Let’s Have a Ball!

The last few months we’ve been talking all about simple activity ideas, using our favorite things, books, blocks, and balls. Today we’re going to wrap up these simple activities by focusing on balls!

Balls have dynamics all their own:  they bounce, roll when pushed, soar when thrown, move unassisted down a ramp and come to a complete stop.  Because of this the dynamics of moving balls can help your child learn principles of physics and cause and effect.

Here’s some fun activities to try at home:

Quite the Catch: Using a variety of balls, try the following activities:

Drop the ball, let it bounce and then catch it.

Throw the ball into the air and catch it.

See how high you can throw the ball and still catch it.

Throw the ball into the air and see how many times you can clap your hands before you catch it.

Throw the ball against the wall and catch it.

Throw the ball back and forth with a friend.

Home Bowling: Using empty water or soda bottles, set up a small group of at least five bottles. Standing a few feet away, have your child roll a ball to the bottles and see how many he can know down. Make it a game with other people!

Balls in the Air: Hold the corners of a small blanket with your child to create a parachute. Place balls on the blanket and throw them up, trying to catch them on the blanket. Try different sized balls to add variation.

The Rhyming Ball Game: First have everyone sit in a circle. Hold a ball and say a word then roll it to the next person. The person who receives the ball then says a word that rhymes with your word. See how many words the circle can come up with, before picking a new word and starting again.

When you’re at Discovery Gateway next, be sure to have a ball in the Beehive exhibit in the Garden, the Magnet Wall in the STEAM Studio, the New Move It exhibit, and more!


Blocks–Building More Than You Realize!

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Picture this–You’ve just bought your child a great new toy. It’s fun, it’s colorful, and it’s supposed to be great for their development! You are so excited to pull it out and start the fun! But the next thing you know your child is playing with the empty box it came in and having the time of his life. Does this experience sound familiar?

I can’t tell you how many times I have heard this type of story from parents! Children are curious beings and can make toys out of just about anything. Because of this some of our favorite toys to suggest to parents are a simple set of wooden blocks.

While playing with blocks, children learn all about counting, equality, addition, subtraction, planning, patterns, volume, classification, area and measurement. When parents engage with their child in block play it also provides teaching moments for social skills, language and exploration.

Check out these activity ideas to add some variety to your family’s block play:

  • Make your own blocks: Using standard size boxes (milk cartons, capri sun, etc.) you can make blocks by covering them with sturdy wrapping paper or contact paper. Allow your child to guide the activity and discuss the sizes as you create the blocks.
  • Create your home: Have your child look at the neighborhood and your home. Help them build a structure like your home. Make sure you take pictures and show off your child’s work whenever friends or family are around.
  • Knock ’Em Down: Margarine tubs are best for this. Children stack them up, then with flourish, knock them down. Of course, everyone applauds. Then you do it all over again. Kids love it!
  • Ramp It: Create a variety of ramps with blocks. Roll a small ball down the ramps. Which incline makes the ball roll slower? Faster?
  • Making Patterns: Provide blocks of different shapes or colors. Create a pattern for children to repeat, such as square, rectangle, square, rectangle or red, blue, red, blue. Ask children to create new patterns for you to repeat.
  • Visit Discovery Gateway’s Block Party Exhibit: Children can build amazing structures from floor to ceiling with the giant blue blocks, connecting parts into the gallery walls, and transforming the space with power of their imaginations.

Trent Nelson | The Salt Lake Tribune Lily Edmondson plays in the new Imagination Playground Block Party at Discovery Gateway Children’s Museum in Salt Lake City, Thursday October 1, 2015.

Help Me Grow Utah has hundreds of age appropriate activity ideas for parents at no cost! You can learn more by calling 801-691-5322 or visiting helpmegrowutah.org

Kali Iverson—Community Liaison

Celebrate the Week of the Young Child!

Childhood is a celebration every day, but did you know that once a year we actually have a whole week dedicated to it? April 10 – 16 has been declared by the National Association for the Education of Young Children as the Week of the Young Child. During this week especially parents and families can make a special effort to celebrate the youngsters that surround us!

Here are a few ideas from the National Association for the Education of Young Children to make the most of this special week!

Music Monday!

Through music, children develop math, language, and literacy skills – All while having fun and being active! Find the beat to connect music, movement, and math. Practice clapping, drumming, or stomping to the beat of the music while counting.

Taco Tuesday 

Cooking together connects math with literacy skills, science, and more. Measure your ingredients while making your tacos! Ask children if they’d like the same or different amounts of each ingredient.

Work Together Wednesday 

When children build together they explore math and science concepts and develop their social and early literacy skills. Practice organizing blocks by size! Try building a block tower with large blocks on the bottom and little blocks on top!

Artsy Thursday

Children develop creativity, social skills and fine motor skills with open-ended art projects where they can make choices, use their imaginations, and create with their hands. Bring art outdoors! Offer dark and light paper, chalk and pastels, and suggest children create their own versions of the day and night sky!

Family Friday

Engaging and celebrating families is at the heart of supporting our youngest learners. Have a Family Friday breakfast, where you and your children can prepare and share breakfast treats while sharing memories!

Source: https://www.naeyc.org/woyc

To celebrate the Week of the Young Child Discovery Gateway Children’s Museum, Help Me Grow Utah, and other community partners are having an April Baby Shower! Bring your youngest learners and enjoy fun and interactive party activities including a ball pit, sensory wall and crawl, hand-print art, and giant bubbles! Join us at Discovery Gateway April 14, from 12pm to 4pm. Free admission for children ages 0-36 months.

2016: Collect Moments this Year

Early Childhood Connections by Help Me Grow Utah by Kali Iverson—Community Liaison

As we all know the start of the New Year generally means new goals, new experiences, and a new sense of determination. For me and my family, it’s also a time to reflect on the past year and dream big for the year to come. We love to reminisce about the happy times, talk about how much we’ve grown because of the hard times, and smile at all the times that brought laughter to our lives.

We do a lot of fun and memorable things as a family, but sometimes they can get lost in the bustle of everyday life if we don’t record them. One of my personal goals this year is to record and focus on the good experiences I’ll have throughout the year.

I decided to create a memory jar to collect memories throughout the year. One of the reasons I chose this method is because it’s something my family and I can easily do together and it’s as easy as writing just a few sentences (great for all of us non-journal writers out there)! I found the instructions for the jar we made here

On our slips of paper, we decided we wanted to record things like

  • Memories that make us smile or laugh
  • Fun things we did as a family
  • Experiences that we learn from
  • Life lessons that others teach us
  • Things that we accomplish, big or small

Doing something like this is a great way to get your children involved in keeping the history of your family. Make sure you help them record things that are important to them. I’m sure they will begin to love putting memories into the jar as much as they will love reading them at the end of the year!

Have any of you tried a memory jar before or something similar? How did it work for your family? We’d love to hear your thoughts!

The Bumble Bee Bash Children’s Festival at The Gateway – Entertainment & Offerings

BBB600x315pxAA Special Fundraising Event to Benefit Discovery Gateway’s Programs and Exhibits

Saturday, June 21

11 am – 7 pm

Members: $5

All events listed below are included in admission*

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Main Stage – Courtyard

Line Up:

11 – 11:45 am The Departure

12 – 12:45 pm MusicGarage-Kids!

1 – 1:45 pm SiverVein

About MusicGarage.Org:

MusicGarage.Org is a Utah-based agency whose staff have trained and placed hundreds of youth, ages 6-19 in bands to perform at hundreds of venues, fairs and festivals since 2009.  We do this in our state-of-the-art 3,000 sq ft facility that includes our own concert venue, recording facility, rehearsal and lessons studios.  Call us at 801-577-BAND to take advantage of our free teacher referral service or join us for jam night; where kids can come by and jam with other kids to get to know us and what we do.


Belly Dancing by Thia

Helicopter Terrace

11 am – 4 pm

About Belly Dancing by Thia:

Belly dancing is more than just a form of dance—it’s a form of expression, meant to give you control over your own style, routine and appearance. At Belly Dancing By Thia, we want to give you the complete belly dancing experience, from learning about this time-honored form of art through exceptional dance lessons in Salt Lake City, to sharing it with others who will appreciate its beauty.


ADC Irish Dancers

Lower Atrium

15 Minute Performances 11 am 12 & 1 pm

45 Minute Performance 2 pm

About ADC Irish Dancers:

An Dragan Ceilteach Irish Dancers includes dancers from age 4-Adult. An Dragan Ceilteach means “Celtic Dragon”. We are a performance based Irish Dance School and enjoy sharing our talents within the community. This summer, we have performed at the Highland Festival at Thanksgiving Point and look forward to performing at the Payson Scottish Festival held on July 11th and 12th. We invite all to attend our annual Celtic Celebration held on July 2nd at the Murray Park Amphitheater at 7:30 pm. Admission is free at this community event. We hope you will join us for an evening of traditional and contemporary Irish Dance!

Discovery Gateway- Bumblebee Bash

Changing Faces: Face Painting

Curiosity Shop

11 am – 7 pm


Balloon Granny: Balloon Art

Carol Wilson

Curiosity Shop

11 am – 1 pm

Discovery Gateway- Bumblebee Bash

Changing Faces: Balloon Art

Curiosity Shop

1 – 7 pm


Discovery Gateway Educational Programming: Art

Studio 444

11 am – 7 pm

Bumble Bee Bash Bouquets

*Free programming; admission not required.

Generously supported by Salt Lake City Arts Council, Salt Lake County’s Zoo, Arts and Parks program, and Sorenson Legacy Foundation. This project is supported in part by the Utah Arts & Museums, with funding from the State of Utah.

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Discovery Gateway Educational Programming: STEM Science Tables

Workshop Room

11 am – 7 pm

Visit each activity table representing a value of STEM

Science: Cabbage Juice chemical Reaction

Technology: Electricity and Circuits

Engineering: Simple Machines

Math: Scales and measurement


Utah Puppet Players

The Kem and Carolyn Gardner Theater

11:30 am – 12:30 pm

The Treasure Chest

Our boy hero thinks he is simply going fishing for the day.  But instead, he encounters a salty pirate, a talking sea serpent, and a mysterious sea chest with very peculiar noises coming from within.  Just what is going on here?


Picture It Photo Booth 

Birthday Room

12:30 – 2:30 pm

Bob the Builder will make special appearances in the photo booth from 12:30 – 1 pm and 1:30 – 2 pm


Mike Hamilton Magic with a Message 

Kem and Carolyn Gardner Theater

1 & 2 pm

Join award-winning magician Mike Hamilton as he reveals the magic of reading! Hamilton’s Magic with a Message® has been enjoyed by children all across the Wasatch Front and is filled with tons of mind-boggling illusions.


Wasatch Music Coaching Academy

Main Stage – Courtyard

2 – 6:30 pm

Line up:

WMCA Funk Band

 Copy Machine 

 The Waldronz

Band on the Moon 

About Wasatch Music Coaching Academy:

For the past 10 years, Wasatch Music Coaching Academy has given young people and adults alike endless opportunities to discover and develop their love and passion of music. We offer instruction on all instruments and vocals, and currently rehearse 14 WMCA bands weekly, including jazz bands, rock/pop bands (covers and original music), funk band and percussion ensembles. Our staff includes many of the most sought after local performing musicians, most of which have college degrees in music.

phun with physics

Phun with Physics with Tori Spratling

Kem and Carolyn Gardner Theater

Time: 3 & 4 pm

Live physics demos like you have never seen before! What do balloons, bicycle wheels, liquid nitrogen, flowers and a vacuum pump have in common? Ask Phun with Physics scientist Tori Spratling from the University of Utah’s Department of Physics & Astronomy. These energetic and interactive live physics demonstration will reveal science at work to both kids and adults.


Utah Children’s Theatre

Kem and Carolyn Gardner Theater

4:30, 5:30 & 6:30 pm

To Bee or Not to Bee – written by Youthstage Students

Izzy Bee is next in line to be Queen, but she isn’t sure she wants to take on the responsibility. Since her mother is so busy with royal responsibilities, Izzy turns to her best friend Dizzy for support. With her friend’s help, Izzy is introduced to other professions that might be a better fit. Meanwhile, neighboring Cuckoo Bees, Thorn and Thistle, are planning an invasion of Izzy’s hive. When Izzy discovers the plan, she unites the citizens to thwart the invasion and learns some lessons about herself in the process.

 About Utah Children’s Theatre:

Utah Children’s Theatre has excelled at bringing family-friendly entertainment to the stage for over 28 years. As Utah’s premiere theatre for young audiences, its mission statement is “inspiring children to cultivate creativity through the theatrical arts.” Utah Children’s Theatre has five distinct programs to accomplish this: Theatre school, Youthstage performances, Mainstage performances, a Shakespeare Festival for Kids and school field trips.

Recent awards received by Utah Children’s Theatre include:

Best of State 2014 in Children’s Theatre and Playwriting

Best of State 2013 in Community Arts

2013 Mayor’s Award for Design Excellence (for the renovation of the historic Avalon Theatre

Salt Lake Magazine’s Best of the Beehive 2012: Best Kid’s Entertainment by Kids (Youthstage)

Nickelodeon’s Parent’s Pick award for Best Summer Camps (2009) and Theatre for Children (2010).

For more information on summer camps, tickets to the Shakespeare Festival for Kids or other upcoming events at Utah Children’s Theatre, please go to our website at www.uctheatre.org or call the box office at 801-532-6000.

Food Trucks will be outside the museum on 100 South from 11 am – 2 pm

*Free activity; admission not required

Please, no food inside the museum


Georgia Boy Food Truck

Rabadue’s Saucey Skillet

Salt City Dogs


Sweeto Burrito

A Mobile Free Fall Stunt Jump will also be outside the museum 11 am – 2 pm

Stuffed Animals’ Night at the Museum

Thursday, Aug.15th-Friday, Aug. 16th
Members: $5
Nonmembers: $10
Register online or
call Rebecca at 801-456-5437 x113

What fun adventures could you go on if you had the museum all to yourself for the night? Let your favorite stuffed animal find out for you!

Thursday August 15th – Drop off your stuffed animal at the museum anytime between 10 am and 6 pm

Friday August 16th | 9 am – Pick up animals, enjoy a breakfast treat while watching a slide show of their adventures, and then receive early access to the museum for playtime.

Register now — space is limited.

ISEE Outreach Education: Summer School at Jackson Elementary


By: Nicole Anderson

During the summertime things are a bit quiet in the ISEE Outreach Science Education Department at Discovery Gateway: The Children’s Museum of Utah. At least that’s how it was last year. This year it is a whole different story. This year, our Outreach Science Education Team, Lauren Fletcher, Phillip Evans, Laura England, and Nicole Anderson under the direction of our CEO, Maria Farrington have decided to adopt Jackson Elementary School in Salt Lake City. The plan is to work together and spread the word that science is fun!

In preparation for the summer school program the education team created a new curriculum that is educational, fun, and adaptable to all grades K-6.  The curriculum ranges from a focus on habitat changes, physics, the universe, and wetlands. The summer school program runs for five weeks and began last Monday, June 10th with the team presenting a lesson in science about the adaptation and survival of animals that live in different habitats.

Different animals have adapted to certain habitats throughout the world. In order to help the students understand the meaning of adaptation they were to use their imagination to create and draw an animal. They were given six small papers with each one having a different characteristic of an animal such as a nose, tail, feet, eyes, a covering such as feathers or fur, and their habitat in which they call home.


For example the nose could have been one that was long and skinny, short and fat, slits for nostrils, or perhaps gills.  The students were presented these same types of characteristics in each area. Webbed feet, long tails, insects, mammals, and fish that all lived in the desert or had feathers on their bodies.

As the children laughed and drew their animal the team taught them about where these animals may live, how they keep warm or cool, and whether or not they could swim or fly (or maybe even both.) We saw some of the craziest, wild animal creations and then we surprised the students and explained how learning about different habitats is part of science.

The students learned that science can be fun! They asked if we were coming back the next day and although we were saddened that we couldn’t go every day, we are thrilled to present our new curriculum to the students every Monday for the next four weeks. We can’t wait to see what next week brings as Phillp Evans presents his lesson on Physics as he hopes to have the force be with you.

Stay tuned for another week of science adventures!