Kids’ Almanac (Mar. 13-20)

1967 HVP String Competition Winner and 2014 HVP Judge Marcus Thompson

“Sense of place gives equilibrium; extended, it is sense of direction too.”
– Eudora Welty


Color up some fun at Crayola Experience

Did you know that the name Crayola comes from the French word craie, which means chalk, and ola, from the word oleaginous, or oil? My family and I recently visited the Crayola Experience, and we absolutely loved it.

As soon as we walked in, we were surrounded by happy colors and informative wall graphics. Our entire day consisted of hands-on and technology-based crafting projects. Each guest is given a clear plastic bag containing three tokens with admission, usable for the facility’s three interactive activities: customizing crayon labels, creating markers and modeling dough. Additional tokens may be purchased for 50 cents each.

Naming crayons was a real highlight for my crew, and we bought extra tokens just to make more of them: Automated kiosks indicate the available color choices, and after answering a few prompts, the machine spits out your finished label and crayon. The marker-making apparatus looked like a row of vending machines, requiring only the insertion of a token and activation button to complete the visible process of making a marker. The modeling dough area consists of several tables and fun cutting and molding tools to use on-site, but we just kept our dough in its package to use later.

With three full floors of activities, the kids enjoyed everything, such as creating spin art, painting and molding, all with melted crayon wax; exploring the almost-two-floor-high playspace; using computers to draw and animate wall-projected designs; learning how crayons are made from the upbeat and engaging Crayola show and more.

The canal activity on the third floor, complete with toy boats, flowing water and working locks, seems out of place in a Crayola-based space – until you become aware of its ties to local history. The exhibit enables kids to get hands-on experience on how locks actually function to enable boats to navigate different water levels.

The Crayola Experience is a blast, tons of fun and a highly stimulating environment. I’d say that a comfortable age range would be ages 2 through 11, but with the amount of available crafting, interested and creative teens would have no problem filling their day here. Elevators, bathroom changing tables and wide walkways enhance the welcoming environment for bringing very young children in strollers.

Leave extra time for parking, in case the nearby parking garage is close to capacity or full. Admission costs $16.99 for ages 2 and up, $14.99 for seniors 65 and over and free for children under 2. You can save $2 per ticket by purchasing them online, and at $29.99, a yearlong pass of unlimited visits pays for itself after your second time there.

The Crayola Experience is located at 30 Centre Square in Easton, Pennsylvania, which is about two hours from New Paltz. For more information, call (610) 515-8000 or visit


Autism advice from Dr. Temple Grandin

“I am different, not less,” says Dr. Temple Grandin, notable author, consultant for livestock behavior and autism advocate who has autism herself. Her real-life inside view of autism, as contrasted with the countless outsider perspectives, is the main thing that appeals to me about Grandin’s work.

Her sold-out lecture at the Paramount Theatre in Middletown last week was fascinating, informative and inspiring. I appreciated learning some of the science behind the neurology that distinguishes the way that her brain operates from a neurotypical control, shown through scans displaying different highlighted areas during the PowerPoint slides.

One takeaway is her advice for individuals on the spectrum in positioning themselves for the job market, although I think that it’s a clever tip for anyone: portfolios! Grandin strongly suggests carrying your portfolio with you at all times, never knowing when the next conversation might open a door, or even putting photos of your portfolio pieces on your phone, giving you the ability to display your work at any moment.

For more information about Grandin’s work, visit


Friday, March 14


Pi Day!

March 14, or 3/14, is Pi Day, which celebrates the popular math reference. Our family honors this day by eating a variety of pies throughout the day, including cheese pie (quiche), pizza pie, fruit pies and other dessert pies. My kids’ favorite part is throwing cream pies: We simply fill pastry shells with whipped cream and lob them at each other. The mess is quickly showered away, but the memories last all year long. Happy Pi Day!


Music Together Babies Only class at Northern Dutchess Hospital in Rhinebeck

Calling all parents of babies from birth to 8 months old: Come on out to Music Together’s free trial class! This Babies Only class takes place at the Women’s Center at Northern Dutchess Hospital on Friday, March 14 at 12 noon, and interested families can join the eight-week series.

To me, it’s not just about the fun music-making backed by solid musical theory coupled with child development, but it’s about making new friends. I’m still connected to some of my fellow Music Together Mamas from our classes at Unison in New Paltz, and I encourage anyone curious to check it out.

Northern Dutchess Hospital is located at 6511 Spring Brook Avenue in Rhinebeck. For more information, e-mail Miranda Haydn at or visit




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