Thursday, December 13, 2012

The Grinch’s Holiday Workshop at CMOM

LC loves Dr. Seuss books and the animated televised classics. So, she was extremely excited to go to the new exhibit at the Children's Museum of Manhattan (CMOM) called the Grinch's Holiday Workshop. She was proud of the hat she made there and she didn't want to take it off afterwards (thank goodness the wind didn't blow it away, since she wore it all the way home).

She even wore the hat to her class at the American Museum of Natural History - the teacher and his assistants complimented her on it.

The CMOM calendar shows the various workshops held each day and this exhibit is open until January 6, 2013. To squeeze this visit into our busy holiday schedule, we had to go on a day when the costumed character was not going to be present. But lots of days remain with "Meet the Grinch" on the schedule, for those who really want to see him. I was surprised how crowded it was even though we chose to go on a day without the character present; I was hoping the area wouldn't be overrun by toddlers. Though this particular exhibit is not very interactive, nor is the space appropriate for play (unlike other CMOM exhibits), a large group of tots stayed there for a long time...they were screaming, crying (begging to go home), running (almost bumping into us many times), throwing balls, spilling drinks or urinating (I couldn't tell the difference, a poor staff member had to come to mop up the hard wood floor). The CMOM staff deserve employee awards or bonuses for always maintaining their cool, keeping smiles on their faces and remaining professional.

We stayed long enough for LC to look at all the giant Dr. Seuss illustrations (she loves the drawings), happily pose with the cutouts, work on a couple of fun art projects and listen to a couple of books being read to the group.

She had a I am happy that we went, despite the noisy chaos in the lower level. Yes, we followed the suggestion of CMOM's FAQ, but it wasn't true for this visit...they state "Wednesday and Thursday afternoons during the school year tend to be our quietest times."

We discovered too late, at the end of our visit, that there was a scavenger hunt list to help visitors make their way throughout the exhibit:

The Dr. Seuss Story Time went on a bit too long, since the friendly staff members didn't seem too familiar with the books, nor knowledgeable about the author. You can't expect young people who probably don't have their own children to read these stories the way parents or teachers might (who have likely read these stories dozens of times and don't need to pay close attention to every word they are reading on each page). Also, the fact that the group consisted mostly of toddlers slowed things down a lot, since a couple of kids interrupted many times to ask questions. LC has watched How the Grinch Stole Christmas! (TV 1966) on her portable purple DVD player every week for the last it was great they chose to read that book first. LC also enjoyed listening to One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish being read, one of her favorite books last year, then we moved on to other activities while the storytelling continued in the background.

A wonderful part of the exhibit is that they have a table set up for the Who-ville Card-Making. So kids can make cards that will be delivered, along with donated toys and books, to families in Brooklyn and Staten Island who were affected by Hurricane Sandy.

It would have been an improvement if they didn't have a character printed already on the page. The act of coloring it in isn't very creative. I wish they had a book on the table, so kids could look at various characters drawn by Dr. Seuss and copy them (or perhaps have cardboard cutouts for kids to trace). As it is, the staff spent a lot of time helping the large group of the few older kids were on their own (I had to ask staff for crayons because the table was empty after tots took all the supplies). Though LC did add a personal touch to the back of the card, after coloring in the printout, drawing a heart and writing her name.

LC was very much looking forward to making her own Dr. Seuss-inspired rhyming hat. She chose pink paper to be taped to the newspaper hat (the staff made that base in advance, though, so we didn't learn how they shaped it so nicely for a child's head). An improvement for the project would have been to give these kids (who are not toddlers) blank white labels and colorful markers so they could write their own custom rhyming words to stick to the hats. LC has been fascinated lately with rhyming words...coming up to me and telling me things like "mommy, does clock and rock rhyme?" etc. Regardless, I found pre-printed stickers that had the rhyme "day" and "play" (i.e. we play all day) in the bin and that's what LC used on her hat. She very much enjoyed decorating the hat with blue tape and various colors and shapes of paper and foam well as attaching a festive pipe cleaner to it. The hat has held up pretty well.

Sadly, I think LC will outgrow CMOM in about a year. So, I hope they have another couple of awesome new exhibits in 2013.