Choose Your Own Adventure

The Museums are open, but we know not everyone is able (or ready) to visit in person. That’s OK! We still have lots of fun available for you!

Whether you want to explore invention, artistry, or storytelling, learn more about the world around you and chart your own path right from home!  These activities—inspired by our special exhibitions, How People Make Things and The Outwin: American Portraiture Todaycan enhance a visit or stand alone, providing lots of opportunities to get your creative energy flowing.

Your support helps fund dynamic family programming that makes learning fun for all ages.

Please join us by making a gift today.

What Problem Does It Solve?

Look at the photos of the inventions developed in the Connecticut River Valley and match them to the problem they solve on the worksheet.

What Problem Does it Solve?
What Problem Will You Solve?

Think of a new invention that can help you or your family.  On the top half of your paper, use your pencil to describe your invention and the problem it solves, and give your invention a name. Using whatever art materials you have, draw your invention on the bottom half of your paper. Remember, inventors usually make many drawings of their invention before they get it just right, so keep trying until you get yours the way you want it!

What Problem Will You Solve?
The Neighborhood

There are many different buildings in a neighborhood: houses, apartment buildings, stores, police station, fire station, libraries, museums and schools, and many others.  What buildings does a neighborhood need?  What buildings would you want in your neighborhood?  Create your own neighborhood the way you envision it with all the buildings.  You can make it 3-dimensional by making buildings and drawing the roads and green spaces around them.

You Will Need:

  • Cardboard and paper scraps, empty paper towel rolls and toilet paper rolls
  • Masking tape or Scotch tape
  • Crayons/markers, colored pencils
Model of a neighborhood made from cardboard
Innovations in Art

Get inspiration from The Outwin and This is Us exhibits, and try to think of innovative ways that you can create a portrait of yourself, a family member or friend or even a pet.  Using the textured items you found along with the supplies you have, experiment with rubbings. Take a piece of paper and put it over the textured item and rub your crayon or pencil on the paper to capture the texture.  Once you have some textures that you like, use them together to create a portrait on another piece of paper.  Some suggestions for rubbings: a scrap of cardboard (the corrugated or bumpy side), a rug or towel, the sole of a sneaker, small floor tiles, or any hard or soft surface with texture.  Be sure to ask a grownup for some help with this activity!

Line drawing of a picture frame
Form Over Function

Everyday objects prioritize function over form, meaning they are designed to be more useful rather than beautiful.  Think of something like a brown paper bag.  It does a good job carrying groceries or your lunch but you would not consider it a thing of beauty.  As an artist you might want something to be both useful (function) and beautiful (form).  Pick one of the objects created in the Mr. Rogers Factory Tour videos below and describe ways you could make it more interesting to look at.  Write a few sentences and then draw your new and improved object.

Form Over Function
Four Seasons Trees

Asian arts often depict trees in different seasons all in one scene, to tell a story. Download the worksheet and draw a tree in each section, then decorate the tree trunks and the tree tops to show each season of the tree in succession, to tell the story of the dramatic changes a tree undergoes over the course of a year.

Four Seasons Trees
This Is Me

Look at some example of portraits in The Outwin and This Is Us exhibits below and observe how the artists used colors and shapes to tell the story of the person they depicted.  Think about these elements when you look at your favorite portraits: What is the mood of the piece?  What information can you tell about this person just by looking at this piece?  What emotions do you think the artist is trying to convey? Keeping all of these ideas in mind, create a self-portrait that tells a story about you.

Line drawing of a picture frame
How You Make Things

Fred Rogers believed that helping children understand how everyday objects were made was valuable and would help them understand the world around them.  Read the words on the list below and talk about their meanings with your grownups.  Have you ever made something?  How about a craft, your own toy, or a meal?  Download the worksheet and write the story using some of the words from the list about how you made something (and illustrate it).  If you are not writing yet, your grownup can help you write the story and then you can draw a picture of what your story is about.

  • Produce
  • Cut
  • Remove
  • Shape
  • Tools
  • Process
  • Mold
  • Form
  • Change
  • Parts
  • Material
  • Solid
  • Deform
  • Force
  • Suction
  • Twist
  • Push
  • Compress
  • Assembly
How You Make Things