Just a little zap

My niece Isa has made the journey to Ohio so we now get to rediscover all the fun little kid things that my bigger kids have outgrown. We met some friends at COSI for a few hours of fun. Isa does not ever remember being at COSI so it was all new to her.

COSI is even more fun when you know the kids putting on the shows. Both Thomas and Louisa do the EG (electro-static generator) show at COSI but by the time we got there Thomas had already done his show for the day so we only got to see Louisa’s performance. The little girls loved getting shocked, so much that we sat through the show 2 times.

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Next they tried out the wind tunnel.

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Then they all worked together to lift the car.

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They did need a little help from Thomas.

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That car is really heavy.

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They also got to watch Thomas and Louisa do one of the carts. Thomas has learned so much being a volunteer at COSI.

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It was so much fun getting to watch Thomas and Louisa do there stuff and watching Isa and her new friends get to know each other. It was like they had always been friends, not that they had just met last week.

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A Day in Cleveland

On Friday we left the house at 6am to meet up with some friends and drive 2 hours north to spend the day in Cleveland.

Our first stop was The Playhouse Theatre to see Red, a Tony award winning Broadway Play about the artist Mark Rothko. This show was amazing! If you have a chance to see it, I highly recommend it. It is pretty intense and there is some bad language, it is meant for older kids and adults. Besides the show being completely amazing two other things I took away from this were always go early for the preshow talk, it gave so much more insight to the production and really helped the kids (and myself) better understand what was happening. And always stay after for the talk with the performers. It’s so interesting to see what they have to say about their experience doing the show.

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Next stop was lunch, we thought we would eat at the Westside Market, but instead we just picked up dessert. As Thomas said it was all meat, cheese and pastries…It did remind me of a cross between the North Market in Columbus and Pike Place Market in Seattle, not quite the same as either of them but the same cool market vibe.

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After buying our desserts we headed back to a little Mexican place, Ohio City Burrito, we had passed on our walk to the market.

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After lunch we spent the rest of our day at The Great Lakes Science Center. Since the kids volunteer at COSI they spend a lot of time at the Columbus science museum, it’s fun to see other science centers and compare them to COSI.

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The kids had fun in the Goosebumps exhibit, learning all about fears. Thomas does not have a fear of falling…

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But he does have a fear of clowns.

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Thomas and Molly struggled to build the Canterbury Arch. Poor Molly she is just a little too short to reach the top…

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Hmm Kristen wasn’t too much help, they definitely needed Thomas’ height to get to the center up. Thomas claims that he can do this by himself at COSI, I’m not sure how that would be possible.

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I loved the view of Lake Erie from the museum.

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Such a pretty walkway down to the water.

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It was a whirlwind day, 14 hours of driving and exploring. We had so much fun on this little road trip. This is what homeschooling is all about. The flexibility to take a day and go explore. I love our homeschooling life!

You can see more about this trip on Kristen’s Blog.

YoYo Champ at COSI

Sat morning I noticed this tweet from COSI:

Santa, holiday treats, @gamaonline Game Room, Holiday light show, world class YO-YO & Top Spinning artists. it’s today! Included w/admission

World Class YO-YO artist!! Well we had to go. So I gathered up Thomas and Beth and off to COSI we went. We headed straight to the atrium where there were all kinds of classic toys set up on tables. I think I was expecting a young, punkish, skate board looking, tattooed, Asian spinning yo-yo’s, since that’s who we seem to see in all the you-tube videos. Instead we were directed to the 2 older gentlemen in the corner that were playing with spinning tops.

We headed over to watch what they were doing but they seemed more interested in talking to each other than interacting with us. So after a few minutes we wandered to the gaming room to check out all the Settler of Catan (another favorite thing in our house) type games. The gaming room wasn’t quite set up yet so we headed back to the atrium to see if we could make any headway with the YO-YO guys.

This time I managed to get a word in and asked Dr. Zeemo what do you need to be To-Yo Champ, his response, “string, a yo-yo and little bit of time.” I guess I didn’t phrase my question correctly. OK lets try a different tact, Thomas oblivious to all outside stimuli took out his yo-yo and started doing what he does. Well this finally caught the yo-yo guys attention, apparently Thomas is pretty good. Besides Dr. Zeemo there was another gentleman, Mike Hout that is involved with a yo-yo group in Miamisburg, OH. They put together an annual competition, much like a spelling bee you keep progressing through the ranks local, state, national then international. After seeing what Thomas could do he said if we were available in February, if we were they would build a event around Thomas. This strikes me as very funny, I think the local yo-yo world is hurting for some fresh blood. But we are excited that we finally found a somewhat local competition that Thomas can try out.

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Dr. Zeemo demonstrating his art.

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Thomas really does seem to be oblivious to everything when he yo-yo’s but if I ask him questions about what was said he can repeat it all back, I think yo-yoing may help him concentrate.

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First day of work

IMG_5208Thomas finally had his first volunteer day at COSI a couple weeks ago. On the way to drop him off Beth asked if he felt grown up he said he did and she agreed that when she started she also felt very grown up. He was scheduled for a full day, 9-5. I couldn’t imagine him on his own for so long but we’ve been involved with COSI long enough that I knew he would be OK.

He had a great first day, he was pretty much left to explore the building but in a scheduled methodical way. All employees and volunteers are given a very detailed daily schedule that tells you where you should be throughout your entire shift.

Thomas started his day at 9am at the morning meeting, the schedule shows the meeting lasting for the first hour but it really only lasts about 10 min then he shadowed his friend Louisa until 11. Then a new volunteer tour and finally lunch at noon. Thomas has an hour to eat but since he finished in about 10 min he got to explore COSI the rest of time (as long as he has his work shirt covered up.) Then at 1:00 off to adventure for more scheduled exploring, 1:30 watch the EG (electrostatic generator, the thing in the commercials that makes your hair stand up) show, 2:00 watch the pumpkin explosion show, 2:30 watch rat basketball, 3:00 watch the Imax movie about caves, 4:00 watch the weather show, then at 4:30 the final debriefing before he gets sent home. I can’t help but think that he must have been sent off to war when I see the debriefing. When I asked Thomas about that he has no idea what that means. Maybe they walk through a secret chamber to erase all their memories from the day.

No wonder he had such a great day all the things he loves about COSI and left to explore them on his own! A perfect day for a 13 year old boy.

A new COSI volunteer

Everyone that knows me or has read my blog knows I’m a big fan of COSI, our local science museum. Not necessarily just for visiting but definitely for their volunteer opportunities along with all the classes, camps and special programs they offer. COSI has played a huge roll in Daniel’s life, starting when when he was 10 as a volunteer which turned into an internship then finally his current job. he learned public speaking at COSI where he has to give demonstrations in front of huge crowds of people. He’s come a long way from the shy little 10 year old who’s fist job at COSI was a greeter at the front doors, since he never talked to people I wasn’t sure how that was going to work but it did and he moved up the ranks.

Now its Thomas’ turn, he has been counting down the years until he would be old enough to volunteer. He technically was old enough last year but Daniel suggested waiting an additional year since sometimes the young volunteers don’t last. COSI has gotten a little more strict with their volunteers, they are treated like employees, so any goofing around or not following the rules can get you written up or even fired (yes, you can get fired from volunteer positions, we also have some experience with that in our house.) In an effort to make this as positive for Thomas as it was for Daniel I decided to wait an additional year before I let him apply.

He filled out his application over the summer, mailed it in then waited and waited. Finally we got the call asking him to come in for his interview. For the interview they want the child to demonstrate an activity to a group of COSI employees while teaching them how to do something. Daniel showed them how to do something with a ring thrower and Beth taught them to tie a bowler knot. This is a big decision, what to teach, it has to be something you’re good at and something that’s easy to demonstrate without too many steps.

Thomas threw around a few ideas before finally deciding on teaching them how to hula hoop. It has been the summer of hula hooping after all. Thomas lucked out in that COSI was actually closed for a deep cleaning when he came in so instead of having a panel of employees at his interview he only had 1 person. They did have to change rooms for the hula hooping instruction but all went well.

After his demonstration he made a quick stop in the hallway, where I was waiting, to let me know that he made the cut, he is now officially a COSI volunteer. I went in with him for the final paperwork and to chat with his interviewer, Terri. Thomas had put on the application that he was interested in working in Little Kidspace but after they talked about his goals (to learn public speaking) and what ages he likes to work with (kindergarten and up so he can teach them how to do things) they decided that working with the science carts out on the floor would be a better match.

Now he just has to go in for his orientation, do some paperwork at home and explore COSI while thinking about how he would be able to help visitors with simple questions that he may be asked (like where’s the closest bathroom, elevator or the cafeteria.) Since Thomas has been going to COSI regularly since he was born I think he’ll be able to answer those questions and more without to much prep.

Good Job Thomas, I am so proud of you. I’m sure you’ll have just as many great experiences at COSI as your brother has!

Having an Adventure…

…at COSI. Finally, after years of the Adventure space being closed, it is slowly being reopened. Last Tues was a preview day of the space and it has been marked on our calendar since we heard the news. My kids LOVE adventure, for Bethany it is the only reason she will go to COSI unless I’m forcing her to join us.

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Adventure is like an Indiana Jones set recreated in a science museum, with puzzles that you have to solve to awaken all the stone creatures.

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But that is just the beginning. The next level of Adventure is deciphering the mysterious alphabet so you can read all the coded messages that are on the walls. Once you have deciphered the story of the village, there is even more information you can plug into the statues. At that point they will give you clues to help you decipher the secret language. Most people that go through Adventure don’t know about all the different levels. They think once you get the clues and go to the room of knowledge you’re done. But there are many Adventure groupies that were working very hard to decipher all the mysteries back when COSI had to close adventure due to budget cuts.

Here’s Beth in Room of Knowledge waiting for the mystery word to appear that will help her start to unlock the secret alphabet.

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We ran into one of those people while we were in adventure today, and while he was very kind in giving advice to Beth and the several other people that had circled around him. It was all a bit more than Beth could comprehend. But both Beth and Thomas (with the help of several friends) did solve the first puzzle then went on to decipher the whole alphabet. Beth claims she is now fluent in reading the secret language. The passages that at one time just looked like gibberish can now clumsily be read by the kids. This is more than they have ever done before. They are very excited to get to spend more time in this area trying to figure out all the mysteries.

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Another level to the puzzle; trying to decipher what the numbers mean.

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And for those that don’t figure out the secrets you may never get to leave. 🙂

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Adventure is open again today and the kids have asked to return so they can work on reading the walls. They’ll pack up their notebooks, flashlights and notes from last time to continue with the Adventure.

COSI, Big Machines

The big machines are back at COSI, so we had to return for a quick visit to check them out. Thomas and our neighbor Ben had fun climbing into all the trucks and even controlling some of them.

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BJ wasn’t quite as interested but he was willing to pose for a few pictures. He was too worried about looking dumb to actually enjoy the trucks. Those early teen feelings when you think everyone is watching everything you do. When do kids realize that nobody really cares?

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The boys tried to stop the big granite ball, but try as they might they could not keep it from spinning.

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This was a nice short trip to COSI. Since we live so close and have a membership we can stop by for short visits more frequently. Which is a good thing because after 2 hours I’m ready to go home!