Meet the Makers at ACM

12 04 2013

The time has finally come! On Sunday, May 5, Austin Children’s Museum will be participating in the 2013 Austin Mini Maker Faire. The event will be held at the Palmer Events Center from 10am -6pm.

What is Mini Maker Faire? It’s a community-oriented learning event where families and individuals are brought together to showcase any and all Do-It-Yourself projects. Maker Faire is arranged in a show-and-tell format, allowing makers to connect by showing what they’ve made and sharing what they’ve learned.

Credit: Austin Mini Maker Faire

Credit: Austin Mini Maker Faire

Every Sunday at ACM, we welcome this year’s Makers to show off their stuff and answer any questions. A special guest leads the activity as Makers do different DIY activities to prepare for the upcoming event.

Last week at Meet the Makers, we had fun making our own soap from scratch!

On Sunday, April 14, join the Makers from Austin Mini Maker Faire Craft division and design a beautiful denim crown to wear home. Burnadette Noll will be attending as our special guest and she will have everything you need to stitch and create a unique upcycled crown. Show the world that you are the King or Queen of your very own universe and come meet the Makers to get excited for Mini Maker Faire on May 5!

Make a Mother’s Day Bouquet!

10 05 2012
Mother’s Day is this weekend, and we couldn’t be happier to celebrate moms and every thing they do! This year, we wanted to make a bright and happy bouquet that would last for a long time. Here’s how we did it:
  • Card stock (assorted colors)
  • Decorative Scissors
  • Glue
  • Stapler (optional)
  • Envelopes

To make this hand made flower bouquet, we need to start by creating a ‘vase’ for the flowers to stand in. To do this simply follow these steps:

- First cut a simple wave across the top of a sheet of card stock.

-Fold a small section of the cardstock in to create a tab.

-Fold the card stock into three sections and glue down using the tab.

Next we move on to creating the flowers!

For this you will use different colored card stock to make the flowers brights and colorful!

- Cut out circles of all colors and sizes.

- Cut petal designs to the edges of the larger circles

- Glue the smaller circle into the center of the larger circle.

- Grab some green card stock and cut out stem shapes for as many flowers as you want to make.

Finally, glue the stems of the flowers into the vase to be sure that they will not fall.

You can always add extra decoration to the outside of your vase. Try adding your own special, personalized message to your mother on her special day!

Recycled Robot Contest

24 04 2012

Every spring, the Austin Children’s Museum hosts a fundraising gala called Imaginarium. This year’s event will celebrate all things tinkering, and in that spirit, we’re decorating the tables with Recycled Robot Centerpieces. We’re asking for submissions of child-created robots and even having a Recycled Robot Contest. Would you like to enter? Here are some guidelines:

  • The robot must be friendly
  • The robot cannot be more than 12 inches tall and 12 inches wide
  • The robot must be made of objects you already have. Please do not go out and purchase anything.
  • The robot needs a name and job. Please wire this on an index card, along with your first name and age.
  • The robot should be stationary – no movable parts, please.

A panel of judges will evaluate the robots on creativity, use of recycled materials, and whether it met the guidelines. Robots will not be returned to their makers.

The winner of the Recycled Robot Contest will win a free Blowout Bash Birthday at the Austin Children’s Museum. A winner will be announced on May 18th.

Want to participate? Download this pdf entry form: robotcontest. Then, make a robot and deliver it to the Museum by Friday, May 4th at 5pm.

We used recycled material we found around the Museum to make a Catbot and this robot collage:

Origami Origins Unfolded…

30 09 2011

Have you ever made a paper plane? Well I bet as you made it you didn’t know you were practicing origami, did you? Origami which means paper folding in Japanese, is just that: folding paper. But it is much more complex than your average folded sheet. The way in which you fold your paper can create many intricate designs. The traditions of paper folding are rooted in China and go as far back as 100 A.D. That’s 1,911 years ago!

One of the most common things to create in origami is a crane. The Japanese word for crane is Tsuru, and the bird is a symbol for happiness, good luck, and peace. For the Japanese, the crane also represents long-life, as it was believed in tales that a crane could live 1,000 years! That’s why the belief is that if you fold 1,000 paper cranes you will be granted a wish by the mystical bird.

Come check out our 1,000 paper cranes here at ACM. The paper cranes here were created by the Thousand Cranes of Peace project. Their project provides resources to families seeking peace from domestic violence.

If you’d like a wish to be granted, learn how to fold the famous crane here: Origami Peace Crane.

And if you would like a simpler origami project, follow the slideshow below to make your own origami house!

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Let us know how your origami projects turned out! And tell us about a wish you have worth 1,000 paper cranes.

Fall Facts and Fun!

19 09 2011

Here at The Austin Children’s Museum we’re excited that Summer is leaving and the weather is starting to cool, which means autumn is just around the corner.

Autumn is one of the four seasons and it typically falls between September 21st and December 21st. Why is autumn sometimes called Fall then? Because leaves fall off of deciduous trees during the season. Here are some cool facts about fall leaves from LoveToKnow.  You should learn this before autumn starts and summer leaves!

  • Leaves require sunlight, water, chlorophyll and carbon dioxide to make food for themselves.
  • As winter approaches, leaves make a coating for themselves which blocks their water source; in the absence of water, the leaves no longer produce chlorophyll (chlorophyll is what makes leaves green).
  • When the leaves turn colors in the fall, they actually are returning to their normal colors. During the summer months, the chlorophyll in the leaves causes them to turn green, blocking the leaves’ actual colors.
  • Along with chlorophyll, leaves contain two other chemicals that cause coloring. The first is called xanthophyll, which is yellow in color. The other is carotene, which is orange in color.
  • Red and purple leaves are actually caused by the presence of sugars from sap that is trapped inside of the leaves.
  • Once the leaves have turned brown, they are dead and no longer receive any nutrients.

Leaves are pretty interesting right? They can even be used for art! Check out how we used leaves creatively in these activities:

Color one yourself: Leaf Man and Butterfly Leaf

And send us your leaf art!

Celebrate Family!: Make a Family Tree

7 09 2011

It’s just starting to cool off, and we all know summer is coming to an end. Heading back to school means less time with the family. So let’s celebrate family one last time before we get back into the daily grind

Here at The Austin Children’s Museum we celebrate family and demonstrate its importance in our exhibit En Mi Familia. En Mi Familia centers around the children’s book of the same name, written and illustrated by Carmen Lomas Garza. Check out the exhibit online: En Mi Familia and the book which inspired the exhibit

En Mi Familia teaches us to love our roots. And what better way to prepare us for our upcoming adventures in school than to remember our roots with our very own family tree!

To make your own at home, print out this cool activity: Family Tree

  • Fill in your family’s name at the bottom and the names of your brothers and sisters next to the empty leaves
  • Use ink to fingerprint your spot and have your family get involved by inking their own leaves too
  • Don’t have ink? Try using a washable marker: color directly onto your finger, then voila! instant ink
  • Use crayons, pencils or markers to color in the rest of the activity to add some fun
  • Hang in a spot you can see everyday, so you remember the importance of your roots

Be sure to visit The Austin Children’s Museum before En Mi Familia leaves September 18th, and send us your finished family trees!

Need an Idea for a Father’s Day Card?

10 06 2011

The first Father’s Day was on June 19, 1910 in Spokane, Washington. That was 101 years ago! This year the holiday is also on June 19 and is celebrated all over the world. You can learn the history of Father’s Day and a few creative ideas on what you can do for your father from Kaboose.

Making a Father’s Day card can show your father that you are artistic and that you care about him. We made a few example cards to show you how creative you can be. Take a look!

If you’d like to make a Father’s Day fish card, click here.

If you’d like to make a Father’s Day language card, click here for a list of different languages.

If you’d like to make a Father’s Day shirt and tie card, click here.

We celebrate fatherhood on Saturday mornings when the Museum opens it’s doors for Cub Club from 9-10 am. This program is for kids under 3 and encourages their fathers to join by allowing them to come in for free. Father’s Day could be celebrated any Saturday you wish here with us and your kids.

Earth Day Crafts

22 04 2011

Today is Earth Day where we celebrate this planet by being more aware of our effects on the environment. Here are a few fun crafts you can do to be more eco-friendly!

You can reuse a plastic milk jug to create a a watering can for your garden. Just clean out the jug, poke a whole in the plastic at the top, fill it with water and screw on the top. You can decorate your jug with markers, stickers or paint.

You can also decorate your own reusable canvas bags to take to store.

Another fun craft is making your own compost. Take a big bin and add a few inches of clean potting soil. You can also add dry leaves or small pieces of black and white newspaper to the soil. Throw vegetable and fruit scraps in, and you have officially started your compost pile! Add a layer of moist matter and a layer of dry matter to the top of the compost pile. Be sure to turn the contents of your compost pile every 4 to 5 days.

Mardi Gras Mask

8 03 2011

Mardi Gras is a French holiday commonly known as “Fat Tuesday.” We now celebrate it in America after the holiday arrived in New Orleans in 1699. This holiday is celebrated by attending parades, catching beads and eating as many pancakes as you can eat!

We decided to celebrate Mardi Gras by creating our own masks for the festivities.

First, we gathered all of the supplies we thought we might need. You can use any sort of paints, paper scraps or accessories you have around the house.

After you gather your supplies, you can begin to create your mask. We decided to use a cardboard box because it’s very sturdy. We traced our mask first, so it would be easier to cut out. Don’t forget to cut holes for your eyes!

We decided to decorate our mask with purple, green and gold. These colors are the traditional Mardi Gras colors.

We painted our mask green.

We glued on scraps of shiny purple paper.

We used gold glitter paint, beads and other items to make our mask look fancy.

In order to hold our mask up, we glued a craft stick to the side of our mask for us to hold. You can also poke a hole on each side of the mask and tie an elastic band around your head.

Once your mask is done, you can now join the Mardi Gras festivities by going to a parade or eating delicious King Cake!

Bird Feeding Fun

25 02 2011

Earlier this month, we learned about the different birds seen at the annual Christmas Bird Count. This got us thinking more about birds, and we discovered that this month has been International Bird Feeding Month!

There are many different ways you can help feed the birds in your backyard.

One simple way to help feed birds is with a Bagel Bird Feeder. All you need is a bagel, string, peanut butter and bird seeds. First, you tie the string around the bagel. Then you spread peanut butter over the bagel and pour seeds on it. Once this is done, you hang the bird feeder from tree and watch the birds eat!

Bagel Bird Feeder

You can also do this with a pine cone, a soft pretzel or a corn husk.

After making your bird feeder, you can have your own bird count. Tally and research all of the different birds you see at the bird feeder.

Make a 3-D Tree!

29 11 2010

People decorate evergreen trees for Christmas, because they stay green all year, even in the wintertime. However, the trees do not keep their needles forever. Once a needle has been growing on a Ponderosa Pine Tree for three to five years it will turn brown and fall off, so another new needle can grow in its place. The newer needles remain green during this process, so it is not  noticeable.

Make your own tree and learn about symmetry.

Start by drawing half a tree on an index card, and cutting it out. Think  of the straight edge on the index card as the middle of the tree. Next, place two pieces of constructing paper together and fold them over. Line the straight edge of the index card up with the folded edge of the papers and trace your half of a tree.

Cut along the line you drew, and then unfold the paper. Now you have two symmetrical tree! The sides are mirror images of each other.

Repeat the process, so you have six trees in total. Carefully line up the trees and staple them together along the line of symmetry.

Now you can fold fan the pieces of paper out, creating a three dimensional tree.

You can make other models using different shapes. Leave us a comment describing your creation.

Ocean Art: Using Wax and Water

26 11 2010

Have you ever noticed water droplets pooling up on the top of leaves and dripping off? The waxy layer on the outside of leaves is called the cuticle and makes the leaves waterproof. This keeps moisture inside the plant, allowing the rain water to soak into the soil and into the pant’s roots.

You can see wax repel water through this art project.  I drew fish using crayons, markers and colored pencils.  Crayons are made from wax.

Then I painted over the picture with blue watercolor paint, so it looks like it is under the ocean.  You can see how the yellow fish repelled the paint. The purple marker smeared a little, because it was also water based and mixed with the paint.

Leave a comment letting us know what you discovered when making your own creation.

Can You Top This?

8 11 2010

Have you ever thought about what makes a top spin for so long? Experiment making your own top using paper plates, pencils, paper clips, pennies, and whatever else you can find.

One things we found while experimenting is that it is better to keep the top short and close to the ground. Also, it is important for it to by symmetrical, or the same on all sides. What did you notice when you tried to make your own top? Leave a comment so other readers can try it.


We experimented with our tops on the turntable. Bring up your own top and give it a spin!


A masterpiece is taking shape

8 10 2010

Do you see the geometric shapes in Pablo Picasso’s Painting? Picasso is a famous Spanish painter. The Three Musicians is an example of cubism, a style of art that Picasso created with Georges Braque.

Pablo Picasso Three Musicians (1921) from Wikipedia 

Use shapes to bring out the Picasso in you and create a unique piece of art. Cut out shapes in different colors and spread them out on a piece of paper.


Arrange the shapes in different ways to create a picture. Once you glue down the shapes finish the masterpiece using markers.

Put on a Picture Show

23 09 2010

When you go to the movies the projector flashes thousands of pictures on to the screen to create the illusion of movement.  Every second you watch a movie you see 72 separate pictures projected onto the screen – when your mind pieces these pictures together it is called persistence of vision.

You can learn more about persistence of vision by visiting the Notion of Motion exhibit that opens tomorrow. There will be an Aether Zoetrope, a device invented in the mid-1800’s that uses still pictures to create the illusion of movement.

Make your own illusion at home using  an index card and a pencil. Cut 2 small squares. Draw a simple picture on both drawings with one difference. On my first square I drew a container with a red liquid inside. On the second square I drew the same container, but I showed the liquid spilling out the top.

Tape the squares around the end on the pencil.

Quickly flip the pencil back and forth. It looks like the liquid spills over the top of the container.

Stop by the Children’s Museum on Saturday to check out the opening day for the Notion of Motion exhibit!


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