Sunday fun

Leo finally got to meet one of the baby heads at the MFA after years of slowly driving past.

We went to see the new American Wing. Leo spent 40 minutes drawing the very first painting he saw — J.S. Copley’s “Portrait of H. R. H. the Prince of Wales at a Review, Attended by Lord Heathfield, General Turner, Col. Bloomfield, and Baron Eben; Col. Quinton in the Distance.”  It’s huge — over 12 feet tall and 10 feet wide — just the thing to stop a little boy in his tracks.


Higgins Armory, Worcester MA

A great day was had by all, but especially by Finn and Leo, who love knights right now.

Entering the steel and glass 1931 structure.  Some nice background on the museum here.

You get the idea — big room, big armor, entralled boys.

I find this really rather frightening!

At five and six years of age, it’s still really fun to dress up and run around a room.

This room doesn’t seem to fit, but it’s a lot of fun.  All sorts of mythical creatures are on display and the guide talks of them as if they are real.

Leo came home reciting the whole Daedelus and Icarus myth, as related to him by Professor Rufus Excalibur Bell.  Pretty cool!

Wenham Museum, Groveland Sledding Birthday Party

A strike on the train table
A strike on the train table at the Wenham Museum
And an arrest (who creates these???)
And an arrest (who creates these???)
Leo and Sabine stealing marshmellows from the hot chocolate table
Leo and Sabine stealing marshmellows from the hot chocolate table
Sam, Violette, ???, and Maya ready to go down the hill
Sam, Violette, ???, and Maya ready to go down the hill
Kendra and Isaac getting  a push from Kenny
Kendra and Isaac getting a push from Kenny
Finally, cake time! (times two)
Finally, cake time! (times two)
Happy birthday Violette and --
Happy birthday Violette and --

Back for more

Ben at the end of a great museum day
Leo, Sabine & Violette, laughing about something at the bakery
Ben showing Leo the scat collection
Ben shows off his favorite - the scat collection
Hmmm, bear poop?  I can't remember.  Thanks for exposing us to this, Ben!
Mmm, bear poop. Ben -- thanks for introducing this to Leo!

Museum Guard Quote of the Day:

“Do you have a lot of money?”

(this was the guard’s way of asking me to pick up my camera from the floor of the kids’s area where we were sprawled out playing with blocks and puzzles)

Polar Bears at the PEM

“Are you visting the museum?” asked the guard.  Why else would two adults and two children be inside the museum?  Would it be that hard to just say, “Welcome to the Peabody Essex — we’re so glad you are here”?

And then the woman who doles out the buttons asked if Sophie and I live at the same address.  If she bothered to look at the membership info, she would have figured that out .  Why can’t they be a little friendlier there???  Or at least assume the best of people instead of the worst.  Whoever is in charge of reception must scare the living daylights out of all of these people.

Despite all that, we had fun at the polar bear sculpture studio.

Sculpting polar bears
Sculpting polar bears

Sophie has fun too
Sophie has fun too

Great Kids’ Museum near Boston

We’ve been there many times before, but today we had another great time at the Peabody Essex Museum.  Though not officially a “children’s museum”, they try really hard to make kids welcome.  And now they’ve added a fun scavenger hunt in the form of this brochure, with two tear-off cards that kids can easily hold on to.

It’s their way (it seems) of getting kids to explore more than just the first floor of the museum, where the child-oriented “Idea Studio” is located.  The four year olds had fun doing the search, but the six year old with us, Lily, was really the one who could find the objects.

The shows in the kids’ room last for a year — the origami show is now over and a new one, Polar Attractions, is up. To see a cool slide show of some art (which you really won’t get to look at if you’re chasing small children), click here.

Here are more photos of what they had fun doing –

Caressing the Deborah Butterfield horse sculpture in the atrium
Caressing the Deborah Butterfield horse sculpture in the atrium
Looking into a periscope installation called Polar Peek-A-View
Looking into a periscope installation called Polar Peek-A-View
Inside one of the  "Peek-A-View"s
Inside one of the Peek-A-Views
Making up stories with the story tiles (always a favorite)
Making up stories with the story tiles (always a favorite)Playing a game
Designing a fish
Designing a fish
Hearing Nancy read "Edward the Emu" from one of the great activity boxes
Story with finger puppets from the activity boxes
doing the limbo underneath it)
Contemplating modern Native-American art (not pictured: doing the limbo underneath it)

Fun at the Exploratorium

I loved it as a kid and I love it as an adult.  Cousin Audrey showed Leo around on his first visit here.

The Angel Columns at the entrance Playing with black sand and two super strong magnets

Standing in the Angel Columns (do you see the figures?) /Audrey playing with black sand

Watching the discs roll down the slope (something to do with inertia)

watching disc race down a slope

Inside a kaleidoscope

Inside a kaleidoscope

Some REALLY good jumpers inside the shadow making machine

The Shadow Maker and some boys who were really good at jumping

Building a St. Louis Arch

Leo, Audrey & Ted show off their arch-making skills

Rainy Saturday

Finn and his man purse

We met up with Finn & Steph at the A&J King Bakery in Salem, MA where they make the world’s best sticky buns. Finn does a good job here of trying to fit it into his mouth


Leo does his best Tom Brady impression


Leo and Finn show off their unique sense of style on Front Street.


Finn getting up close & personal with the folk art Noah’s Ark at the Peabody Essex


Leo admiring his favorite museum object, the model of the Cunard Line RMS Queen Elizabeth, built in 1949 by Bassett-Lowke Ltd. 


Finn, with his man purse, takes a break from all the art.


“Finny, let’s watch TV!”

Yes, that’s what Leo said when he saw the TV at the Wenham Museum exhibit on old toys. They didn’t sit there long, but they enjoyed it while it lasted.

While Finn ironed (this will make Uncle Stevie in London proud!!), Leo dressed up went in the playhouse. Then Finn and Leo set up shop, but eventually they had a fight over who got to run the cash register.

Steph found a great article about why imaginative play, like they are doing here (in 3 out of 4 photos), is so important and why kids are doing less and less of it (blame the other photo).

Here’s the story (you can listen or read):