The 5 children made a few wrong turns as they interpreted the map and raced across the college campus in pursuit of the statues. Finally, they spotted something hiding among the shrubs – 2 smiling lions were staring at them! The kids had found Kate and Willie Pride, the mascots of Hofstra University!
The Hofstra University Museum’s (HUM’s) free Animal Safari Sculpture Exploration Backpack was a fun way to spend a beautiful day with 2 8-year-old girls, an 11-year-old girl, and 2 10-year-old boys. We stopped by the museum’s office to borrow a few backpacks and start on our artistic scavenger hunt. Each backpack included a map of where to find the sculptures, cards with a brief description of each artwork and some thought provoking questions, and art supplies for creating small projects based on each piece of artwork.
The program is well thought out – the map and all of the cards were printed on heavy duty card stock and laminated to resist wear and tear, the materials needed for each craft were in separate plastic envelopes, the cards and craft envelopes were hooked together on a ring so they stayed in the right order, and everything fit in the lightweight backpack! It is also part of Michelle Obama’s “Let’s Move!” initiative to reduce childhood obesity, which is why the artwork was spread out enough that we walked (or ran) around the beautifully landscaped campus.
Although there weren’t any Michelangelos or Rodins on campus, the kids enjoyed searching for the artwork and doing the projects. There were 5 stops on our exploration that featured bronze and iron animal sculptures in a variety of different styles. Along the way, the children did a variety of projects ranging from drawing to putting together a collage to creating aluminum foil animals. Another great part of the exploration were the great discussions we had about the materials, the expressions, the surroundings, and in the case of an abstract piece – what could they possibly be?!?
This was a wonderful activity for the girls who love art and enjoy doing arts and crafts. In fact, all of the girls went straight to the kitchen to get more aluminum foil when we got home. They’ve been having fun sculpting animals and other shapes. One challenge we faced was that the girls tended to take their time with each stop, while once the boys were done, they were ready to move on and got a little antsy waiting for the girls. Nevertheless, we’re looking forward to doing our next HUM Sculpture Backpack Exploration!
- Skills: Gross and fine motor, curiosity
- Preparation: Wear comfortable shoes and clothes since you’ll be standing, walking, and occasionally running outside.
- Cost: Free! The museum has 3 different Sculpture Exploration Backpacks – Animal Safari, Shapes, and People.
- Time & Energy: It took us less than 30 minutes to get to Hofstra. There’s free parking, but it can be difficult finding a spot if classes are in session. We spent about 2 hours doing the backpack activities.
- Contact Info: The museum has a website (http://Hofstra.edu/museum)