Daily Discovery: Squishy Soap/Descubrimiento en casa: Jabón plastilina

Post written by Lea Mikkelsen, Early Childhood Coordinator.

Daily Discovery: Squishy Soap

Use your rockin’ math skills to measure out different ingredients and make your own soap! Use your squishy soap to mold different shapes and keep it by the sink. Sing some songs or practice counting to 20 while you scrub!

You’ve never had this much fun washing your hands!


  • ‘1/4 cup of cornstarch
  • 2 tablespoons pure liquid castile soap (optional: try scented!)
  • 2 teaspoons of oil (vegetable, almond, coconut)
  • Optional – 1 to 2 drops of food coloring for fun!
  • Bowl
  • Spoon
  • Tray


  1. Carefully measure each of the ingredients into a bowl and mix with a spoon.
  2. Dump the mixture onto a clean tray and knead until the soap is smooth and not sticky!
  3. To use, pull off a small piece of the soap, add water, and scrub for 20 seconds!

Tip: if soap is too sticky add a little more corn starch, if dough is too crumbly add a little more oil. Keep kneading and keep experimenting until you get it right!

Want to download these directions? Click here for a handy PDF!

Follow along with our Daily Discovery! Click here for all activities that you can do at home.

Photo Credit: https://mamapapabubba.com/

Traducido por Károl de Rueda y Laura Vilaret-Tuma.

Descubrimiento en casa: Jabón plastilina

Usa tus habilidades matemáticas para medir diferentes ingredientes y hacer ¡tu propio jabón plastilina! Moldéalo en diferentes formas divertidas y creativas, y úsalo la próxima vez que tengas que lavarte las manos, recordando el cantar algunas canciones o contar hasta 20 mientras las limpias. ¡Nunca ha sido tan divertido lavarse las manos!

Artículos necesarios:

  • ¼ taza de fécula de maíz
  • 2 cucharadas de jabón de castilla liquido (con o sin fragancia)
  • 2 cucharaditas de algún aceite (por ejemplo, aceite vegetal, aceite de almendras, aceite de coco, etc.)
  • Opcional – 1 o 2 gotas de colorante para alimentos
  • Un recipiente para mezclar los ingredientes
  • Una cuchara
  • Una bandeja


  1. Une todos los ingredientes en el recipiente, y mézclalos con la cuchara hasta que todo esté incorporado y se forme una “masa.”
  2. Coloca esta mezcla sobre una bandeja limpia y comienza a amasarla hasta que llegue a una consistencia lisa y no pegajosa.
  3. Si quieres usar esto para lavarte las manos, simplemente arranca un pedacito del jabón plastilina, córrelo bajo el agua, ¡y comienza a frotarlo entre tus manos por 20 segundos!

Nota: Si la masa está muy pegajosa, agrégale un poco más de fécula de maíz. Si la masa está muy firme o desmoronadiza, agrégale un poco más de aceite. ¡Sigue mezclando y experimentando hasta que estés contento/a con la consistencia de tu jabón!

¿Te gustaría descargar esta actividad? Haz clic aquí para obtener un archivo PDF.

Para encontrar actividades, ideas y mucho más descubrimiento en casa, ¡síguenos!

Continue Reading

Daily Discovery: Time Machine

Post written by Charlotte Conway, Public Programs Coordinator.

Daily Discovery: Time Machine

Time machines are the stuff of science fiction. In movies and shows, they help out some of our favorite characters… like when Hermione Granger used her time turner to perform better in school in Harry Potter!

Can you use design thinking to design your own time machine? Design thinking is when we design products that help meet specific needs for specific people. Follow the instructions below to get started!


  • Pencil or pen
  • Paper
  • Glue or tape
  • Recycled supplies
  • Some objects that can be found in many homes: paper towel tubes, buttons, tin foil, bottle caps, plastic bottles, stickers, paper clips, or cardboard
  • Your imagination and creativity!


  1. Identify your user. This is the person (or the group of people) who will benefit from your design. What do they like and dislike? What are their goals? What are some obstacles they face in meeting
    their goals?
  2. Sketch out your design on paper. Identify 3 ways your design will help your user.
  3. Using recycled materials construct your design. Get creative with your supplies, and make sure to get
    permission before using supplies you find in your home!
  4. Ask for feedback on your time machine from someone around you. How can you make it even better?
  5. Use your imagination to travel to different time periods!

Want to download these directions? Click here for a handy PDF!

Follow along with our Daily Discovery! Click here for all activities that you can do at home.

Continue Reading

Daily Discovery: Make your own instruments!

Post written by Eisen Tamkun, Music Education Lead.

Daily Discovery: Make your own instruments!

Get ready to rock out like Ringo! Create your very own drum using common household items!


  • Can – the larger the better!
  • Packing Tape or Duct Tape
  • Wooden Stick – chopsticks or wooden spoon
  • Scissors
  • Decorations – stickers, colorful tape, construction paper, color pencils, markers, etc.


  1. Once you have all the supplies, start by taping over the opening of your can. Be careful! Some cans have sharp edges.
  2. Be sure you pull the tape as taut as you can to create a nice strong drum head. Start with this pattern on the right and continue until the tape covers it completely. The more layers, the longer your drum will last (5-6 layers with packing tape, 3-4 with duct tape).
  3. Now that you have created the drum head it is time for decoration! Put a layer of tape around the body of your drum, use strips of tape to create a unique pattern, cut out fun shapes, or draw a picture or story to tape on the side!
  4. The final step is choosing your drum sticks! Large spoons/ladles work great, but make sure they are made of wood or plastic; metal ones can puncture your drum. Chopsticks work as well; Add some tape on the end for a better sound!

Now that you’ve made your very own drum, try making larger or smaller drums to create an entire set ready to rock out!

Want to download these directions? Click here for a handy PDF!

Follow along with our Daily Discovery! Click here for all activities that you can do at home.

Educational opportunities like this are supported in part by Bohemian.

Continue Reading

Creating Family Archives, Part One

Post written by Jenny Hannifin, Archive Assistant.

Creating Family Archives, Part One

Primary sources – letters, emails, photos, scrapbooks, programs, pamphlets, dance cards, etc. – reveal wonders, and preserving and organizing them is a forever-gift. When you decide to create personal archives, you are committing to a rewarding and valuable task.

But how do you get started?

Margot Note recently published a book called Creating Family Archives: A Step‐by‐Step Guide for Saving Your Memories for Future Generations published by the Society of American Archivists. You can find details about the book here. Margot Note is an archives and records management consultant in New York, and a professor in the graduate Women’s History program at Sarah Lawrence College.

In this blog I will summarize some guiding concepts from Margot’s book to help you get you started.

What are your goals?

Personal archives can capture many things. Are you interested in storytelling and preserving memories? Are you hoping to create an instrument of legitimacy (like genealogical evidence), or to document someone’s specific legacy? Do you want to highlight the roots of your self-identification and cultural values? Is it an institution you want to document, perhaps one you were intimately involved in?

The more you conceptualize the final product, the easier it will be to devise the steps required to get there. Each of the goals listed above would have a different approach to saving, processing, and preserving materials.

What do you save?

There are three archival principles that can guide you in deciding what to save: that the item is original, reflects daily life/lives, and is of enduring value.

Original means there is just one copy of it, and it doesn’t exist anywhere else.

Reflecting daily life/lives means that it initially began life as a record of some sort and wasn’t created with the public in mind (like published materials).

Enduring value is probably the hardest to determine. In short, it means “value as evidence,” or “a source for historical research;” something that has value AFTER the creator has finished with it. Note says “For organizations, for example, only about 5 percent of records created in the course of business have enduring (archival) value. The same may be said of the records that you and your family create in the course of your lives. Among the receipts, invoices, notes, and selfies you take or receive during your lifetime, only a sliver is worth saving forever.” (Note, p37)

All items that you save, and that reflect these values, are format independent. In other words, a 50-year-old newspaper clipping may be less important to save than an email from last month, depending on your goals. Things don’t have to be “old” to be of enduring value – archival records can be born-digital, in the present.

Create a plan

Once you know what you want to do, and (roughly) what you want to save, you need to create a plan. Start by surveying what you have gathered. Can you divide the project up into different parts, so it is less overwhelming? How many folders or boxes do you need? Would it be easiest to create and store your project digitally?

MPLP (more product, less process) is an archival guiding principle whereby you take care of the most important things first, without feeling like you must get it all done at once. For example, start by stabilizing and re-housing fragile items, storing items by groups in separate boxes, and creating brief inventories. Later you can dive deeper with descriptions, etc. – but in the meantime, you’ve made a start.

Note suggests creating a month by month plan to stay organized. Here’s an example (Note, p6):

  • August: Survey the collection; buy archival supplies
  • September: Organize and process the collection; rehouse slides in archival enclosures;
    create a guide
  • October: Select images for scanning; digitize images
  • November: Interview Person A and Person B; transcribe the best selections of the interview
  • December: Create memory book with photographs and interview quotes; give the books to Person A, Person B, and other relatives

Moving forward

I hope this has been useful! In a future blog we will discuss best practices in handling materials, storing materials, and related topics.

To learn more right now about materials most subject to damage, go here. To learn more about where to buy archival materials (like acid-free folders and plastic sheets), go here.

There is so much to know in this area that we will offer later this year a workshop called Caring for Your Family Treasures. So stay tuned for dates and details on our website calendar!



Continue Reading

At Home STEAM Activities

Post written by Alex Ballou, Marketing Assistant.

At Home STEAM Activities

Here at FCMoD, we believe in discovery. And during times like this, we want you to know that discovery can be found anywhere! Which is why we’ll be posting fun, hands-on activities for you and any other life-long learners you’re currently at home with!

In this blog post, we’ve compiled a list of our top STEAM resources. Learn more below!

  • Water Xylophone:

Missing the Music & Sound Lab? Let’s experiment with sound waves! With just some basic materials you can create your own musical instrument to teach kids about sound waves. In this water xylophone experiment, you’ll fill glass jars with varying levels of water. Once they’re all lined up, kids can hit the sides with wooden sticks and see how the pitch differs depending on how much water is in the jar (more water=lower pitch, less water=higher pitch). This is because sound waves travel differently depending on how full the jars are with water.

    • Materials Needed:
        • Glass jars
        • Water
        • Wooden sticks/skewers
        • Food coloring
  • Tornado in a Jar:

    Create your own Tornado Chamber at home!  This is one quick and easy and science experiment for kids to teach them about weather. It only takes about five minutes and a few materials to set up. Once ready, you’ll create your own miniature tornado whose vortex you can see, and the strength of which you can change depending on how quickly you swirl the jar.

    • Materials Needed:
      • Mason Jar
      • Water
      • Dish Soap
      • Vinegar
      • Glitter (optional)
  • Wheel of the Year:

    To help connect kids more with nature and the changing seasons check out the Wheel of the Year crafts – crafts that actually spin! This was a really fun way to learn more about the year, months, and seasons.

    • Materials Needed:
      • Paper plates
      • Construction paper
      • Colored craft sticks
      • Thumbtack
      • Scissor
      • Ruler
      • Marker
      • Glue stick
      • White glue
      • Tape
      • Clothespin
      • Paper (to write month names and draw images)
  • Dinosaur Fossils:

    We love dinosaurs! These DIY dinosaur fossils made with salt dough are so fun. Plus, who knows, it may even inspire someone to become a paleontologist in your home!

    • Materials Needed:
      • Flour
      • Salt
      • Water
      • Plastic dinosaurs
  • Crystal Flowers:

    Have you ever tried making crystals yet? There are quite a few ways of making them, and we’re so keen to try them all!

    • Materials Needed:
      • Borax (laundry detergent alternative)
      • Pipe cleaners
      • Boiling water
      • Glass jars
      • Chopsticks/Pencils
      • Spoon
      • Safety glasses (preferred)

Other resources for at home activities:

Even though the museum is closed, we want to continue to inspire creativity and encourage hands-on learning for all! When you’ve completed any of these STEAM activities, be sure to post a photo and tag us at @focomod on social media!

Continue Reading