Family Activities

School vacation week at the Discovery Museums

One of our favorite places to go with kids has long been The Discovery Museums in Acton. Here is a list of great programs they are running for April vacation week. Enjoy!

Calendar of Events April 19 – 29

Suncatchers, April 19
Engineers’ Exchange with the Acton-Boxborough Robotics Team, April 19
Capillary-Action Butterflies, April 20
Music and Movement with Miss Carolyn, April 21
Tree Rubbings, April 22
Take Aparts, April 25
Mud Pie Diner, April 26
SMART Gals: Rachel Carson Nature Walk, April 27
Buddy Love the Therapy Dog, April 27
Meet Bessie the Dinosaur! April 28
Especially for Me! Free Evening for Families with Children with Hearing Loss, April 28 *
Messy Masterpiece: Paint like Kandinsky! April 29
Magic Show with Rupayan Neogy, April 29

* Free admission
All programs are free with admission except when noted otherwise.

Thursday, April 19

10 a.m. Children’s Discovery Museum
Collect an assortment of natural materials from the Museum grounds to create a dazzling collage to hang in a window at your home.

FETCH!™ Rescue Mission
Drop-in 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Science Discovery Museum
Can you meet Ruff Ruffman’s challenge? Design hooks that can grab different capsules out of the water. Sponsored by Middlesex Savings Bank, with additional support from Red Hat, Inc. © 2011 WGBH Educational Foundation.

Engineers’ Exchange with the Acton-Boxborough Robotics Team
Drop-in 1 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. Science Discovery Museum
Meet a FIRST Tech Challenge robot and its designers from the Acton-Boxborough Robotics Team. Watch the robot maneuver, learn about the design process and competition, and participate in an engineering activity.

Friday, April 20

Capillary-Action Butterflies
10 a.m. Children’s Discovery Museum
Beautiful butterflies made by you! Decorate your butterfly’s wings, add water, and watch as the water mixes the colors (using capillary action) creating your own specially designed butterfly.

Saturday, April 21

Music and Movement with Miss Carolyn
1 p.m. Children’s Discovery Museum
Explore sound through singing and playing. Move, make music, listen, learn, and get a multi-sensory workout! Music improves your child’s memory, cognitive development, learning skills, and ability to express emotion. Plus, it’s fun! Miss Carolyn is a professional musician, serves as a faculty member at Indian Hill Music School, and has been a licensed Kindermusik Educator for 5+ years.

Sunday, April 22

Tree Rubbings
10 a.m. Children’s Discovery Museum
Explore the variety of trees in a section of woods adjacent to the Museum perfectly sized for young children. Use your fingers to feel the different textures of tree bark and create rubbings to capture the differences on paper.

FETCH!™ Toy Chemistry
Drop-in 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Science Discovery Museum
Stretchy and slimy toys are the best says Ruff Ruffman! See and feel everyday materials change as you combine them to create polymers! Sponsored by Middlesex Savings Bank, with additional support from Red Hat, Inc. © 2011 WGBH Educational Foundation.

Wednesday, April 25

Take Aparts
Drop-in 1:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. Science Discovery Museum
Are you curious about what’s inside telephones and computers? Discover resistors and capacitors as you uncover the inner workings of everyday objects. Sponsored by Analog Devices, Inc.

Thursday, April 26

Mud Pie Diner
10 a.m. Children’s Discovery Museum
In honor of the Week of the Young Child, come rediscover the classic childhood activity of making mud pies. With the help of dirt, rocks, pinecones, branches, and other natural materials, our Mud Pie Kitchen will be open and ready for customers! Explore and experiment with natural materials while dishing up some delicious-looking dishes.

Thursday’s Tales
11 a.m. Children’s Discovery Museum
Join us for our weekly story time. We’ll bring the books; you bring your imagination!

Friday, April 27

SMART Gals: Rachel Carson Nature Walk
10 a.m. Children’s Discovery Museum
Join us for a nature walk in honor of the life and work of Rachel Carson (1907-1964), a writer, scientist, and ecologist who championed environmental protection and instilling a sense of wonder in children. The SMART (Science-Math-Art) Gals Series is sponsored by The Ramsey McCluskey Family Foundation.

Buddy Love the Therapy Dog
11 a.m. Children’s Discovery Museum
Come meet Buddy Love and his handler Christine Macdonald from the Pets & People Foundation. Learn about people therapy through pets and all about Buddy Love’s role in the organization. Buddy Love is a mixed breed that was rescued from a shelter and he’s ready to greet you! For more information on the Pets & People Foundation, please visit

Saturday, April 28

Meet Bessie the Dinosaur!
10 a.m. & 11 a.m. Children’s Discovery Museum
Come meet Bessie, the dinosaur mascot of The Discovery Museums. She’s loves to give high-fives and hugs! *Bessie is a costumed museum staff member.

Especially for Me! Free Evening for Families with Children with Hearing Loss
5:30 to 8:30 p.m. at both Museums
Come join in all the fun during this special free evening for families with children with hearing loss. Pre-registration is required, visit to register. Funding provided by the Boston Bruins Foundation, CVS, Acton-Boxborough Regional High School’s Youth in Philanthropy Club, and the Local Cultural Councils of Acton, Carlisle, Chelmsford, Dracut, Framingham, Harvard, Hudson, Lawrence, Leominster, Littleton, Natick, Waltham, Wayland, Westford, and Weston with in-kind support provided by Not Your Average Joe’s.

Sunday, April 29

Messy Masterpiece: Paint like Kandinsky!
10 a.m. Children’s Discovery Museum
Art and music are a great combination. Explore how music can inspire your imagination and the artwork you create, just like the artist Wassily Kandinsky.

Magic Show with Rupayan Neogy
12 p.m. Science Discovery Museum
Join us as local young magician Rupayan Neogy shares his talents with us! Showcasing a variety of tricks, he will confound and amaze in an interactive performance geared toward family audiences. For more information about Rupayan’s magic, visit his Facebook page at

FETCH!™ Target Practice
Drop-in 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Science Discovery Museum
How good are you at flinging things? Design and test catapults and discover how to leverage your power! Sponsored by Middlesex Savings Bank, with additional support from Red Hat, Inc. © 2011 WGBH Educational Foundation.

About The Discovery Museums
The Discovery Museums are the children’s and science museums of Metrowest Boston, paired on a single campus in Acton, MA. The Museums—the Science Discovery Museum and the Children’s Discovery Museum—serve families and schools from towns throughout the region, with a commitment to informal education that enhances classroom learning. The hands-on, playful exhibits, developed by professional educators, inspire curiosity, exploration, experimentation and imagination. The Discovery Museums combine manageable scale, convenient location and free parking to provide a fun and engaging experience where children and adults can discover their world together.

Hours and Admission
The Discovery Museums are located at 177 Main Street Acton, MA 01720. Tel 978-264-4200. All programs are free with admission: $11.00 adults & children, $10.00 seniors 60+, free for children under 1 and Members. Teachers are always free.

School Year hours
Children’s Discovery Museum: 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Tues – Sun
Science Discovery Museum: 1 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. Tues – Fri, 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Sat & Sun
Both Museums closed on Mondays.

For more information, please visit

How Many More Days of Vacation Week or Is It Over Yet?

It is that time of year again – school vacation week! If you have planned ahead, your children are in daily activities, if you have not, you are no doubt washing crayon, and quite possibly food, off the walls and hoping for enough time for a shower. I have experienced many, many school vacation weeks – some better than others.

My advice? Get moving and keep moving. Do you need to pretend you are a shark and only your constant movement keeps you alive? No. Does this mean no slow-moving sleeping-in mornings? Depending on the age of your children, maybe. You can do it, you just need the right attitude. I don’t mean you can’t have lovely mornings at home.

When my children were younger we had a breakfast where we practiced math facts with dominoes and had our breakfast in pretty dishes. Sometimes we even played school with real worksheets and stickers for work well done. They are older now and that won’t fly (we didn’t have smartphones, tablets or apps back in the day, either) but if your little ones are quite young, it will get you some quality hot beverage time before you roll.

If you are still reading, you may need help. No worries – here are some ideas and links for local activities. KidoInfo out of Rhode Island but covers Southeastern Massachusetts, too. Founder Anisa Raouf has done a fantastic job of lining up the best resources and she shares so nicely, too! From the website: Kidoinfo is Rhode Island’s guide to family fun, creative ideas, resources and local events. With fresh ideas everyday, we keep you in the know with DIY projects, kid-tested recipes, after-school activities, camps, story times and so much more. From new parents to grandparents, babies to tweens, we have something for everyone.

Boston Area – Moms A great site with Guides, Things To Do listings, Discussion Pages for Parents and much more. From the site – a listing of family activities for the next seven days. You’re welcome!  Go to Momsfor great local activities and events.

Here is a link to the Museum of Fine Arts  with its great vacation week programs. Don’t forget the Museum of Science  – The Pompeii Exhibit is great and good for most ages (it may be hard to explain that we don’t live near an active volcano to young ones but the world map of active volcanoes is a good visual reassurance). If you are going to the Pompeii exhibit it is worth getting a membership, really, it is always worth getting a membership here. I signed up online and picked up my membership card and packet when we got to the museum. Super easy.
Need more? Click on these links for vacation week ideas: The Boston Children’s Museum,The Harvard Museum of Natural History, The Peabody-Essex Museum and The Discovery Museums.We also like to take walks at the Weston reservoir or Lake Waban at Wellesley College – both places are dog-friendly and nice easy trails.
Arts and Crafts? Check out Artbeat in Arlington, Sew Easy in Needham and Wellesley or Hip Stitch in Newton.
It is also a great time to make some healthy resolutions and cook together as a family. I attended a blogger event at the Chestnut Hill Shaw’s Supermarket and they were rolling out a Nutrional IQ progam that helps you make healthy choices. Not that I am giving up the holiday cookies quite yet – just not making a meal of them!
Crafts at home – Here is a great link to Pragmatic Mom’s site for homemade play dough. Definitely a longtime favorite at our house, too.

Big Apple Circus in Boston- discounted tickets through May 15

The first time we took our daughter to the circus, she cried. Not quite what we had in mind so we gathered up our thousands of possessions (it was winter in Boston and we had a toddler) and headed home. Well, there is little danger that either child will cry at the circus now so we can venture forth and you should, too. The Big Apple Circus is in Boston through May 15 and it is a spectacular show. It’s the 33rd season and it is a rollicking fun show called Dance On! So shake off the winter chill and move – much fun and discounted tickets ($15 off) Big Apple Circus at Capability : Mom Blogfor you, loyal reader. You are welcome…grin.

From The Big Apple Circus:


The spectacular Big Apple Circus leaps into its 33rd Season with a thrilling All-New Show, Dance On! The World’s Greatest Circus artists swing into action in the spotlight under our intimate Big Top, where no seat is more than 50 feet from the ring! Invited to the dance: an awesome troupe of monocyclists and lasso twirlers from China! A mind–bending group of Mongolian contortionists! A kinetic collection of Kenyan athletes who shimmy up a pole as though gravity were a joke! A herd of hoofers — twelve miniature horses in an equine chorus line! And an Ethiopian juggler with a lively up–tempo act that’s hard to beat! Your Host is our charming and charismatic Ringmaster Kevin Venardos, aided with antic abandon by star clowns Rob Torres and of course, our leggy, lovable laugh–riot Grandma! With live music by the Big Apple Circus Band, there’ll be cavorting in the aisles — and even the audience will be dancing in their seats!

To purchase your discounted tickets to the Big Apple Circus*:

  • Online: and submit the code POP11 in the Promotional Codes box in the lower left of the page.
  • By Phone: CALL 888-541-3750 and mention code POP11
  • In Person: Big Top Box Office opens on March 19th. Hours of Operation: 3/19 – 4/1: 10am-6pm daily. 4/2 – 5/15: Tues-Fri 10am-8pm; Sat-Mon 10am-6pm

The Big Apple Circus is a non-profit performing arts and outreach institution committed to invigorating the communities we serve with the joy and wonder of classical circus. For the latest updates, be sure to friend us on Facebook ( and follow us on Twitter (

*Offer good on select seat locations and performances. Must present this email to receive discount at the box office. Performance schedule subject to change. Offer is subject to availability; not valid on prior purchases; cannot be combined with other discounts or promotions. This offer can be revoked at any time. Discount amount varies. Limit 8 tickets per order. No refunds or exchanges. Telephone and Internet orders are subject to standard service fees.

Update – here is a link to discounted tickets for 2011:

Need Something to do? Look no further…Great Stuff from WGBH

capability mom finds artcapability mom goes looking for artI have great friends and family who are always looking out for me and looking to find interesting stuff for me to do and to share here.

South Coast Artists looks like a fun family day – they have a great activity guide for kids – perfect for today.

From the website:

Welcome to the seventh annual South Coast Artists Studio Tours. This is your chance to visit the studios of some of the best artists living, working and exhibiting in the four beautiful coastal towns of Tiverton, Little Compton, Westport and Dartmouth. Whether this is your first visit, or you’re a seasoned traveler to the South Coast, you’re sure to be impressed by the amazing quality and incredible range of creative work being produced in these scenic communities.  This year the tour features two separate weekends, July 17–18 and August 21–22, and includes over 50 exhibiting artists.

capability mom loves wgbhIf you want to stay closer to home or plan further out – here is a list of cool things to do from WGBH.

Tanglewood Weekend: Mendelssohn and Beethoven; Higdon, Bach, Suppé, Sarasate, and Bizet

Saturday, Aug. 21 and Sunday, Aug. 22, Lenox, MA

Guided Garden Tour

Sundays through Dec. 26, Tower Hill Botanic Garden, Boylston, MA

Landmarks Festival, Hatch Shell on the Esplanade, Boston

Wednesdays through Sept. 1

The Cat in the Hat and the Buzz About Bees Family Funfest

Friday, Aug. 27, Springfield Museums, Springfield, MA

(A special offer extended to WGBH members from our sister station, WGBY)

WGBH Family Fun Day

Sunday, Sept. 5, Old Sturbridge Village, Sturbridge, MA

An Evening with David Sedaris

Thursday, Sept. 30, The Hanover Theater, Worcester, MA

The Music & Dance of Poland: Mazowsze

Wednesday, Dec. 8, The Hanover Theatre, Worcester, MA

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