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Contents tagged with family

  • Oh What Fun it is

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    Tags: winter, warm-up, winter activities, family activities, family, public programs, chicago winter

    Created: 12/16/2013      Updated: 8/9/2016

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    Winter is in the air and I couldn’t be happier! I have lived in Chicago my whole life and have learned to embrace this chilly season a long time ago. What’s there not to like? Buildings are lit up for the holidays. Sledding hills and ice skating rinks are open. Everyone looks cozy- bundled up in coats, boots and hats. We drink delicious hot chocolate. What is a prettier sight than a bright red cardinal perched on a snow covered tree? The list is endless.

    Cardinal in snow-covered pine tree

    It is also a season of bustling activity. If you are like me, you spend extra time with your family and friends.I’m always looking for new winter experiences. Here at the Nature Museum we have a great line-up of seasonal activities for all ages.

    Bison sculpture with holiday wreath

    You can complete your gift list at Green Gifting December 21st and 22nd with make and take projects like jar terrariums, natural lip balms and handmade snow globes. Live animal shows like Flying Fox on December 21st and Natures Creatures on December 26th are a great way to escape the cold. We even can help you decide on a New Year’s resolution at our Habitat Conservation Fair where you can meet representatives from area conservation organizations and discover opportunities to become involved.

    Chicago skyline

    I hope that the museum can become part of your seasonal traditions. Enjoy this beautiful city with all the wonder and excitement that winter brings. I have to go now- there’s an ice rink somewhere calling my name!

    Laura Saletta
    Public programs educator

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  • Person Behind the Program: Lily Emerson!

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    Tags: public programs, holiday, tras to treasure, family programs, family, nature, chicago, lincoln park

    Created: 12/10/2013      Updated: 8/9/2016

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    Lily Emerson has been singing, dancing, and leading programs at the Nature Museum since 2009. You can meet Lily this month during the Nature Museum's Trash to Treasure: Sounds of the Season, Thursday, December 26- Saturday, December 28, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

    Lily Emerson

    We decided to ask Lily a few questions so that you can get to know the person behind the program!

    How long have you been working with the Nature Museum? What kinds of programs have you done?

    I've been working at the Nature Museum as a music and movement artist in residence since 2009. It was supposed to be just for the summer of that year, but I loved it so much I asked the education department to keep me on for the next year. And the next. And so on. Now, I create music and movement classes for the summer camp sessions, teach Brilliant Butterflies workshops for schools that come to the museum on field trips, and make puppets and other fun things with folks who come in during each year's Trash to Treasure event. It's a pretty wonderful gig as a freelance teaching artist: I get to combine my love of arts education with my love of nature and environmental education, which quite possibly makes me one of the happiest art-and-nature nerds in the city. 

    We hear that you’re a very busy person! Tell us about the different projects you’re currently working on.

    In addition to my work at the Nature Museum, I'm also a teaching artist with Lookingglass Education and one of the many creatives who work at The Hideout, one of Chicago's most interesting venues, but I spend most of my time working on Adventure Sandwich, a live-action cartoon about imagination, collaboration, creative problem-solving... and cardboard. It's a kids' TV show made without any CGI or green screen. Instead, we build all of our sets, props, and "special effects" out of cardboard and other everyday materials. I could go on and on about Adventure Sandwich, because it's the project I love most of anything I've ever created, but I'll spare you my ramblings and point you instead to the videos and so on at adventuresandwich.org

    What do you have planned for this year’s Trash to Treasure?

    This year, we'll be making puppets, shakers, thank you cards, and more out of gift bags, wrapping paper, wrapping paper tubes, and other odds and ends. Whenever possible, we'll also be creating original stories and acting them out with the puppets we'll be making, which will be a hoot. I have one of my favorite collaborators and fellow music and movement artists, Tara Smith, working with me this year, and I can't wait! 

    Tell us about your favorite animal at the Nature Museum.

    I love the button quails who live in the butterfly haven. They're the most adorable flightless birds I've ever had the pleasure to meet. You don't notice them right away, and can miss them entirely if you're not looking down between the bushes, but if you can pull your gaze away from the butterflies for a moment, you're likely to be charmed by those cute little waddlers, too. 

    Thanks, Lily!

    Heather Grance
    Manager of Public Programs

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  • Supper with the Snakes

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    Tags: family, snakes, halloween, family fun, october

    Created: 10/11/2013      Updated: 8/9/2016

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    A few years ago we began a special halloween event for children called Supper with the Snakes. It is a wonderful opportunity for families to don their Halloween costumes for an extra evening and immerse themselves in all things snake related. We will be hosting our sixth Supper with the Snakes event on Saturday, October 26th from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. You can register online here.

    Visitors touching a snake held by a Museum volunteer



    I sometimes wonder, who finds who more intriguing, the children looking at our beautiful snakes, or the snakes looking at all the children in their Halloween costumes!

    Visitors interacting with a snake


    As well as having al of our snakes on show we offer a whole range of snake related acitivites, including "create a snake" crafts, using all kinds of recycled materials.

    Supper with the Snakes craft table



    Fabulous Face Painting

    Visitor getting their face painted



    and a few other surprises that we like to keep under our hat until the night of the event.

    Dad and son at Supper with the Snakes



    After a delicious pizza dinner we announce the costume prizewinners of the night and present them with their prizes.

    Costume contest winner



    This year we have the added bonus of access to our brand new temporary exhibit "Animal Secrets." Then when all the snakes have been petted, all the activities completed, all the exhibits checked out, and all the pizza has been consumed, a snake related goodie is our parting gift as all the participants leave.

    Gift bags


    SSSSSSSee you on the 26th for Ssssssupper with the Ssssssnakes! Ssssssign up now!

    Celeste Troon, Director of Living Collections

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  • Celebrate Earth Day

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    Tags: Earth Day, family, Gardening

    Created: 4/12/2013      Updated: 8/10/2016

    Spring is finally here and it is a busy time at the Nature Museum!  In April we hear the return of red winged blackbirds and robins, and narrowly dodge the attacks of our favorite pair of Canada geese nesting on the rooftop cactus garden. This time of year also means Earth Day is approaching!

    This will be the third year in a row that we have celebrated Earth Day with the musical talent of Joe Reilly and activities led by our program partner Urban Habitat Chicago.

    Joe Reilly with sunflowers

    Joe Reilly’s Earth Day concert is for families looking to rock out to original nature inspired tunes. Joe’s albums Children of the Earth and Let’s Go Outside are fun, energizing and are a perfect fit for The Nature Museum. Concert attendance grows each yearand we are looking forward to seeing Joe and his groupies again! Registration required.

    Urban Habitat Chicago will help visitors plant green bean seeds. Children will learn about plant care and take their seedling home to watch it grow. We hope that this activity will inspire visitors to create edible gardens at home and in their communities.Free with Nature Museum admission.

    So join us for our annual Earth Day celebration! Families can visit the museum on Saturday, April 20th to partake in all of our festivities. Please visit www.naturemuseum.org or email familyprograms@naturemuseum.org for more information.

    Glenda Gonzalez
    Public Programs Coordinator

     

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  • Nature and Foreign Language

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    Tags: language, family, polish, public programs

    Created: 1/10/2013      Updated: 8/10/2016

    Visit our museum any day of the week and you will hear families speaking Spanish, Polish and other languages. Language helps us develop a sense of belonging and gives us the ability to connect with others. In the same way, the Nature Museum wants every visitor to feel inspired and connected to the natural world. After some time here, the Museum and the bilingual families inspired me to develop a program where bilingual or aspiring bilingual families could acquire familiarity and comfort with nature and learn or build upon a second language. 

    Two years ago I had the pleasure to meet Carolina Legg from Multilingual Chicago. We realized that with combined efforts, we had the opportunity to reach out to bilingual families in a new capacity.  As a result we decided to combine early childhood environmental education and foreign language acquisition into a “Foreign Language Through Nature” program. These programs are presented in Spanish and Polish and are full immersion. During the program, children and caregivers learn new vocabulary while also learning about the natural world. Children are engaged through music, art and animal interactions.

    Polish through Nature Class

    Many children have been enrolled in the programs since we first started. The Nature Museum is now a familiar and comfortable place for them to learn, explore and have fun. Many families have expressed how grateful they are that their children have the opportunity to learn and or practice a second language and become comfortable with the natural environment in unique ways. One of my fondest memories was when a 4-year old enrolled in “Polish Through Nature” counted to ten for the first time in Polish while counting fish that live with our Spiny soft-shelled turtle, Pancake. We were so proud!

    Polish through Nature Class

    In 2013 families will be able to participate a “Mandarin Through Nature” series.  We are excited to share our passion for nature with more families in a culturally meaningful way.  We look forward to seeing you there!

    Glenda Gonzalez
    Public Programs Coordinator

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  • Experiencing Museums with Family

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    Tags: family, education

    Created: 11/22/2012      Updated: 8/10/2016

    One of my fondest childhood memories is of visiting museums with my mother. It was a great girls' day out; riding the train together, having lunch and exploring every corner of whichever Chicago institution we chose to visit for the day. The choice might be made based on the featured exhibits or whatever my interests were at the time.  During one of these outings, we saw an exhibit about Pompeii. My mother prepared me with some facts the night before so that I could better understand the exhibit the next day. I arrived with a connection to the subject matter before I even saw the exhibit.

    Author with a Museum guest

    The Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum is a wonderful institution for families with children of all ages. Between my museum experiences with mother and my employment here, I have learned some great tips to maximize a family museum experience and would love to share them with your family.

    • Discuss general nature subjects with your children before your visit to the museum- animals, ecosystems, green living, etc -- this will help develop a connection with the content you’re about to see.
    • Check out the calendar of events at the museum for the day of your visit. The museum often has extra activities in which your family can participate- many for free. These include crafts, animal interactions and story times.
    • Read the signs in the exhibits. Let the children operate the interactive components. Share the information you learn as a family. There is relatable content for every age in every exhibit.
    •  Give your family enough time to enjoy the exhibits at a comfortable pace and keep the focus on your museum experience the entire time you are here.

    A day at the museum can build memories of family fun and learning experiences for the rest our lives. (Thanks Mom!)

    Laura Saletta
    Public Programs Educator

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