DuPage Children's Museum develops online activities for kids and parents
The DuPage Children's Museum in Naperville is temporarily closed because of the coronavirus pandemic. So the museum has bumped up its online content to help out families while they're isolating at home.
"Our goal is to provide mission-driven content or activities that can bring families joy during this super-stressful time," said DuPage Children's Museum public programs manager Cassie Coffey.
Exhibits and programs at the DuPage Children's Museum are inspired by STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Manufacturing) fields.
"We really focus on creating hands-on experiences that are open-ended, but also engage a child-adult learning partnership," Coffey said. "We want caregivers to feel comfortable playing right along with their children in the museum."
That play has to be done at home now. And the museum is trying to help.
"We wanted to be mindful of caregivers who are taking on multiple roles in new ways right now," Coffey said. "And also children who are experiencing a big change to their routines."
Different museum departments and child-learning experts have collaborated on a series of online activities with the umbrella title of "Play to Learn at Home."
"Basically, it's to provide a daily dose of DuPage Children's Museum -- things they would have been able to participate in or that reflect a visit to the museum," Coffey said.
Coffey herself has appeared on Facebook Live to do storytelling, while certified yoga instructor Tiffany King leads a 15-minute, space-inspired movement session for kids ages 3 and older.
There's even a series of short videos with helpful parenting tips called "Partners in Play." The topics range from developing early math skills to the importance of parents sharing their state of mind so their children can better understand social-emotional development.
"We also have been creating some hands-on activity videos and posts that get kids engaged and their minds working through play and using materials that they can easily find at home or on a trip to the grocery store," Coffey said.
Some of these activities range from making your own sidewalk chalk paint to fabricating "sensory snow."
Last month, the museum also donated $2,000 worth of developmental toys from its Explorer Store to the Hesed House shelter in Aurora and West Suburban Food Pantry in Woodridge.
"We are so grateful for the recent donation," Hesed House division director of development Lauren Jernigan said in a statement. "DuPage Children's Museum has helped to make the shelter-in-place experience a little brighter through their generosity."
Though the museum is physically closed, Coffey said the staff is looking toward the future when they can safely reopen.
"We're busy planning fun things to come," Coffey said about physical museum exhibits and online content. "We're always trying to come up with new, creative ways to engage."
• • •
DuPage Children's Museum
Where: 301 N. Washington St., Naperville, (630) 637-8000