This Children's Museum Is Helping Kids Travel the World From the Comfort of Their Living Rooms With At-home Programming (Video)
Leslie Bushara is on a mission to send kids on a journey to Haiti, give them the tools to make bento boxes in Japan, and learn all about math while highlighting the intricate mosaics found in Muslim art — without leaving their living rooms.
Due to ongoing coronavirus precautions, programs at the Children’s Museum of Manhattan, where Bushara is deputy director of education and exhibitions, are canceled so she's helping travelers-in-training see the world with the help of the Internet instead.
Cue the museum’s CMOM at Home program, which posts one themed activity each day, including “Our World Wednesday” where children are encouraged to explore.
“We want to really nurture the next generation of global citizens by sharing other cultures and introducing other cultures to children, and experiencing that through art and music, cooking, dance,” Bushara, told Travel + Leisure. “We want this daily dose to spark people's imaginations and get them excited to learn together and provide a different point of view.”
Every day, Bushara said the museum will post a different activity to help kids learn as well as explore the world and the community around them. The first Wednesday activity — March 25 — will feature a traditional Haitian dance, the Yanvalou, which Bushara said is inspired by a snake’s movement.
“We thought that dance would be a great way to introduce children to the world's diversity… and hopefully to spark a curiosity about themselves and the world,” she said, adding that it’s important to help children feel connected to the world around them “even though we're isolated and separated as never before.”
Future Wednesday programs, inspired by the museum’s own archives and past exhibits, will feature the art of creating a Japanese bento box at home and an activity where kids map out their own communities.
Experts have said traveling with kids is great for both their early childhood development as well as their performance in school. While both are off the table right now as the coronavirus pandemic continues to spread, Bushara said she hopes the museum’s programming brings that global curiosity to people’s homes.
“We know parents are going to be stuck at home with their kids and we wanted them to have opportunities to find things to do with them that were easy to do, that were cost effective, but were also really educational and fun,” Bushara told T+L, adding: “Each week what we'll do is try to share either a different country or a different way of looking at things.”