Cyberchase – The Chase is On!

19 09 2009

Cyberchase has arrived to the Museum! Are you ready for an adventure?

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Based on the PBS cartoon Cyberchase, you can walk through the portal and enter the virtual universe of Cyberspace. Today at the Museum, children explored the different cybersites in Cyberspace, using math and critical thinking skills to keep the virtual universe running smoothly.

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Matt, Inez, Jackie and Digit—the CyberSquad!—will need your help protecting the virtual universe from the villain Hacker. Investigate math concepts to find ways of stopping Hacker!

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To find out more about the Cyberspace universe, visit the PBS web site. You can also watch Cyberchase locally on KLRU Channel 18 Tuesdays & Thursdays at 4:00 p.m. Click here to see the schedule of upcoming episodes.

Cyberchase is almost here!

17 09 2009

The new Cyberchase exhibit opens this Saturday at the Museum! Are you ready to help the CyberSquad stop the villainous Hacker from causing trouble in the virtual universe?

There’s only one weapon that stops Hacker every time: MATH!

Get ready to put your thinking caps on and protect Cyberspace!

museum team works on cyberchase exhibit

This exhibit is based on the PBS television show “Cyberchase.” To learn more about the characters, watch episodes, and play adventure games, visit Cyberchase online.

Stay healthy during flu season!

14 09 2009

It’s that time of year again when kids everywhere are coming down with coughs and fevers. Luckily, there are a few tricks for you  to try that will help keep that flu away!

Wait, what exactly is the flu?


The flu, short for influenza, is a contagious virus that is usually spread through the air by coughs and sneezes.

Ask a parent to take your temperature if you are feeling chills, coughing, or suffering from a sore throat.

Children are more likely to catch and spread the virus, so here are some ways you can stop the flu from spreading at your home, your school, and everywhere you go!

#1 – Wash your hands for 20 seconds

Washing your hands doesn’t have to be boring though! Think of some songs to sing while washing your hands, such as tunes you heard on the radio or some old favorites, including:

“Twinkle Twinkle Little Star”

“The Alphabet Song”

“Yankee Doodle”

“Mary Had a Little Lamb” (two times)

“Row Row Row Your Boat” (two times)

Dance at the sink to make washing your hands even more fun! Don’t forget to use soap, and warm water if you can.

wash your hands

#2 – Cover your mouth when you sneeze

Sneeze onto your elbow, not your hand though! Remember, when you cough or sneeze, tiny flu particles are traveling out of your mouth. You use your hands for so many things though, like playing games and making crafts, that those flu particles can spread everywhere.

If you forget and sneeze in your hands, it’s okay—just remember to quickly wash your hands right afterward.

#3 – Stay home if you do get sick

If you do get sick, it’s best to stay home from school and away from friends’ houses. That way you make sure your friends and classmates don’t get sick too. Have a parent take your temperature and make sure you don’t go back to school until 24 hours after your fever is gone without taking medicine.



Engineering Saturday: Paper Airplanes

14 09 2009

Student volunteers from the UT School of Engineering came to the Museum to teach kids how to make and fly paper airplanes. Kids got creative and also made paper shuttlescrafts and helicopters!

annabelle's paper airplane

A young engineer gives her plane an experimental throw!

airplane making

An engineering student shows there is more than one way to make an airplane.

jakob paper airplane

Make Bottlecap Mosaics

24 08 2009

If you’ve been to the Museum lately, you may have noticed our bright mosaics on the wall in the Maker Kids exhibit. If you look closely you’ll see that they are made entirely of bottlecaps!

bottlecaps in maker kids

Our good friend Ivan immediately realized this was a project he could do at home. A little  hot glue and a lot of bottlecaps later, this is what he made:

Ivan and Cathleen

ivan's bottlecaps

Super cool, Ivan! Thanks for sending us the pics!

Turn Packaging Into Playthings

19 08 2009

Packing materials come in interesting shapes and structures that are just begging to be redesigned! These castles were made from boxes, paper towel rolls, and packaging from our printer toner cartridges:


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castle 004

Go to Craft Magazine’s blog for more ideas on things you can make out of materials formerly destined for the recycle bin. Just one more reason to get excited when a package comes in the mail!

Whale Origami

14 08 2009


First, you need a square of paper. To make your own square of paper you can use a regular 8 1/2 x 11″ sheet.

· Fold the bottom left corner of your sheet to the right side of your paper. Make the bottom edge and right edge line up. You just made a triangle shape. Cut off the excess strip of paper and you will have a square.

· Fold the lower left and right sides to meet the center crease you made earlier.

· It kind of looks like an ice cream cone. Now fold the top down. The tip meets the top of the other folded pieces.

· Fold your ice cream cone shape in half, lengthwise.

· Fold the skinny end up to make the tail.

Meet your whale! You can decorate your whale anyway you like!

Watch the video for a quick demonstration on how to fold your whale:

Star in a Comic Strip

10 08 2009

Comic books, also known as graphic novels, are stories told with words and pictures. You can create and star in your very own comic strip.

First, think of a story. Think of your characters, where your story will take place, the begining, middle, and the end.

Next, create a storyboard for your comic. Draw a quick sketch of the different scenes in your comic and what you want the final product to look like.

You can use household items as your props and backdrop or you can create a backdrop by drawing your scene on large butcher paper. Once you have created your backdrop you can tape it to the wall.

Now, pretend you an actor. Act out important scenes from your comic and have a parent take pictures. Once you print out your pictures, you are ready to complete your comic strip.

20090810113237_0000120090810113328_00001Cut out your pictures and arrange them on your piece of paper. Decorate your comic strip, add any text your comic might need, and tape your pictures to paper. You have just finished your comic strip. Great job!

Click below to see more comic strips from our MakerKids campers.

July 4th at the Beach

The Bug Attack

Shadow Puppets

29 07 2009

Light Play Post 036 copy

Hi! My name is Kate and I am a Gallery Educator at the Museum. I am going to show you how to have fun learning about light and shadows by making shadow puppets at home.


· Translucent and transparent plastic items including gift wrapping, cellophane, plastic wrap, bubble wrap, processed film and plastic cups.
· Popsicle sticks or wooden skewers for handles
· Cardboard
· Masking tape
· Hot glue gun (make sure you have an adult helper)
· Scissors
· Hole punch
· Any other recyclables you can think of…Get creative!


Experiment with different materials to discover which sort of shadows they create.  Transparent materials can be seen through clearly, like a window. Translucent materials allow light to pass through, but images cannot be seen clearly, like waxed paper. Depending upon their color and texture, these materials will make colorful and interesting shadows. Opaque or solid things won’t let light pass through and cast only black shadows.

Cut out people, animals, flowers, or silly shapes from your materials and glue them to sticks for handles.  Now it’s time to put on a shadow puppet show!  You can bring your puppets to the light play area at Austin Children’s Museum or you can play with your puppets at home using a flashlight or bright lamp to cast shadows on a wall.

Here are some of the shadow puppets I created:

Click here to learn more about Austin Children’s Museum’s Discovery Time Activities in MakerKids and check out our calendar to see what we will be making next.

Make a Butterfly

22 07 2009



· Construction paper

· A pencil

· Scissors

· Newspaper

· Paint (as many colors as you like)


1) To make your paper butterfly, fold a piece of construction paper in half and draw one side of a butterfly. Look at the butterflies below for inspiration. Cut out your butterfly shape and unfold your paper. You now have a butterfly.

2) Lay newspaper or another piece of construction paper down to protect the surface you are working on. Squeeze your paint in the center of your paper butterfly. You can use as many colors as you like!

paint squeeze

3) Fold your butterfly in half and press down. The paint might spill out a bit, but that is OK. You are squishing your paint to spread it to your butterfly’s wings.

folded butterfly

4) Unfold your butterfly and look at your colorful creation!



Make a Tube Kazoo

1 07 2009

Do you love to make music? Great! You can make a musical instrument using materials found in your home.


Cardboard Tube (from a paper towel or toilet paper roll)

Wax paper

A rubber band

A sharp pencil




1) Punch a few small holes in the cardboard tube. Make the holes the same size and distance apart (like a flute).

2) Decorate your kazoo anyway you like.

3) Cover one end of the tube with wax paper.

4) Now, hum into the opposite end of the tube. If you cover the different holes in your kazoo, you will create different notes.

You have made your very own Tube Kazoo! Enjoy playing your new instrument!

boys kazoo

Budding Paleontologists

16 06 2009

A Paleontologist is a scientist who studies the fossils of animals, plants, and other organisms from prehistoric times.  Do you know how Paleontologists find dinosaur fossils?

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They have to carefully remove the fossils that are buried deep in the ground.  Many times this requires very delicate tools, like a brush. The Paleontologist brushes the dirt away from the fossil, until it is free from the ground. You can create your own archaeological dig at home!

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-Toy dinosaurs or any other “fossil” you would like to use

-Paint Brush


1) Bury the artifacts just below some sand or dirt.

2) Carefully brush the dirt away from the artifact, just like a Paleontologist.

Make a Fruit Sculpture

3 06 2009

You will need:

Fruit Slices (bananas, oranges, grapes, or choose your favorite!)


How to make it:

Take a look at the different shapes of the fruit. Use the toothpicks to connect the different shapes and make a beautiful sculpture.

Here are some campers hard at work on their fruit sculptures.


Paint like Jackson Pollock

3 06 2009

Jackson Pollock was a very important American painter. His unique paintings are in museums around the world, including New York City and London. Pollock used an interesting technique when painting. He would put his canvas on the floor and drip paint onto the canvas! Here is an example of his artwork:


You can make your own Jackson Pollock inspired painting!

There is also a Jackon Pollock iPhone Application, so you can channel your inner Pollock on-the-go!

Mother’s Day Tulips

7 05 2009

Mother’s Day is just around the corner. If you’re wondering what to get Mom, here’s a fun project that is easy to do!

MaterialsYou will need:

 Green straws, foam egg carton, rocks, clear cup, assortment of tissue paper, glue, and scissors.

How to make it:

  1. Collect all the materials
  2. Pour rocks or dirt into clear cup
  3. Cut out tulip shapes from egg carton cups
  4. Poke a small hole in bottom of egg cups
  5. Insert straw into hole
  6. Cut small squares out of tissue paper and glue into cup
  7. Add leaves or other flower decorations
  8. Press finished flower stems into rocks


What else can you do for Mom? How about picking up your toys or setting the dinner table? Or you can make a Mother’s Day card to send with the flowers. Don’t forget to give her a big hug!


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