Discovery Center Sends Out Snowy Adventures for Learning, Fun
More than 2,000 local children will get everything they need for at-home, educational, snowy adventures this winter. The Kansas Children’s Discovery Center is distributing over 2,000 Snowventures Discovery Kits to children in Topeka through partnerships with schools, child care centers and social service agencies. The kits contain science experiments, snowman accessories, pretend snowballs, art supplies, finger puppets and a book. Each kit also contains a Snowventures Playbook in English and Spanish that outlines different projects children can enjoy with box supplies and child development information for caregivers. The kit box itself transforms into a puppet theatre and an open-ended game to encourage pretend play and creativity.
What’s in the kit?
- Pretend snowballs: To encourage family fun and gross motor development
- Snowman Building Kit: A hat, scarf, buttons and nose to build a snowman in a fun reusable tote.
- Puppet Show Supplies: Polar bear finger puppets, cut-out puppets, a flashlight and the box itself create a miniature puppet theatre for dramatic play.
- Instant Snow: A just-add-water sensory experience that helps demonstrate cause and effect while encouraging experimentation.
- Art Supplies and Tools: including Model Magic clay, scissors, clothespins, popsicle sticks, scratch art, glue, pipe cleaners and more to encourage creative play.
- The Biggest Snowman Ever: A book about two friends who work together to build the ultimate snowman!
- The fully bilingual Snow-Ventures Playbook full of activity ideas and information about child development for caregivers. For example, the page about pretend snowballs explains: “Launching a snowball towards a target relies on force. Push and pull are forces your body can create. Which one are you using when you throw a snowball?” Parent-directed information on the same page expands on the activities with: “Kids can build a great foundation for reading by using opposite words, like warm and cold, smooth and rough, hard and soft, big and small.”
The Snowventures Discovery Kit is the latest in a series of at-home play programs from the Discovery Center during the pandemic. Shortly after closing the building in March, museum staff called and emailed thousands of local families to find out about their needs and responded with online activity videos and learning kit deliveries. Activities helped families use play to explore science, technology, engineering, art and math. Discovery at Home online videos were viewed nearly 400,000 times, and 350 learning kits were distributed. Museum programs have specifically targeted low-income and underserved children, out of concern for learning gaps created by limited access to educational resources for many families during the pandemic.
These Snowventures Discovery Kits are free to families. Funding for the kits was provided by local donors and Shawnee County Coronavirus Relief Funds for Community Based Programs. Boxes were packed by community volunteers, including volunteers from Junior League of Topeka. Space for socially-distant box packing was generously provided by Shawnee County Parks + Recreation, who allowed use of the Gage Park Carousel Room for a full week in support of the project. Thank you to all community partners who made this project a success!