Welcome to MOMS in the MIX presented by
The Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago
Welcome to MOMS in the MIX, a Virtual VIP Insider Playgroup devoted to Chicago Moms featuring: special outings and VIP opportunities at The Museum of Science and Industry and other Chicago attractions for kids, the latest mommy news and parenting tips, Monthly Mom Blogs, best kid friendly places to eat and play, and much more.
By Elizabeth Diffin
A lot has changed in the world in the last 75 years, but there’s one thing that stays the same: The Museum of Science & Industry’s “Christmas Around the World” exhibit still has the power to delight and amaze, even after so many decades.
Christmas Around the World celebrates its 75th anniversary this year, along with its companion exhibit, Holidays of Light (which debuted a little later, in 1994). The exhibit originally was launched as a way to raise morale on the homefront during World War II. And while this year’s display isn’t wildly different from years past, the creative and beautiful trees – decorated by volunteer groups – will more than keep your attention.
Here are some of this year’s standouts:
But once you’ve seen this year’s standouts, where do you go next? Since the U.S. is such a melting pot, there’s a good chance that you have multiple nationalities in your blood – or else you know someone who comes from a different culture. Start with the cultures that you know (I’ll admit that I gravitated toward the Ireland tree due to my own ancestry), but make sure to experience at least one tree that comes from a place you probably couldn’t find on a map.
Looking for a way to make it even more kid-friendly? Turn it into a scavenger hunt! The museum’s website includes brief descriptions of all the countries and cultures represented, so you can make a checklist of what to keep an eye out for.
To get you started, here’s my own list: a crown, a white dove, the Olympics rings, a king and queen, a bald eagle, a bicycle, a llama, a pinecone, a spider web, a duck, an apple, a teacup, a dream catcher, a windmill, a fish, a daffodil and a koala. Or challenge your kids to count how many star or snowflake or heart ornaments they see. There are so many treasures on each of the 54 trees, so looking at them carefully serves the extra purpose of helping kids to notice details they otherwise might not. (Parenting win!)
And be sure to check out Holidays of Light, which gets greater exposure this year than it has in the past. Eight non-Christmas holidays are represented in display boxes throughout the Rotunda and include interesting facts and objects for Diwali, Hanukkah and Ramadan, among others.
Since it’s been around so long, Christmas Around the World is something many Chicago families do year after year. But don’t worry – it’s not too late. If you ask me, 2017 sounds like the perfect time to kick off a new family tradition of your own.
By Katie Niekerk
When I strolled into work the day after Halloween, I kept overhearing fellow parents express their disdain for the weather during the previous night’s trick-or-treating festivities. By the water cooler, in the kitchen, through the halls: “It was so cold! You can’t enjoy anything when it’s that cold.”
Now, to be fair, I’m a pretty huge wuss about the cold. When temperatures dip into the low 40s, my hands are the first to go. The rest of me can be toasty as an oven, but my hands actually hurt with cold.
That said, November is a glorious month, and here’s why: It’s the beautiful in-between. It’s cold, sure. But not the kind of cold that imprisons you indoors. Not the kind of cold that debilitates every limb of your body.
November offers the kind of cold that dares you to play outside. Maybe not for hours, like the summer months do, but just long enough so that when the heated house calls, with its promise of hot cocoa, you run to its refuge with rosy cheeks and a smile.
All this is why I’m making it a point to spend some time outdoors every day this month. I’m not talking running a marathon, but maybe stopping by the playground on the way home from school pickup. Or taking a walk around the block before heading out for the workday. Little breaths of fresh air to fill my lungs before the cold really sets in and, well, it hurts to breathe.
I invite you to do the same. Let’s get creative in our outdoor pursuits—see how many different kinds of leaves you can collect with your child or make a masterpiece chalk drawing on the driveway. Gather a few rocks to decorate with paint, or simply toss around a football. Anything goes, as long as it means you’re enjoying everything nature so generously gives us, no matter the season.