Recipes for Play

Come play at the Museum!

See what’s happening today

Support the Museum with

Make your homepage and every time you search the Museum gets a penny.

Start Searching

Tips, techniques and fun ideas to play and learn everywhere you go!

Recipes for Play give teachable moment ideas that can be done at home or in the community. They correlate with our daily programs and monthly themes, and you get one to take home after any of our programs. Here are some from April's theme, Planet Earth Month.


This Recipe for Play came from Super Science Sunday, a program where children learn that science is all around us.

…read more

During the April program, guests became Earth Rangers and learned about different ways to help our planet. You can make a terrarium at home to learn how plants grow and understand the importance of caring for living things.

2 Liter Bottle
Decoration materials: rocks, twigs, moss and figurines

1. Cut bottle about 2 inches below neck so it is in two pieces.
2. Place pebbles in the bottom of the bottles.
3. Add 2 inches of soil to the bottom of the bottles.
4. Plant your favorite flowers in the soil.
5. Water the plant so the soil is moist, but not soaked.
6. Create a landscape inside the bottle using decoration materials like twigs and figurines.
7. Replace the top of the bottle by putting the neck upside down in the opening.

The terrarium is self-sufficient and does not need to be watered. Similar to the Earth’s water cycle, the water will rise and evaporate as the temperature inside the bottle increase from the sunlight. The water will then condensate on the side of the bottle and slowly drip down onto the plants like rain.


This Recipe for Play came from Toddler Time, a cheerful program geared specifically for toddlers.

…read more

During Planet Earth Month, children made special binoculars to observe the natural world during a nature walk. Make these binoculars at home and head outdoors to discover the wonder and beauty in the world around us.

• Two cardboard toilet paper rolls
• Yarn
• Whole punch, scissors and tape or hot glue
• Markers and stickers

1. Attach the toilet paper rolls side-by-side with tape or glue
2. Punch a whole on the outside edge of both rolls
3. Cut a piece of yarn that will fit over your head (about 1.5 feet) and tie each end to the holes
4. Decorate your binoculars with markers and stickers

Beautiful Blossoms

This Recipe for Play came from Backyard Explorers, a program that teaches about nature and the plants and animals that we live with everyday.

…read more

Children made cherry blossoms, a famous symbol of spring, out of tissue paper and real sticks during the April program. There are many other ways to make art using found natural objects.

You can use real flowers to make a print. There are lots of flowers this time of year. Find some bright ones that have recently fallen off their stems. Trim any stem off the flower, then place it on a piece of paper (watercolor paper works well). Cover the flower with 2-3 layers of paper towels. Take a hammer and tap the paper towels over the flower. Start by tapping lightly and add more pressure if you feel the color from the flower is not transferring to the paper. Now peel the paper towel back, and then remove the flower to reveal your print! Try hammering leaves and other plants to see what effects you get!

Watering Can

This Recipe for Play came from ARTS a la Carte, a great program that nurtures your child’s creativity.

…read more

In April's program, children recycled paper to make seeded thank you cards. Once planted, all seeds need plenty of love and care. A great way to care for your garden is to make your own recycled watering can.

• Plastic Milk Jug (washed and dried out)
• Plastic Funnel
• Scissors, Paper Towels and Marker
• Scotch Tape and White Duct Tape

1. Place funnel across from handle and trace around with a marker.
2. Cut out a circle 1/4 inch inside the outline.
3. Pop funnel into hole by compressing large side. Use scotch tape to hold in place.
4. Tape funnel in permanent position with duct tape.
5. Decorate with markers, sequins or other fun spring flair!
6. Water away!

Box Guitar

This Recipe for Play came from Make Believe Matinee, the Children's Museum of Denver program that allows kids to be the star of the show.

…read more

In Aprils' program, guests learned about bluegrass music after reading Thatcher Hurd’s “Mama Don’t Allow” and constructing their own guitars. You can find this book at your local library and make a guitar for yourself!

Materials needed:
• An empty tissue box
• A paint stick (the type used to stir a can of house paint)
• Hot glue, if possible. Otherwise, Elmer’s glue will do.
• Rubber bands
• Decoration flare

1. Glue the paint stick to the back of the tissue box.
2. Carefully put the rubber bands around the box.
3. Decorate your guitar.
4. Now, it’s time to play some bluegrass!