Village Parkdays 12:00 pm – 4pm (or sundown)

Upcoming Events
Aug 13 - Venia's Vacation: Belarusse, Vienna, and..

Aug - 6 Topanga Beach Day (boogie boards and sandcastles)

July 30 - Summer Parkday

July 23 - Leather Stamping

July 16 - Ancient Rome

July 9 - Japan Past & Present

July 2 - Independence & H2O

June 25 Beach Day

June 18 Tenzi Frenzi

June 11 - Juggling Craft and Fun

June 4 - Stokes Theater & Plays

May 28 - Christina's Family Yogatime

May 21 - Bring your crafty projects & Potluck

May 14- Career Day

May 7 - Mother's Day Tea

April 30 - Art Show & Painting

Apr 23 - Earthday Show & Tell and Planting

Apr16 - 19 Joshua Tree Annual Family Campout

Apr 9 - HexiFlexigons - rescheduled

Apr 2 - Magic Tricks & Juggling Sticks

Mar 26 - HexiFlexigons - Geometry Gone Wild

Mar 19 - Potluck & Nat Amer Kid Presentations

Mar 12 - Nat Amer 2: Plains & Tipi's

Mar 5 - Native American 1: Inuit & Carving

Feb 28 - The Art of Debate

Feb 19 - Potluck & Chinese New Year & Korean, Vietnamese

Feb 12 - Valentyne's Day exchange

Feb 5 - Favorite Books

Jan 29 - Build an African Kalimba

Jan 22 - Patents and Inventors

Jan 15 Potluck, Patents and Inventors

Jan 8 - Boardgames and Beginnings

Jan 1st New Year's Playday

Dec 25 Merry Christmas No Parkday

Dec 18 Kwanza; Hannukah; Xmas; Solstice Celebration & Lunch Potluck

Dec 15 Caroling at Retirement Homes

Dec 11 Holiday Craft Day

Dec 4 Idioms by Maria Wheee!

Nov 27 Happy Thanksgiving No Parkday

Nov 20 Venezuela by Enrique & Potluck

Nov 13 Science Bloopers

Nov 6 Inside a Courtroom

Nov 4 Take your Kid to Vote

Oct 30 Costume Halloween Party

Oct 23 Bring a Poem

Oct 19 Campfire Potluck &Talent Show

Oct 16 Poetry Play Day & Potluck

Oct 9 Save Big Cats & Habitats

Oct 2 Making & Launching Rockets

Sept 28 Watts Tower Drumming Festival 10-4pm

Sept 25 Basket Weaving with NewsPaper

Sept 18 M&B Family Campout @ Sequoia Nat'l Park (No parkday)

Sept 11 OuterSpace Aeronautics or
Sustainable Farming & Husbandry (if cool enough for goats to visit)

Sep 10 M&B Free @ LA County Fair

Sep 2 Amazing Aeronautics

Aug 28 Beach Day

Aug 21 Pioneer Day

Aug 14 Five Year M&B Anniversary

Aug 7 Solar Ovens Part III

Jul 31 Solar Ovens Part II

Jul 24 Solar Ovens Part I @ Beach

Jul 17 Balloon Fun/Physics

Jul 10 Blind as a Bat (Braille & Sonar)

Jul 3rd (No Parkday Independence)

Jun 26 Tal Family

Jun 19 Kinetic Ball Run & Squirt bottle motion & Potluck

Jun 12 Summer Festival & Games

Jun 11 Full Moon Hike

Jun 5 Let's Get Tiny - Cells (Animal & Plant)

May 29 Lets get tiny - Cells (Animal & Plant)

May 22 Famous People

May 15 Beach Day & Potluck

May 8 Celebrating Mothers

May 1 Secrets of Water

Apr 24 Earthday & Planting

Apr 17 Games & Crafts Bring Your OWN

Apr 10 Nat'l Poetry Month

Apr 3 Cotton Magic

Mar 27 Bacteria Fun

Mar 20 Potluck & Organ Day!

Mar14-16 Joshua Tree Annual Spring Family Campout

Mar 13 - No Theme due to weekend Campout

Mar 6- Birdwatching & Nesting Day

Feb 27 - Physics of Bowling due to Rain

Feb 20 - The Winter Olympics

Feb 14-17 Backyard Bird Count

Feb 13 - VOLUNTEER PLEASE. Valentines Day

Feb 6 - Taxonomy & the Darwin Challenge

Jan 30 - Lunar New Year of the Horse

Jan 23 - Simple Machines II - Pulleys & Levers

Jan 16 - Habitats & Keystone Species & Noon Potluck

Jan 9 - Cogs & Cams: Simple Machines

Jan 2 - Reconnecting after holidays & New Year's Celebrations

Dec 26 - No Parkday Happy Holidays

Dec 19 - Celebrate Holidays: Winter Solstice, Kwanza, Christmas & Hanukkah

Dec 12 - Solar Fun & Mask Making with Michelle

Dec 5 - Monarch Magic & Eucalyptus

Nov 28 - Happy Thanksgiving - No Parkday

Nov 23 - Fieldtrip to Monarch Groves in Goleta

Nov 21 - Monarchs & Eucalyptus Trees postponed

Nov 14 - Atoms, Protons, Electrons, Oh My!

Nov 7 - Autumn Leaves & Sewing with Heather

Oct 31 - Halloween Festival

Oct 24 - Spooky SeeSaw Algebra

Oct 17 - 3 City Geography & Int'l Potluck & 6:00pm Talent Show

Oct 10 - 2nd M&B Bug Faire

Oct 3 - Abacus Math Magic

Sept 26 - Bark Painting & Spirit Animals

Sep 19-23 Annual Sequoia Family Campout

Sep 14 Fieldtrip to Point Vicente

Sep 12 - Lighthouses & Prisms II

Sep 5 - Build Splash Toys @ Pool

Aug 29 - Lighthouses & Light I

Aug 22 - DeSalination @ Beach PD

Aug 15 - Weaving yarn or old clothes

Aug 8 - Hula Hoop II

Aug 1 - Hula Hoop I @ Beach A

Jul 25 - M&B's 4th Anniversary
All ages Talent Show

Jul 18 - Hawaii Day & Potluck

Jul 11 - Bubble Science Fun

July 4 No Parkday HOLIDAY

Jun 27 No Parkday HOLIDAY

Jun 20 - Crafts Free for All

Jun 13 - Gold Mining & BoomTowns

Jun 6 - Anyone? Or Lemonade Stands

May 31-Jun 2 Family Campout at Montano De Oro

May 30 - MayDay PlayDay II

May 23 - MayDay PlayDay

May 16 - Bats, Owl Pellets & Potluck

May 9 - Primitive Arts & Indian Trading Blanket

May 2 - Painting & Poems

Apr 25- Help Our Wildlife Thrive

Apr 18 - M&B Earthday & Potluck 5pm

Apr 11 - Missouri Day / Bees Part 2

Apr 4 - Bees ($3/kid for candlemaking)
Ula's Birthday

Mar 28 - Feathers, Microscopes & Origami Cranes

Mar 21 - History of Sugar; Plant own sugarcane

Mar 14 - Robots & Circuitry $3/kid

Mar 7 - Rainy Day @ Skirball Free

Feb 28 - Felting & Fiber Arts

Feb 21 - Morocco II
and Islamic Prayer

Feb 14 Valentines & Asian New Year Traditions

Feb 7 - Huichol Yarn Paintings
& Esme's Bday

Jan 31 - Birth of a Nation

Jan 24 - Cancelled
due to RAIN

Jan 17 - Craft parkday

Jan 15 - USA Tour @ Skirball

Jan 10- Morocco Senses & Allah

Jan 3 - Free for All Playday

Dec 27 - Free For All Playday

Dec 20 - Xmas, Hanukkah, Kwanza, Divali & Winter Solstice (Carols & Potluck)

Dec 13 - Morocco, Art & Mint Tea

Dec 6 - Pompeii Part II & Archeology

Nov 29 - Let's BOWL
due to Rain

Nov 22 - Thanksgiving - No Parkday

Nov 15 - Duct Tape Crafts & creations by C & C
and Lunch Potluck

Nov 8 - Ancient Pompeii & Mt Vesuvius

Nov 1 - Election & Voting Debate:
More trees or Waterslide

Oct 25 - Trunk or Treat; Dress-up

Oct 18 - Peace Building &
Anger drop

Oct 11 - Superhero Rain

Oct 4 - Inks from Nature

Sep 27 Ireland Fun & Culture

Sep 20 -Sequoia-sized Boardgames

Sep 13 - 3rd Sequoia Campout

Sep 6- Heroes and Heroines - Kids Presentations

Aug 30 - Simile, Metaphors & Figures of Speech

Aug 23- Letterboxing II

Aug 16 - Letterboxing I

Aug 9 - Beach Day

Aug 2 - Modern Olympics II

July 26 - Ancient Olympics I

July 19 - Paper Arts: Bowls, Books & Beads

July 12 - Beach Day

July 5 - Statue of Liberty - 4th July

June 28 - Storytelling & Aussie Rainsticks

June 21 - Fun Games Field day

June 14 - Mystery Math = Algebra Fun

June 7- Silly Summer Day Fun

May 31 - Build Miniature Golf

May 24 - Sewing & Haiku Part II

May 17 - Haikus & Drums & Evening Potluck

May 10 - Rock Hunter Guest Speakers

May 3 - May Day Celebrations

Apr 26 - Fibonacci & Nature

Apr 19 - Thai New Year -Songkran & Potluck

April 12 - Spring Bling & Night Crawlers Planting season

April 5- Easter /Passover Crafts

Mar 29 - Ethics & Fairytales

Mar 22 - Detective Fingerprints & Crafts

Mar 15 - Prep for Joshua Tree

Mar 8 - Marbles & Physics

Mar 1 - Make Real Dream Catchers

Feb 23 - Pirates, Sea Captains &Tall Ships

Feb 16 - Wilderness Survival - guest Speaker

Feb 9 - Anatomy Guts vs Feeling Guts

Feb 2- Gravity Fun Games

Jan 26 - Cement Bridges Part Two

Jan 19 - Kids first Rock & Gem Show

Jan 12 - Global New Years Celebration

Jan 5 - Rockets-Aquarius M&B helped launch

Dec 29 - Cement Construction hand print tile

Dec 22- Kwanza, Hannukah, Bodhi Day stories & games 12/8

Dec 15 - Amy's Anatomy Obstacle Course

Dec 8 - Painting so it POPS! w/ out wind

Dec 1 - Painting so it POPS!

Nov 24 - Happy Thanksgiving - No M&B Parkday

Nov 17 - Fun with Manners & Empowering Etiquette & And 3rd Thurs Potluck (lunchtime)!

Nov 10 - History of Photography - Make Pinhole Cameras

Nov 3 - Butterfly & Bug Faire & Poems & Riddles

Oct 27 - Pumpkin Festival *Dress UP!!

Oct 20 - Empathy & Empowerment

Oct 13 - Braille & Visually Impaired

Oct 6- Atoms & Cool Molecules

Sept 29- Black Bears & Sequoias

Sept 22 - Sequoia Fires & Cones

Sept 15- Clay Creatures & Open-ended ?s

Sept 8- Beat the Heat Beach Day

Sept 1 - Lemonade Stand Commerce

Aug 25 - Back to Homeschool Play

Aug 18 - Saw Safely & make a Jacob's Ladder

Aug 11 - Biomes, Habitats & Soda Bottle Terrarium

Aug 4 - M&B 2Year Anniversary Party

July 28 - Finger Knitting & Natural Fibers

July 21 - Stone Soup Potluck & Storytime

July 14 - CrazyFun ScienceLab Experiments

July 7 - Independence Day Celebration @ Zuma Beach

June 30 - Nocturnal Creatures & Owl Pellets to dissect

June 23 - Book Exchange Circus

June 16 - Lewis & Clark, Quill pens from feathers & Potluck

June 9 ATC- Making Artists' Trading Cards

June 2 Petraglyphs, Pictoglyphs & Rafting the Grand Canyon

May 26 Historical
Figures that changed the World
all Kids Perform

May 19 Pharoahs, Pyramids & Crafts
And Potluck 5pm-sundown

May 12
Mars & Space Travel

May 5
Mother's Day
High Tea

Apr 28
Physics & Imagination=
Future Travel

Apr 21
Mask Making & Storytelling

Apr 14
Sound Waves

Apr 7
Geodesic Dome

Mar 31
Earthquakes & Tectonics

Mar 24
Show & Tell & Games

Mar 17
Family Campout Joshua Tree

Mar 10
Mardi Gras

Mar 3
Africa & Wangari Maathai

Feb 24
Brains: the Inside Story

Feb 3
Chinese New Year

Jan 27
Pioneer Parkday Part 2

Jan 20
Days of Yore

Jan 13
Fun & Safety
with Germs

Jan 6
Chess by Jahan

Dec 31
New Year's FreePlay

Dec 23
Kwanza, Hannukah
& Christmas

Dec 16
Engines & Cars
& Alternative Power

Dec 9
Microscopic World

Dec 2
Cartoon & Collage

Nov 25th
Thanksgiving Holiday

Nov 18th
Nature Crafts & Yoga

Nov 11th
Wind Turbines

Nov 4th
Indian Diwali Celebration

Oct 28th
Spooky Obstacle Course

Oct 21st
How Songs are Born

Oct 14th
Build a
Weather Station

Oct 7th
Prisms, Vision & Zoetropes

Sept 30th
Spanish CultureFest

Sept 23rd
Russian Culture & Potluck

Sept 17
Family Campout @ Sequoia Nat'l Park

Sept 9th
Chemical (molecular) Reactions

Sept 2nd
History of Flight

August 26th
Light, Refraction & Rainbows

Aug 19

August 12
Turtles, Tortoises & YOU

August 5th
Honey, Bees & Wasps

July 29th
M&B 1 year anniversary

July 22
Inuit Culture & Games

July 15th
Bastille Day - French Independence

June 17th
Swedish MidSummerFest

June 10th
Catapults & Parachutes
Gravity & Lift

June 3rd
Our BodyGuards
Snot & Scabs

May 27th
Pollination, Fruit & Seeds

May 20th
Hawaii & Potluck Luau!

May 13
Ladybugs, Silkworms & Praying Mantis

May 6th
Knots, Pirates & Explorers

April 29
Earth Day Part 2

April 22
40th anniversary of Earth Day

April 15th
Japanese Girls' & Boy's Day

April 8th
Bridges, Cantilevers & Treehouses

April 1st
Magnetism part II: Physical Force of Nature

March 25
Magnetism part I: I'm attracted!

March 18th
Desert Life

March 11th
Global Timelines

March 4th
Spring Bling:
Worms, Dirt & Seeds

Cleopatra: How to Bring History to Life

I am constantly in pursuit of real-life heroes and heroines of many eras that match my daughters’ personalities and passions.  In my house, we prefer picture books to spark our interests in history.  In this past week alone, my girls discovered kinship with figures of our past by reading these great picture books about Elinor Smith, Waterhouse Hawkins and Odetta.   In addition to these cultural icons, history came to life in a big way with one of our World’s greatest Icons in the Exhibition of Cleopatra at the California Science Center (up until December 2012).  With an emphasis on Cleopatra’s clever nature in overcoming obstacles, my daughters found her story to be both impressive and relevant.  IMG_7894

Here are a few tips to deepen the impact of Cleopatra: Last Queen of Eqypt or any Art or Historical Exhibit.

1. Read a story or picture book about the historical figure or artist the day before you go to an exhibit. TayTay

Personally, I had a hard time finding the right book for my kids on Cleopatra that was interesting enough or age appropriate.  There is plenty on Pyramids & Mummies.  From my varied internet searches, I strung some Cleopatra facts into a fun tale.  “At age 14 she became Pharoah, the Egyptian word for Queen. “Pharaoh” is the same word for men and women, unlike “Queen” & “King.”  I shocked them with the fact that she had to marry her brother. I assured them that it was not for making babies – just required of a female Pharoah to rule the kingdom.  One day she was a princess and the next a Pharoah, which also meant she became the Goddess Isis to her people.  Royal girl to Goddess in a day.  They loved hearing how she smuggled herself into Caeser’s palace rolled up in a rug.  I painted a picture of her beauty and jewels from scenes I remember of Elizabeth Taylor’s unforgettable performance (click for full movie).   I did share how she ended her life at age 39 – by choice – by getting a deadly Asp to bite her  (a way to become immortal by Egyptian standards).  And how it must be true, for no one has forgotten her for over 2,000 years. My story-telling ended when I explained how her children’s lives (5 in total) were threatened by those who wanted to prevent them from inheriting and ruling Egypt or the Roman Empire since her children were heirs to both. This small taste of her life, put Cleopatra on their curiosity radar.

2.  Visit the Gift Shop first and let everyone pick out one or two postcards of the art or artifacts they want to see.

This tangible (and affordable) item increases their desire to learn something extra about the history behind the image.  It might be the beginning of a collection that will inspire inventions or art projects.  We use the cards as clues on a museum scavenger hunt.   They also make it easy for staff to direct you where you want to go.  In lieu of cards, you can task each child with finding something relevant to the story or the book you read.  Getting keepsakes from the giftshop at the beginning can prevent visiting after the exhibit and spending money I would rather use for ice-cream on the way home.

3. Utilize the institutions’ audio tours, print-out activities, or programs.

IMG_7744Many exhibits of this caliber post activities online to print out at home or provide if requested.  For Cleopatra, we checked out (free of charge) the hand-held audio tour.  Instead of requiring my girls to walk along my side, I let them go on their own (respecting our museum rules: no running, soft voices, and being aware not to displace anyone else’s experience).  The girls teamed up and searched for numbers like scavenger hunters.  Once at the display, they sat down and punched the corresponding buttons and listened to Cleopatra tell more of her story.  Well done Nat’l Geo Society – the exhibit’s sponsor!

Cleopatra's Handwriting on Papyrus

Cleopatra's Handwriting on Papyrus: Beside Greek (her native tongue), Cleopatra spoke 7 languages. She was the first Pharoah in almost a century to speak Egyptian (the tongue of her subjects). She also wrote books on poisons and cosmetics.

4. With open-ended questions, encourage children to formulate their own ideas about history.

If you lived during this time, what would you do? Why were so many things buried beneath the sea and sand?  Why do you think Goddio & Hawass retrieved them? What do you think Cleopatra ate?  What kind of foods were available?  What Egyptian item would you want in your home and why?  Why does it matter if she was more beautiful (legends) than stoic (depicted on coins). Their exhibit staff loved answering our questions (like where was the lighthouse) and when they couldn’t, they called up experts on their walkie-talkies to get answers for us. (Way to go CA Science Ctr!)

5. Arm your children with sketchbooks and task them with finding some object of interest to record with pencil or ink.

IMG_7684 This is my personal addition to most visits we make to art or historical exhibits. It dramatically lengthens the amount of time they spend in an exhibit.  It is a hands-on activity which which helps children feel engaged and fulfilled.  By sketching, you become a detective observing what might otherwise go unnoticed. The girls sketched the Sphinx, Cleopatra and other items of interest. This “tangible keepsake” of their own design, becomes a great mnemonic device when sharing their day with Dad later that night.  I usually request that they sketch one cool thing they saw in order to teach us about it at the end of our day.

IMG_7728You can bring or buy sketchbooks, but don’t forget you can easily make your own books at home.  Let the kids make their own and decorate it for even more buy-in.  Take 3-5 pieces of copier paper, fold in half and staple on the crease.  Voila – a personalized book.  We make many books at our house, for many purposes.  I prefer to add a piece of colored paper on the outside as a cover and newsprint for the innards (next time you are wrapping your breakables at Ikea, grab a few extra sheets for bookmaking).

6.  Look for the tactile activities, craft stations, or make up your own.

In the exhibit, there are two items that you can spin hard to witness sand moving underwater.  This is part of the knowledge utilized by Goddio & Hawass who unearthed many of these artifacts from the mouth of the Nile in Alexandria.  Getting a chance to use their physical body is a way to create a comfort zone for active children.  In lieu of such hands-on toys, we play Statue-Posing in and outside of museums.  One person poses and the rest have to guess which statue they are mimicking.  I love this because it again encourages deeper observation to determine what each hand, leg and face are doing in order to play the game well. This game leads me to ask what feelings the person depicted was experiencing.  It is amazing how spot on kids can be.  Kids read body language! For a fun Egyptian crafts, make your own cartouche necklaces from copper sheets.  Armed with scissors, a ribbon and a stick, to emboss your hieroglyph, you can turn a piece of copper sheet into a priceless Egyptian artifact fit for a Pharaoh.


7. Get the Inside Scoop

Don’t forget to call ahead and get chatty with the staff for tips only they can provide.  I found this online promotion code “QUEEN” for $3-$4 off tickets.  We inquired about the best time to arrive and were advised to go after 1:00 to avoid school groups.  We found parking on a nearby side street (West 37th place) off of Figuero that has 4 hour parking ($1/hour) vs the $10 for the museum lots.  It is next to Quiznos, Chik-fil-a, Chipotle, Coffee Bean, Coldstone and a no MSG Chinese restaurant- alternatives to the McD’s in the museum.

IMG_7872 8. Break it Up

By taking food and/or outdoor nature breaks you can help kids (and parents) get refreshed instead of burnt out.  We enjoyed our lunch in the Rose Garden just outside of the museum.  I share a flexible schedule with the girls around your food breaks.  “First we can explore the outdoor sculptures and finish snacks, while I get our tix. Then we will go to the store before the exhibit.  Then outside for lunch.  And back in for the non-Cleopatra stuff you want to explore.  Then another snack/dinner. ” And I usually stop for ice-cream about halfway home (and point out how much we saved by not buying more at the museum). While we enjoy our treat, we share what was fun or memorable about the day.  This helps leave a great taste in our mouths and minds about the day’s adventure.

IMG_7808And PLEASE don’t miss taking a walk through the completely Sustainable – Zero Impact Hanwha Solar-house temporarily located between the museum parking lot and the box office.

And if you are looking for Egyptian crafts or activities to do in conjunction with this exhibit, before or after your visit see my blog on Mummies & Pyramids from last year.  Sarcophagus for dolls & action figures, copper necklace cartouches, and a ticker tape timeline for children to get a sense of how long ago the Pyramids of Giza were erected and Cleopatra, the last Pharoah of Egypt reigned.

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