Smokey Bear at Kohl Children's Museum

June 23, 2010

A forest full of adventure awaits children this summer at Kohl Children's Museum with the arrival of Smokey Bear and Woodsy Owl: Home Sweet Home, a new interactive attraction designed for ages birth to 8. Smokey and Woodsy, the United States Forest Service's most well-known mascots, will be on hand to encourage families to spend time together outdoors, and inspire children to discover and care for the natural resources that sustain our world. Among the activities this week will be a workshop teaching children how to create a Paper Pot Planter.

The exhibit, developed by Betty Brinn Children's Museum in Milwaukee, will remain on display at Kohl in north suburban Glenview through September 26.

"We are thrilled to have this interactive exhibition, which teaches children the importance of discovering, learning about and caring for nature. The Museum is dedicated to exposing children to nature so they become good stewards of the environment," said Sheridan Turner, President and CEO of Kohl Children's Museum.

"Our energy-efficient facility, which is a Silver-level certified LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) building from the U.S. Green Building Council, was built on these principles of respecting and protecting our environment," Turner adds.

This exhibit lets children explore distinctly unique, yet interconnected living environments for both humans and other living creatures such as animals and plants. Elements of the exhibit include:

At Home in the Urban Forest: A cityscape mural provides the backdrop for a pretend house with a yard and garden shed that encourages exploring the concept of urban ecology.

  • The Itsy Bitsy Spider Rain Garden: A small shed and garden set the scene for activities that illustrate the water cycle and the principle of using rainwater.
  • A Happy, Healthy House: A pretend kitchen is a perfect setting for children to practice making eco-friendly decisions.
  • Would You Believe It Comes From a Tree?: The home's backyard highlights how important trees are to making a broad variety of consumer products and helps children explore processes that are important to the future of our planet.
  • At Home in the Great Forest: A forest mural and leafy canopy create the setting for activities that highlight the forest as a home to the creatures that live there, and our shared responsibility to care for the land; educational materials feature local and national resources.

  • Welcome Home: Smokey Bear and Woodsy Owl greet visitors as they enter the forest.
  • The Ranger's Station: A log cabin and costumes set the scene for children to explore the roles of the forest ranger, cartographer and firefighter.
  • The Campsite: The Campsite reminds visitors about the responsibilities that come with enjoying natural resources.
  • The Bridge Home: A pretend bridge and stream provide a transition between the cityscape and forest components, and help introduce the concepts of interdependence and our responsibility for protecting both the urban and natural forest.

  • Make the Connection: The surface of the bridge changes as it crosses the stream, transitioning from a smooth stone-like surface near the city to a rustic texture as it leads to the great forest.
  • Go with the Flow: Children will use a variety of simple levers to explore the water cycle and the flow of a pretend stream.
  • Go Fish! Searching for creatures that live in and near the stream helps children understand the variety of life that is supported by water.
  • Drink Up! Investigating paw and footprints by the stream reminds children about the importance of clean water to an ecosystem.
  • About Kohl Children's Museum

    Kohl Children's Museum is located in Glenview at the corner of Patriot Blvd. and West Lake Ave. in the newly redeveloped area known as The Glen. The Museum can be easily reached by public transportation, including Pace bus and Metra trains. For hours and tickets, visit or call (847) 832-6600.

    How to Make a Paper Pot Planter

    1. Spread four newspaper sheets on a work table. Measure the width of a strip at the height you desire for the flower pot, add 2 inches to this. Draw a line to mark this strip. Select a "pot maker," a can or jar to serve as a mold for your newspaper flower pot.

    2. Cut down the entire length of the newspaper sheets using the drawn line as your guide.

    3. Place the pot maker (the empty can or jar) on to the strip of newspaper with the bottom of can level with paper edge.

    4. To form your newspaper flower pot, wrap the end of the strip of newspaper layers around the pot maker and roll it across the work surface, holding firmly.

    5. Carefully push the paper roll down to sit evenly with the top of the can. Your newspaper flower pot is starting to take shape!

    6. Loosely press in the edges of the newspaper against the bottom of the pot maker.

    7. Set pot maker up on work surface, press firmly down and twist hard several times to mold the newspaper against the container bottom.

    8. Stand the newspaper flower pot up to make sure it can stand alone. The flower pot is now ready to be filled with potting soil. Plant a seed or flower seedling in the flower pot.


    "Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist when we grow up." -Pablo Picasso

    During your visit to the Kohl Children's Museum, you'll find many hands-on activities in the Adventures in Art studio. Designed to provide inspiration for children to explore their inner creativity, the art studio features programs that change twice a month. Daily Discoveries, led by Museum staff, provide children with opportunities to learn about math, science and social studies. The self-guided Art Adventures program encourages children to be creative using unique tools and art media.

    Daily Discovery: Paper Pot Planters

  • Make and decorate a pot made out of paper that you can plant in the ground at home. Through Sunday, June 27.
  • Daily Discovery: Gardening Play

  • Dig in the dirt and explore the different tools we use to garden. Monday, June 28 through- Sunday, July 18
  • Art Adventure: Insect Making

  • Discover color, symmetry and iridescence while creating an insect. Monday, July 19 through Sunday, August 1
  • Daily Discovery: Newt & Fish Drawing

  • Investigate the similarities and differences of newts and fish through observational drawings. Monday, August 2 through Sunday, August 15.
  • Art Adventure: Feet & Fin Printing

  • Use stamps of different animal feet, fins, and toes to create a picture. Monday, August 16 through Sunday, August 29 Daily Discovery: Ice Cream Science

  • Learn how milk changes to ice cream as you create a tasty treat. Monday, August 30 through Sunday, September 12
  • Art Adventure: Ice Cube Painting

  • Create a work of art through experimenting with color mixing using ice cubes to explore solids, liquids, and the effects of temperature. Friday, September 17 through Sunday, October 3
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