Playful ways to recreate the Museum of Childhood

May 7, 2020

In my job as Senior Creative Producer at the Museum of Childhood, I get to work with our Activity Assistants, who are the people who bring all sorts of creative ideas to the museum floor – from storytelling, to spotlight tours – and all sorts of opportunities to design and make new things inspired by our collection.

While the doors of the museum are closed for now, the Activity Assistants have been continuing to find playful creative opportunities in their homes. We thought you might like to join in – so here is what they have been up to.

Making a Mosaic Message

Hello from Lynn at home. One of my favourite things about working at the museum is seeing your imaginations at work and designs emerging.

The Black cat shadow puppet from Storytime is here with me, as is my actual cat helper, Sampson.

A mosaic is a picture or pattern produced by arranging together small pieces of stone, tile, glass or even paper. Look at some of these mosaics in the V&A collection.

I’ve been designing mosaics inspired by patterns and shapes in my home while also looking into the V&A collections online and remembering the patterns on our marble floor at the Museum of Childhood.

Can you identify patterns in your home?

Of all the patterns you have identified, pick a pattern and use it to make your own mosaic message card to send to a friend.

Gather any coloured paper you have around the house and some scissors.

Next, cut them into small pieces in your chosen shapes, then begin to arrange them on another piece of paper, imitating the pattern you have chosen, and repeating as you go.

Create a Show for a Kitchen Theatre

Hello from Katie. As a performer, I have always loved using my imagination in storytelling.

I have made a small theatre in my kitchen. Do you recognise the story in the picture below?

My Paper Bag Princess theatre

It’s the Paper Bag Princess – you may have read it or even seen it performed at the museum before. Do you like my green Dragon? What can you imagine coming to life in your kitchen?

Use your imagination to cast objects in your home as characters in a story.

First pick your story, and then work out the characters. Collect items from around the home to become these characters.

Using any card you can find, cut out a frame for your stage, or alternatively use fabric. Use this as the space in which to play out the story, like a puppet show.

(If you do choose things from your kitchen, make sure they aren’t sharp).

Here are some ideas for characters to get you going…

A brush as a Punk Rocker, a bottle opener as a Dancing Robot, and a whisk as a hot air balloon…

Museum in a Jar 

Hi, it’s Magda and Maggie here.

Maggie (left) and Magda (right) working from home

We enjoy thinking about the architecture of the museum and, from our respective homes, have been designing our own Museum in a Jar.

You don’t need a lot to try this out yourself, just an empty jar, scissors, paper, glue and memories of your favourite museum.

Step 1

First, make the floor of the museum – Magda has drawn hers, while Maggie has used an old V&A shop bag. You will need to make sure this fits into the base of the jar. Try drawing around the jar onto the paper you have chosen to ensure it is the right size.

Step 2

Next, create the outside of the museum’s building. You can see images of the museum on our website or, if you can, draw from memory. We drew, coloured and cut it out.

Step 3

Make the museum’s roof by covering the jar lid. We have used something a bit metallic. Now glue the floor and walls to the jar.

Step 4

Now it is time to curate your museum collection. Make or collect your favourite objects inspired by things at the museum. You can look for inspiration in our collection or pick things that are important to you. Remember, they will need to be small enough to fit in your jar.

Step 5

Arrange your collection inside the jar and keep adding and revisiting as you find new collection objects.

Please share your designs and creations with us by tagging #mocpicks on social media or DM us @museumchildhood for a chance to be featured on our channels.

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