Budding artists are invited to get their creative juices flowing for a summer packed with make-believe, puzzles, ingenuity, creativity, science, and magic! Join the Kalamazoo Valley Museum for its Summer Hands-On series, “The Creative Spirit!,” from 1 to 4 p.m. on Wednesday afternoons beginning on June 25 and ending on August 6. In addition to the free hands-on activities, special planetarium show times and Challenger Learning Center programs for families will be offered ($3 per person) each Wednesday during the series. Check www.kalamazoomuseum.org for times and program topics.
The June 25 topic is “Engineering and Ingenuity.” Engineers like to tinker, experiment, fix, and create using a wide variety of materials. Come prepared to use your imagination to build sculptures, create collages, and more. Design using duct tape, Nuudles (biodegradable building blocks), and craft sticks. Make a summer adventure hat and t-shirt. String a beaded key chain, color a wooden snake with movable parts, and build a robot using a variety of materials. Combine a variety of paper pieces to design a mosaic mask and a collage picture frame.
On July 2, explore “The Mystery of Magic.” Magic, mystery, and intrigue follows optical illusions and sleight of hand tricks. Learn a variety of magic tricks using a rope, cards, and math. Decorate juggling balls, a top hat, and 3D glasses. Roll a magic wand, color a marble game, make a thaumatrope spinning picture toy, and check out a variety of optical illusions.
“Draw Me a Story” is the July 9 topic. Stories can be told using words and illustrations; these can be really powerful when used together. Prepare to tell your story by creating a message on a thought bubble dry erase magnet or putting together a journal. Experiment with cartooning using a bendable figure, create your own cartoon strip, and decorate a can holder, a shopper tote, and a foam door hanger. Decorate a wooden pencil box, create a cartoon picture, and design a postcard with your story.
On July 16, “Superheroes” are the focus. Superheroes come in all shapes and sizes, from make-believe to real life, everyday protectors. Color a firefighter mask and hat, decorate a police officer hat, and design a dog tag necklace in recognition of our men and women in the armed services. Decorate a paper dad tie and make a super hero puppet of your mom. Use your imagination to assemble a foam superhero mask and decorate a cape, create your own superhero, and color a wooden knight shield key chain.
“Wild and Crazy Science” is the July 23 theme. Experiments help us test hypotheses and are used in biology, chemistry, physics, and geology. Create a variety of crafts that test scientific principles in the different areas of science; it’s time to go wild! Decorate a chemistry apron and color binoculars to dress the part. Assemble a kaleidoscope and a dragonfly thermometer. Decorate a wooden pinwheel, a sponge, and a spinning top. Find dinosaur fossils and try your hand at scientific toys.
“Mind Games and Puzzles” will entertain participants on July 30. Brain teasers and games challenge our problem solving abilities and strengthen our minds. Decorate and assemble a wide variety of puzzles and games including a triangle puzzle, a jigsaw puzzle, a tangram, and tic-tac-toe games. Fold a fortune teller game and solve a variety of word and number brain teasers. Learn to play cat’s cradle and solve a Museum mystery using a secret code.
The theme of the final session on August 6 is “Inspired by Nature.” Nature provides a variety of unique designs and patterns as well as materials to create with. Explore designs while decorating butterfly wings, a windsock, picture frames, and a fish print. Decorate a leather wristband, a bug box, and a cork-board. Investigate up close a collection of objects found in nature, and then use them to create textured rubbings. Admission to the Kalamazoo Valley Museum and participation in the Summer Hands-On series is free.
The Kalamazoo Valley Museum is operated by Kalamazoo Valley Community College and is governed by its Board of Trustees.