predict how many drops of water the penny will hold?Using an eyedropper, count the drops of water as you place them on the penny with the eyedropper. Do you see a bulge of water form on the penny? Does it make a difference "where" you drop the water on the penny? What is the most drops of water you can get to fit before the water "spills" off? How close was it to your prediction? Make another prediction and try again!
Other things to consider, why are some pennies shiny, and some are dull? Which one do you think would hold more water? Try it on different pennies!
After using a penny for this experiment, your child might like to try other coins and see which can hold the highest number of drops of water. Ask your child to predict which coin will hold the most, then try it out!

To investigate water’s surface tension further, invite your child to experiment with water droplets on the wax paper. Your child can drip water onto the paper then suck the droplets back up with the eyedropper, drag them around the wax paper to combine, and make tiny droplets by just touching the paper with the dropper. You might also try adding drops of water to a paper towel. Ask your child why he or she thinks the water droplets behave differently on the two different surfaces/pieces of paper.

Curious Kids' Museum

Curious Kids' Museum


Exhibit: BEAM Floor Projector at Curious Kids' Discovery Zone

Book: Chicken Clicking by Jeanne Willis, available in book and on YouTube.

Activity 1: LEGO Coding Activities
Materials: LEGOS!
Level 1 Coding: Coding is the foundation of computers, and here’s a fun, basic beginning to coding: sorting LEGOs by color. Once mastered, code/sort by size. And for more of a challenge, try coding/sorting by both color and size!
Level 2 Coding: Next is patterning, also essential to coding: ABAB, ABCABC, ABACABAC, and/or create your own pattern! Older siblings can get in on the fun to assist or teach by making the patterns!

Activity 2: Banana, Banana, Meatball GoNoodle
Materials: YouTube
Insert the above into YouTube and move and groove to the patterns!
Activity 3: Clap It Out! GoNoodle
Materials per craft: YouTube
Insert the above into YouTube and discover the syllable patterns in words as you move!

Curious Kids' Museum

Curious Kids' Museum


Exhibit: Climbing Lighthouse Tower at Curious Kids' Discovery Zone
Our CKDZ Lighthouse is a great place to get some exercise while climbing. Hopefully you are all getting outside in your yard for fresh air and exercise between your e-learning lessons from school! Today’s book suggestion is a Caldecott Award winning book (an award for best picture book) and a great read aloud.
Book: Hello Lighthouse by Sophie Blackall, available in book and on YouTube.

Activity 1: Build Your Own Tower
Materials: apple pieces or marshmallows, toothpicks, and a paper plate. A great STEM activity! Precut apple into small pieces, approximately ½ inch x ½ inch. Stick toothpicks on each side, grab another apple piece and stick on the end of a toothpick, and slowly construct shapes and towers. Can also use marshmallows!
Who can build the tallest tower? The longest? The coolest shape?

Activity 2: Mini Lighthouse
Materials: Red solo cup, small clear solo cup, white duct tape, black paper, glue, and a battery-operated tea light.
A simple craft that can light over and over. It may even turn into a night light. Use the attached picture for reference, use the white duct tape to make/tape stripes on the red solo cup. Cut squares and rectangles out of the black paper and glue or tape on as doors and windows. Turn the cup upside down and tape the tea light onto the bottom (now the top). Set the clear cup over the top!

Activity 3: Lighthouse Art for Kids - Easy Peasy and Fun
Materials per craft: toilet paper roll, white paper, paint or markers in colors blue, yellow, red, and white, black marker, glue, scissors, and a pencil.
Step by step tutorial available here

Curious Kids' Museum

Curious Kids' Museum


Let's make "Liquid Lasagna"!

Liquid Lasagna - What do you think will happen if you pour honey, water and cooking oil into a jar? If you think you'll end up with a disgusting oil-watery-sweet mess, then prepare to be surprised!

What you will need: 1/2 cup honey, molasses, or syrup, 1/2 cup cooking oil, clear glass or plastic pint jar, measuring cup with pouring edge/spout, spoon.

1. Pour the honey into the jar.
2. Now slowly pour the water on top of the honey. To slow the flow, pour the water against the back side of a spoon. The water should float on top of the honey.
3. In the same way, trickle the oil on top of the water.
4. Check out the results. Why do you think the concoction is called Liquid Lasagna?
The Principle of this: Liquid Lasagna shows that liquids have different densities. To compare liquid density, fill 3 small paper cups with exactly the same amount of honey, water and vegetable oil, making them all have the same volume. Now compare their densities by weighing each cup on a kitchen scale (or just pick them up). Which cup of liquid is the heaviest or most dense? Remember, each liquid takes up the same volume, but their weights vary. How do the densities of the liquids compare with their stacking order in the jar? Heavy honey on the bottom, oil on the top...ah-ha!

Southwestern Michigan Tourist Council


These times are uncertain. But one thing's for sure: when it's safe to get out and to get back to normal life, we will still be here.

Our sunsets will not change. Our harvest, still sweet. There will again be a time where you can get out and enjoy all Southwest Michigan has to offer.

We will see you soon.

Curious Kids' Museum

Curious Kids' Museum


Fun "recipes":

Slime - Edible pudding slime made with only three ingredients!
Prep time: 5 minutes
Knead time: 5 minutes
Ingredients: 1/4 cup instant pudding any flavor, 1 cup cornstarch, 1/3 cup warm water
Instructions: Add instant pudding mix and half of your cornstarch to a mixing bowl. Add 1/3 cup warm water and stir until slime begins to form. Slowly add the rest of the cornstarch, stirring as you go. When slime becomes difficult to stir with a spoon, finish mixing/kneading by hand. If slime is still sticky, add more cornstarch - if slime is too thick, add more liquid - until you have the perfect texture.

Homemade Dough
Mix, Knead, Sculpt
Ingredients: 1 cup cornstarch, 2 cups baking soda, 1 1/4 cups cold water
Kitchen tools: saucepan, measuring cups, pot holder, wooden spoon, bowl and damp cloth
1. Mix the cornstarch and the baking soda in a saucepan. Then add the water and stir with a wooden spoon until the mixture is smooth.
2. ADULT assistance with this step. Cook mixture over medium heat until the mixture looks like mashed potatoes.
3. Spoon the dough into a bowl. Cover with a damp cloth until the dough is cool enough to handle, about 30 minutes.
4. Make cool stuff!

Curious Kids' Museum

Curious Kids' Museum

Exhibit: Bubble Chamber
Our iconic Bubble Chamber has been part of CKM since we opened in 1989!
Read the books: The Bubble Factory by Tommie dePaola and Bubble Bubble by Mercer Mayer. If you don’t have either book, just search for them on YouTube.

Activity 1: Easy Bubble Solution to Make at Home
Materials: Dish detergent (Palmolive, Dawn, and Joy work best), light corn syrup, water.
Measure 6 cups of water. Gently stir in 1 cup of dish soap and ¼ cup light corn syrup. Voila! Your solution is ready to use with a straw or your own bubble wand. If you have 2 pipe cleaners, create a shape with one and attach the other pipe cleaner as the wand. The bubble solution is best when it sets overnight.

Activity 2: Build with Bubbles
Materials: Dish soap, water, plastic or vinyl tablecloth.
Using a large pot or bowl, pour in dish soap with running water. Skim off the bubbles, dump the bubbles on a table, and play! What better time to clean waterproof toys than in the bubbles! Try Legos or small plastic toys and your child will play in the bubbles and clean some toys!

Activity 3: Writing in Shaving Cream!
Materials: shaving cream!
Shaving cream is another version of soap/bubbles, and is a great sensory/tactile way to practice numbers or letters! Clear a table space, put a large dollop of shaving cream before your child. Smooth out the shaving cream into a large rectangle, being careful not to spread too thin. Then using a finger, your child can “write” spelling words, practice math facts, or just create pictures! Remove with water and paper towels. FYI: It leaves the room smelling fantastic and is an excellent surface cleaning agent!

Curious Kids' Museum

Curious Kids' Museum

A simple science experiment: The Ringing Spoon - create a sound amplifying device.
Materials: a large metal spoon or a wire coat hanger, thread (about four feet)
Procedure: cut two, two-foot lengths of thread. Tie both lengths of thread to the handle of a big metal spoon (or the top part of a metal hanger). Put the two ends of the strings on the tips of your two pointer fingers and put them into your ears along with the string. As the spoon or hanger is hanging in front of you, knock it into the edge of a table to produce a “gong” sound.
The spoon, when it hits a surface, begins to vibrate. That’s what causes the air to vibrate and produce “sound” in our ears. When we attach the strings to this and put them straight into your ears, the sound waves travel directly along the string and are brought directly into your ears. Sound travels better through a solid (like the spoon and string) than through the air.

Curious Kids' Museum

Curious Kids' Museum

We miss you all, so we'd like to bring some stories, experiments, crafts and fun to you! Our first one is inspired by our Appleland/Farmer's Market exhibit!

As anyone who has been to Curious Kids’ Museum knows, our apple orchard is a must-experience exhibit stop! Originating in 1993, it underwent a renovation-transformation in 2017 to a Farmers’ Market. So, since you can’t be here now, here’s a couple fun things to do at home . . .

Read the book: Ten Apples Up on Top! By Dr. Seuss. If you don’t have the book, just search for it on YouTube and someone will read (or sing!) it to you.

Activity 1: Little Apple Art Project
Materials: paper plates; red, green, and brown construction paper; glue.
Tear red paper into small pieces and glue each piece to the plate. Continue until it is filled with red. Do the same with a small amount of brown in the place of a stem. Then follow up with enough torn green paper to make a leaf to the right of left of stem.

Activity 2: Counting Activity for Preschoolers
Materials: paper, crayons, glue or tape.
Create 10 apple-rounded circles, number each one 1-10, color, and cut out. Then scramble the order, have your child finds #1 and place at the bottom edge of table. Find #2, place on top of #1, and continue until you have all “10 apples up on top!” Can you do reverse order and count down from 10?

Activity 3: Name Hunt
Materials: paper, crayons, glue or tape.
Start by drawing the face of one of the animals from the cover of the book: lion, tiger, or dog on the bottom of a page. Then write each child’s name above its head (up to 10 names - you can make them for cousins, neighbors or classmates names if you need more names), leaving space between each name. Using a separate piece of paper, draw several apples: at least one for each child listed on the other paper. Cut out and write names on each apple, color the apples, and color the animal face. Hide the “apples” around the house. Kids hunt for the paper apples and affix to the same name spot on top of the animal’s head to create Ten Apples Up on Top!


333 Broad St
Saint Joseph, MI

Opening Hours

Thursday 16:00 - 20:30
Friday 11:00 - 17:00
Saturday 11:00 - 17:00
Sunday 12:00 - 17:00


(269) 983-2543


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We’re delighted to inform you that Curious Kids Discovery Zone has been selected as one of the best Educational Activities for Children in Michigan by Best of AmericanTowns, a property of AmericanTowns Media! Here is the link to the page: For over 15 years, AmericanTowns Media has been the leader in highlighting the incredible work of great local organizations and initiatives. Best of AmericanTowns offers the most interesting and unique places in America right to the fingertips of the user with the opportunity to browse the best places to eat, live, and visit. We are happy to spotlight the excellence you’ve achieved in your work and hope you’ll share this with your followers on Facebook and tag us @bestofamericantowns! #travelfreely