To support summer and at-home learning for under-resourced families within Greater Boston, Boston Children’s Museum created several activity kits designed for families with young children (under age 10). The kits included fun and engaging materials to help children and families play, explore, and create together.
200 kits with school and craft supplies for school-aged children were created with generous support from the Vertex Foundation, and were distributed over the summer to Boston’s PA Shaw Elementary School. 265 kits with school and craft supplies for school-aged children and activity ideas in English and Spanish were distributed over the summer, or will be during the school year, within the Lawrence Public Schools. 300 Tools for Tiny Hands multilingual kits for children ages 2 to 5 and their caregivers created with support from the Liberty Mutual Foundation and The Counts Family. The Museum also worked with two Boston Family Engagement Network (BFEN) Neighborhood Agents in Mattapan and Roslindale to distribute kits to families in August.
The Tools for Tiny Hands kits are designed for very young children, ages 2 to 5 years, and their adult caregivers to focus on activities that build fine motor skills. Fine motor skills are essential for children to develop and practice in the early years. With many young children not able to go to childcare right now, they may be less able to practice their fine motor skills. The kits offer families the tools and confidence to practice these skills at home. The kits are filled with tools that build fine motor skills, like scissors, paint brushes, eye droppers, and playdough.
Activity resources for caregivers have been shared in languages identified by the Museum’s community partners, including Spanish, Haitian Creole, Arabic, and English. Educators from the Museum will work with community partners to introduce the kits to families during existing online playgroups. The Museum is working with BFEN partners to develop and execute an evaluation plan to assess kits, messages, and partnership to inform future efforts.
The Museum also created and tested a Creative Box kit offering science, engineering, and art challenges that included a variety of materials such as cardboard, paper, glue, rubber bands, clips, and pipe cleaners. The response from families was extremely positive, and the Museum will now use the kit as part of its CreatedBy Festival this fall to provide hands-on STEAM experiences for Boston Public School students during Mass STEM Week.