Kohl Children’s Museum writes another chapter with three reading-themed exhibits and activities opening October 1

Life-Sized, Bilingual “Storyland” Exhibition and “Storywalk” to Open in Conjunction With a New Permanent Play Bookstore Exhibit

GLENVIEW, IL – This fall, Kohl Children’s Museum will present three new reading-focused exhibits specifically designed to encourage literacy for young children. The temporary exhibit “Storyland: A Trip Through Childhood Favorites” allow kids to immerse themselves in a life-sized world of seven award-winning childhood favorites, while “Sheridan’s Books and Crannies,” a new permanent exhibit, will reinvent the Museum’s “Play Library.”  The third element, Storywalk, will be installed as part of the Museum’s two-acre outdoor Habitat Park.  The activity will combine literacy, physical activity and an engagement with nature as guests follow pages of the storybook “Leaves” by David Ezra Stein.

All three dynamic exhibits will encourage children to build literacy skills through imaginative, interactive experiences and dramatic play that focuses on vocabulary, print motivation and awareness, narrative skills, letter knowledge and phonological awareness.

In addition, the Museum plans to participate in the national “Read for the Record” Day on October 3, in which schools, libraries, and other institutions nationwide will spotlight the importance of early literacy by collectively reading a single book, “Otis,” by Loren Long.

“With the arrival of these three engaging exhibits, we are highlighting our mission of fostering a love of learning in children, particularly through promoting literacy, one of the Museum’s key focal points,” said Sheridan Turner, President and CEO of Kohl Children’s Museum. “Studies consistently prove that reading with your children at very young ages helps develop vocabulary and grammar skills, a sense of story structure, even basic directional skills such as how English letters and words read from left to right. Quite simply, the more parents read with their children, the better they will do in school.”

“Storyland: A Trip Through Childhood Favorites” will be on display at the Museum from October 1, 2013 – January 6, 2014. Created by the Minnesota Children’s Museum, the exhibit transforms seven beloved and award-winning picture books – “The Tale of Peter Rabbit” by Beatrix Potter; “The Snowy Day” by Ezra Jack Keats; “Where’s Spot?” by Eric Hill; “If You Give a Mouse a Cookie” by Laura Numeroff; “Chicka Chicka Boom Boom” by Bill Martin Jr. and John Archambault; “Abuela” by Arthur Dorros and “Tuesday” by David Wiesner – into three-dimensional and bilingual (English and Spanish) play and learning environments that highlight the six pre-reading skills defined by the Public Library Association and Association for Library Service to Children, a division of the American Library Association: disposition to read, print awareness, letter knowledge, sound awareness, vocabulary and narrative skills and comprehension.

As part of the exhibit:

  • Families can immerse themselves in the world of “The Tale of Peter Rabbit,” one of the best-selling children’s books of all time. Children explore Peter Rabbit’s world as they build vocabulary and narrative skills while searching for Peter’s lost belongings, harvesting vegetables and playing in Peter’s burrow.
  • Visitors will get a mouse-eye view of super-sized elements from “If You Give a Mouse a Cookie,” such as a big glass of milk, as they are encouraged to create new and rhyming words by matching letter magnets to word trunks.
  • “The Snowy Day” welcomes visitors to Peter’s wintry world, where a young boy explores his neighborhood after a fresh snowfall. Children have opportunities to build print and sound awareness, as they build a snowperson, and explore wintry sounds and words.
  • Babies and young toddlers can experiment with busy wall interactives based on “Where’s Spot?” a well-known board books about the search for Spot the dog. Parents can get tips about cultivating pre-reading skills in very young children.
  • Young children explore the alphabet and letter and sound awareness while navigating three tropical islands featured in “Chicka Chicka Boom Boom.” Families will also enjoy creating rhythms with steel drums while playing along with the rhythm of the story.
  • Children can sharpen their narrative skills and vocabulary by delivering news from inside a television and searching for hidden frogs in “Tuesday,” a story about a town mysteriously visited by flying frogs.

“Storyland: A Trip Through Childhood Favorites” is presented by Target and has been generously locally sponsored by Wells Fargo.

“Sheridan’s Books and Crannies” will also open October 1, 2013 as a new permanent exhibit, reinventing the museum’s current “Play Library” exhibit as a pretend bookstore. This new and improved exhibit will feature an inviting reading loft, various comfy reading nooks where kids can snuggle up to read, and a regularly-changing array of children’s books and periodicals. The exhibit will also include a variety of activities to promote literacy. These interactive elements include learning writing motions (tracing basic shapes used in letters with their fingers in pre-set grooves), rhyming spinners (finding words and pictures that rhyme), magnetic sorting (collecting things that start with the same letters into bins with magnets), and a small performance space with a costume trunk and magnet walls so kids can create their own stories and then act them out.

“Sheridan’s Books and Crannies” was underwritten by the Souder Family Foundation. W. Fritz Souder served on the Museum’s Board of Trustees for eleven years, including two years as chair from 2009 – 2011.  He also chaired the Museum’s Building Blocks for the Future capital campaign to build the Museum’s current facility in Glenview. Souder suggested the name of the new exhibit as a tribute to the years of dedication and effort of Sheridan Turner, who has served as the Museum’s President and CEO since 1999. Additional support for this exhibit was received through the Public Museum Capital Grants Program, Illinois Department of Natural Resources and Illinois State Museum.

“Storywalk” will open by October 1, 2013 as a temporary exhibit in Habitat Park, the museum’s two-acre nature park on the museum’s campus. “Storywalk” will consist of 18 child-height stands placed throughout the park, each displaying two pages of “Leaves” by David Ezra Stein. The placement of the stands allows children and parents to progressively read a book as they meander through the garden walk, combining the focus of literacy, physical activity and engagement with nature in a fun and unconventional setting. “Storywalk” was developed in conjunction with the Glenview Park District and Glenview Public Library after the success of two previous “Storywalk” exhibits in Gallery Park in Glenview.

About Kohl Children’s Museum
In recognition for its outstanding exhibits and impact on Chicago land families, Kohl Children’s Museum was recently named one of the country’s Ten Best Children’s Museums by Parents Magazine. The Museum was ranked sixth out of more than 300 children’s museums nationwide and was the only Chicago area museum recognized.

Offering 17 interactive, hands-on exhibits for children age’s birth to 8, the Museum’s mission is to encourage young children to become effective learners through self-directed complex play. Kohl Children’s Museum is located at 2100 Patriot Blvd., in Glenview, Ill. at the corner of Patriot Blvd. and W. 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 more information, visit the Museum’s website at www.kohlchildrensmuseum.org or call (847) 832-6600. The Museum is open on Monday from 9:30 a.m. to 12 p.m., Tuesday through Saturday from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sunday, 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. Special members-only hours are from Monday through Saturday, 9:00 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. Admission prices are $9.50 for children and adults and $8.50 for senior citizens. Children under 1 year old and members are free.