My Sky at Stepping Stones Museum for Children

The Stepping Stones Museum for Children in Norwalk has a fabulous new exhibit through Memorial Day called My Sky that is funded by NASA and created through a partnership between Boston Children’s Museum and Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory.

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My Sky is an exhibit about the universe. But it is also about each of us, and how the sky above impacts our lives here on Earth. The sky is, after all, universal. It is something we all share. My Sky invites children and adults to explore the Sun, the Moon and the stars together in an immersive, inviting environment. Families are encouraged to “look up” not only when they visit the exhibit, but also in their everyday lives. And My Sky gives families the chance to practice science skills like observing, communicating, noticing patterns, predicting, imagining and more — science skills that are fundamental to astronomy, and skills that scientists and engineers use every day.

The sky is also a source of endless inspiration for people from all walks of life, and My Sky introduces us to a few of these people. From scientists and astronomers who work to investigate and understand the universe; to artists and sculptors who create monuments and representations of the awesome and the serene; to writers and musicians who capture, through words and melody, the feelings that arise when we gaze up at the Moon, or stare silently at the stars. The universe is inspiring. It is mind boggling. It is full of wonder. My Sky invites you to feel all of that.

For more information http://www.steppingstonesmuseum.org. For more area event information www.visitfairfieldcountyct.com

Dog Days of Summer arrives early at the Stepping Stones Museum for Children

Stepping Stones Museum for Children is once again going to the dogs on Saturday, June 14…and they couldn’t be happier. The museum will host its fourth annual, day-long festival celebrating the powerful and important bonds between humans and their animal friends. BooZoo™’s Canine Carnival, where play and learning go hand-in-paw, will take place at Stepping Stones on June 14 between 10:00 am – 5:00 pm. The event is free with museum admission.

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The Canine Carnival is hosted by BooZoo, the museum’s fictional puppy mascot for early childhood learning and literacy, and will feature carnival games for families and dogs, pooch and people pics in our prop-laden photo booth, a meet-and-greet with BooZoo, a “pampered pooch” area featuring a dog wash and day spa, story times with BooZoo, bobbing for doggie treats and so much more. All canine friends, accompanied by owners, are welcome to take part in carnival activities under the tent of the museum’s Celebration Courtyard.

Visitors are invited to enter their dog(s) in the museum’s Crazy Canine Contest at 11:30 am.

A panel will judge the dogs in the following categories: best dressed, fastest tail wager, fluffiest, best smile, best ears and walks with attitude. Each dog will be judged in all categories. And who says you can’t teach an old dog new tricks? Visitors will be able to sign up for a 5-minute time slot to give their four-legged, furry friends an opportunity to show off his or her tricks. Dogs must be licensed and accompanied by people who are 15 years or older. Owners are responsible for cleaning up after their dogs.

A highlight of the day is sure to be when assistance dogs from the Canine Companions for Independence® conduct a demonstration in the museum’s Multimedia Gallery. Founded in 1975, the world-renowned Canine Companions for Independence is a national non-profit which provides highly-skilled assistance dogs to adults, veterans and children with disabilities free of charge. Canine Companions created the concept of assistance dogs for people with physical disabilities. During BooZoo’s Canine Carnival, the assistance dogs will be put through a routine demonstrating their ability to follow commands, open doors, flip on light switches, pick up dropped items and complete other important daily tasks. A Canine Companions staff member will talk about how the dogs are bred, trained and matched with their human counterparts, transforming the lives of people with disabilities by increasing their independence and providing loving companionship.

Another special component of the event will take place when Milford’s John Tartaglio, an inspirational speaker, shares his story with the audience. Tartaglio was 17 years old when he contracted an extremely rare bacterial infection. With his condition dire, doctors were left with no choice but to amputate his legs and left bicep. Tartaglio was only given a 20% chance to live, but he survived and now thrives. He graduated cum laude from Fairfield University. Told by medical professionals that he would never walk again, Tartaglio has completed marathons and triathlons. As a motivational speaker, he speaks to audiences about overcoming adversity, building a positive attitude and turning it into positive actions, leadership and teamwork. Empowering his audiences with his story, Tartaglio challenges people to reach their goals, raise their personal standard and expect more out of themselves because he is living proof that anything is possible.

Throughout the event, the mobile unit of the North Shore Animal League, the world’s largest no-kill animal rescue and adoption organization, will be on hand with staff members available to answer questions and showcase some of their adoptable friends. Between noon and 2:00 pm, Shake Shack will be on hand in our courtyard serving “Pooch-ini®,” a custard-based doggy snack.

About BooZoo

Building on the commitment to promote early childhood development and reading literacy for young children, the museum developed the BooZoo character three years ago. BooZoo is a toy puppy who lives in Tot Town™, the museum’s toddler exhibit. He’s smart, incurably curious and loves reading books.

For additional information about BooZoo’s Canine Carnival, visit www.steppingstonesmuseum.org/CanineCarnival.

Copyright © 2001-2012 Catalytic Group Inc.

STEPPING STONES MUSEUM FOR CHILDREN TO HOST A STORYBOOK PAJAMA PARTY FEATURING THE VERY HUNGRY CATERPILLAR ON MAY 2

Throw on your most comfy and cozy set of pajamas and head over to Stepping Stones Museum for Children on Friday, May 2, from 6:00 – 8:30 pm for a special evening story time featuring Eric Carle’s The Very Hungry Caterpillar.

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Stepping Stones is excited to bring the Very Hungry Caterpillar to the museum for the first time as 2014 marks the 45th anniversary of the release of this classic children’s tale. By the time you travel home “by the light of the moon” at the evening’s end, your child will be fulfilled by the smorgasbord of play-filled fun and ready for the warm “cocoon” of his or her bed.

The museum’s second Storybook Pajama Party of 2014 will be “stuffed” with family fun. Not only will you get to sit in for story times with the Very Hungry Caterpillar, but you’ll also get to take photos with a life-sized version of the caterpillar with the voracious appetite. There will be a tremendous number of Hungry Caterpillar-themed crafts and activities as you celebrate his metamorphosis from ‘hungry caterpillar’ to ‘beautiful butterfly.’

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Pajama party guests can make a days-of-the-week calendar or construct a colorful chrysalis that would make the Hungry Caterpillar proud. They can dress up like a fruit or leaf and crawl through a caterpillar tube or free play with butterfly wings. Guests can use their imagination to design brilliantly bright, butterfly wings or create a collage in the style that Eric Carle uses to illustrate his books. They can also make a necklace that will resemble the trail of foodstuffs left behind in the wake of the Hungry Caterpillar’s seven-day eating binge. If a moment of peace and quiet is what you seek, guests can snuggle up with a number of other Eric Carle stories in the cocoon of our special bedtime story corner. The evening will wrap up with a musical Fly Away Home Parade throughout the entire museum.

The Stepping Stones Cafe will be open during the event and serving up some appropriately-themed items for purchase. Enjoy the fantastic fare, but don’t overindulge like the Hungry Caterpillar or you’ll wind up with a stomach ache.

Tickets for this event cost $10 per person for museum members and $15 per person for non-members. Children under the age of one will be admitted for free. Storybook Pajama Party tickets are non-refundable and non-transferable. Registration is required. Space is limited and tickets are selling briskly, so register early. Call 203 899 0606, ext. 264 or visit www.steppingstonesmuseum.org.

Winter Wonderland Children’s Ball February 22

Calling all little princes and princesses! Stepping Stones is rolling out the red carpet as the museum transforms into a snow-kissed wonderland for its sixth annual Winter Wonderland Children’s Ball on Saturday, February 22 from 6:00 – 8:30 pm.

Winter wonderland ball. Photo credit: Thomas McGovern
Winter wonderland ball. Photo credit: Thomas McGovern

Children are invited to dress up in their party best for a memorable evening of fun and entertainment. Moms and Dads, sons and daughters will be treated like the princes and princesses that they are as they enjoy a magical wintry celebration featuring dancing and full access to all the exhibits in the museum. Families will enjoy posing for the paparazzi as they arrive, learning ballroom moves from the experts and making wonderful winter crafts.

Winter Ball Photo credit Thomas McGovern
Winter Ball Photo credit Thomas McGovern

Be sure you bring your camera. Photo opportunities abound as we celebrate the magic and wonder of the season amidst a whimsical winter backdrop of a lighted courtyard, a play-sized igloo, a life-sized snow globe, spectacular winter murals, snowflake-adorned galleries and a myriad of snow people. Bring your appetite as well. The Stepping Stones Cafe will be open for purchases of their healthy fare.

Photo Miguel Cruz
Photo Miguel Cruz

Tickets for this unforgettable evening for the whole family cost $10 per person for museum members and $15 per person for non-members. Children under the age of one will be admitted for free. Winter Wonderland Children’s Ball tickets are non-refundable and non-transferable. Registration is required. Space is limited, so register early. Call 203 899 0606, ext. 264 or visit www.steppingstonesmuseum.org/wonderland. For area information www.visitfairfieldcountyct.com

About Stepping Stones Museum for Children
Stepping Stones Museum for Children in Norwalk, Conn., is an award-winning, private, non-profit 501(c)(3) children’s museum committed to broadening and enriching the lives of children and families. Located on five acres in Mathews Park, the LEED Gold certified museum encompasses five hands-on galleries, state-of-the-art Multimedia Gallery, Family and Teacher Resource Center, cafe and retail store. Stepping Stones is located at 303 West Avenue, exit 14N or 15S off I-95 in Norwalk. Museum hours are Monday – Sunday, 10:00 am – 5:00 pm. Admission is $15 for adults and children. Children under 1 are free. To learn more, call 203 899 0606 or visit http://www.steppingstonesmuseum.org.

Stepping Stones Museum for Children Announces 2014 Around the World Program

Exposure to the world’s diverse cultures and customs provides priceless educational opportunities for our children. Through the Stepping Stone Museum for Children’s highly popular and award-winning Around the World programming, families can explore the world without leaving Norwalk through cultural programs brought to life.

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The Stepping Stones Museum for Children is proud to announce the 12 Around the World “destinations” selected for each month of 2014. Frequent Around the World participants will be able to achieve “World Traveler” status and attend an exclusive end-of-the-year event in December 2014.

Since 2009, Stepping Stones has been transporting children and parents to 12 different parts of the world each year. Each month, museum guests get an extensive look at a different country’s customs through their engaging, interactive Around the World Performance Series events featuring youth performers and professional artists and musicians and their Around the World Creative Kids offering hands-on cultural craft activities.

Throughout the month, the designated country is represented on the museum’s walls with a map display and travel guide, in the Multimedia Gallery with a short film and interactive digital media floor games broadcast at various times each day and in the Family and Teacher Resource Center with the Around the World Bookshelf offering children’s books about the featured country. School vacation weeks are dedicated to Around the World programs and include special crafts, story times and activities.

From the program’s inception, participants have been receiving a keepsake Around the World “passport” that is stamped to keep track of each destination they have “visited.” Stepping Stones registers each child’s passport to keep track of his or her participation. If a child “visits” at least 6 countries during the year, he or she will receive “World Traveler” status and will be invited to the special World Travelers’ event in December 2014.

Experiencing the world’s diverse cultures can be enriching and rewarding. Below is the 2014 roster of countries that will be “explored” at the Stepping Stones Museum for Children located on 303 West Avenue, exit 14N or 15S off I-95 in Norwalk. Museum hours are Labor Day through Memorial Day, Tuesday—Sunday and holiday Mondays from 10 am-5pm; and Memorial Day through Labor Day, Monday-Sunday from 10 am-5 pm. Admission is $15 for adults and children and $10 for seniors. Children under 1 are free. To learn more, call 203 899 0606 or visit www.steppingstonesmuseum.org

2014 Around The World Performance Series Schedule:

January 18, 2014
Ballet Los Pampas – Argentina

February 15, 2014
Soro Bindi – Ghana

March 8, 2014
Inca Son – Peru

April 19, 2014
Kahana Hula – Samoa

May 3, 2014
Rossijanochka Folk Dance Troupe – Russia

June 21, 2014
Didgequest – Australia

July 26, 2014
Music and Dance of the Scottish Highlands – Scotland
August 16, 2014
Surcari – Chile

September (Date TBA)
Greek Mythology – Greece

October 25, 2014
The Catskill Puppet Theater presents The Lion’s Whiskers – Ethiopia

November 8, 2014
Shane Long – United States (Native Americans)

December 13, 2014
ABBA Girlz – Sweden

Secret of Circles at Stepping Stones Museum for Children

What do a bagel, a ball and a banana all have in common? Cut them through the center and each one has a circle inside! Circles are extremely familiar because they are simply everywhere, but why? The solution to this mystery and many others can be found by exploring Secrets of Circles, a new 2,000-square foot exhibit at Stepping Stones Museum for Children through January 5, 2014.

Circles are pretty amazing shapes. If you look around, you’ll find them in the wheels of a car, the clocks on the wall, the Frisbees you play with or the tortillas on your table. So simple, and yet so incredibly powerful, the circle is found in many places in nature and has been used in many ways by people throughout time and across cultures. But why are they so ubiquitous? What makes them the best shape for both pizza and a barrel? What other secrets can they possibly have?

Discover the secrets at Stepping Stones this fall. Explore this intriguing phenomenon with eighteen interactive, original components that place visitors at the center of experiences rich with the math, science, engineering, and beauty of circles. Whether you are drawing a perfect glow-in-the-dark circle at the Compass Table or building your own gear contraptions in Gear UP!, children and adults alike are uncovering the properties of a simple shape with powerful applications.

Circles are one of the first shapes that very young children learn to identify. As children get older, studying circles helps them understand basic STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) and STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics) concepts. The exhibit is not only educational, but provides hands-on activities that are really fun for children and families.

Secrets of Circles is designed to intrigue a wide range of ages, as well as visitors from different backgrounds. Signage is tri-lingual, (English, Spanish, and Vietnamese) and spaces are wheelchair accessible. The rich colors, beautiful bamboo plywood, eco-friendly building materials, and cultural and historical artifacts within the exhibit represent people and circles from around the world and over time. The exhibit will inspire many questions and encourage further investigation.

Visit Secrets of Circles and your world will suddenly be transformed into a delicious puzzle for your investigation. After all, circles are everywhere, and each circle has a secret for you to uncover!

ABOUT STEPPING STONES MUSUEM FOR CHILDREN

Stepping Stones Museum for Children is an award-winning, private, non-profit 501 (c)(3) children’s museum committed to broadening and enriching the lives of children and families. For more information about Stepping Stones, to book a field trip or schedule a class, workshop or facility rental call 203-899-0606 or visit http://www.steppingstonesmuseum.org.

Stepping Stones Museum for Children is located at 303 West Avenue, Norwalk, CT, exit 14 North and 15 South off I-95. Museum hours are: Memorial Day through Labor Day, Monday-Sunday from 10 am-5 pm; and Labor Day through Memorial Day, Tuesday—Sunday and holiday Mondays from 10 am-5pm. Admission is $15 for adults and children and $10 for seniors. Children under 1 are free. To learn more visit www.steppingstonesmuseum.org or call 203 899 0606.