Celebrating Peter – A Day at Discovery Cube

wind tube

Back in November, Peter turned six! In keeping with the ideas that guide our family’s life, we don’t do extravagant birthdays, but we do have a few little traditions to mark the day. We focus on celebrating the person, being together, and the things that person loves best. On the day we celebrated Peter, it was all about ninjas, science, and pizza.

Ninjas

One of Peter’s favorite things is to dress himself in black from head to toe and spend the day in ninja mode. In the event of a crisis – such as the ninja clothes being in the laundry – solid red, blue, or even white outfits have been accepted as substitutes and we have a fire ninja, a water ninja, or an ice ninja. Flexibility is an important skill for a ninja to develop.

So his request was for a ninja birthday. And thanks to Pinterest, we found simple, creative ways to grant that wish.

ninja birthday
From basic black balloon to ninja balloon with a small piece of paper and a sharpie!

 

ninja birthday
Again, a little bit of black decorating icing changes Oreos into Ninjas! The hardest part of this one was cutting the cookie without breaking it. Too bad someone had to eat up all the broken ones!

One of our birthday traditions, for the kids, is to wake them up in the morning singing happy birthday and delivering cupcakes. Cupcakes for breakfast – 3 times a year. It’s not always easy to make sure we’re up and ready before the excited birthday kid wakes up, but in the event they wake up first, they always pretend to be asleep until we get there.

birthday morning
Good morning, birthday boy!

Discovery Cube Science Center

Our kids love museums. We love that they love museums, because we also love musuems! Peter wanted his birthday to be a field trip day, and so after eating ninja cupcakes, opening presents, and answering happy birthday phone calls from grandparents, we were off to Discovery Cube Los Angeles!

Some of our favorite discoveries as we travel have been happy accidents, and Discovery Cube is one of them. We were out running errands one day and took a strange detour to avoid the notorious LA traffic on the freeway. We passed a sign for Discovery Cube and decided to look it up. Admission would be free for us through our ASTC membership so we decided to give it a try.

We were impressed! It wasn’t huge, but there was enough to keep us busy for most of the day without feeling overwhelmed or rushed to see and do everything. Here were some of our favorite exhibits:

Weather

This exhibit taught them many things about different types of weather in different parts of the country, but especially in southern California. They had the chance to walk through a cloud, and to change different conditions and see how the cloud responded. We also learned more about Santa Ana winds (which we would soon have the chance to experience for real) and step into a tube and experience 60+ mph winds.

cloud walk
This was the very first thing and I thought we’d never get him out of that cloud!

 

wind tube
They were a little intimidated by this wind tube, but loved it and couldn’t stop laughing!

Home Inspection

This exhibit was unique – unlike anything we had seen or done in other museums. And it was definitely a highlight! Kids entered a one-story home, complete with bedrooms, living room, kitchen, bathroom, garage and backyard, as home inspectors. Equipped with touch screen tablets, they were given different missions to inspect the home for issues like safety, energy efficiency, and environmental concerns. They tightened leaky water connections, checked for frayed wiring, and evaluated the energy ratings of appliances. The software always knew where they were in the house and walked them through each task. When they completed their missions, they took a selfie on the tablet that was then displayed on the wall outside the house exhibit. It was a creative, educational use of technology that we really enjoyed!

kid home inspectors
On two separate missions, our home inspectors met up in the bathroom…

 

super inspectors
Super Inspectors! Not such a crowded day at Discovery Cube!

Ice Hockey

You might think that kids from Sweden would know a lot about ice hockey. Many of them probably do, but ours do not. I suppose that’s a consequence of having two parents who aren’t particularly interested in sports. Our hometown’s team has been among the top teams in Sweden for several years running, but we just knew that championship games were great times to avoid crowds at the supermarket. One time, Emelie walked into the room when my uncle was watching hockey and she excitedly said, “Oh look! A sport!”

All of that to say that perhaps it was healthy to learn a little more about hockey. They got to try out the equipment, attempt to score, and then play goalie and try to stop the puck. They learned the science behind keeping the ice frozen indoors and how a Zamboni works to smooth the surface.

hockey kid
It was harder than it looked!

Doc McStuffins

Discovery Cube has a section for temporary or traveling exhibits, and when we were there it was Doc McStuffins and her toy clinic. Here there were plenty of opportunities for role play and imagination, which naturally made it one of the kids’ favorite exhibits. It was also the only place that Micah could be freed from stroller-bondage, since the toddler area was closed for renovations while we were there. We spent a lot of time there.

doc mcstuffins
Our little nurturer

 

Doc McStuffins
When did he get so handsome?!?

 

doll crib
Micah could not be convinced that the doll cribs were not for him.

There were other great exhibits, too! We rode a simulated helicopter ride following the California aqueduct as it carried water through the desert to the city of Los Angeles. Another simulator took us on a deep sea dive. There was a grocery store where digital displays on the shopping carts gave kids missions (depending on age level) to learn about the nutritional content of different food and also the environmental impact of its production and transport. They raced to be the fastest to sort trash and recycling and played games on a digital climbing wall. We even watched a 3D movie about the Galapagos Islands (for a small extra charge). It was a really great day!

chemistry
Learning about elements and molecules, different kinds of bonds and the Periodic Table. Bonus points if anyone can name the molecule that Peter is working on…

Pizza

We stopped on the way home at a local pizza restaurant to fulfill the birthday boy’s dinner wish: pizza in a restaurant. The pizza was really good, and when the owner overheard that it was Peter’s birthday, he brought him an enormous piece of chocolate mousse cake, on the house. And so his day started and ended with chocolate cake, as all good birthdays should.

chocolate cake
He truly couldn’t believe that whole piece was for him! (In the end it wasn’t. He needed help and found plenty of willing volunteers!)

Five was a big year for Peter. He learned to read, ride a bike without training wheels, swim independently, and a thousand smaller things that were barely noticed at the time but which add up to make a huge difference. He adjusted to being a big brother, getting glasses, and life in the United States and on the road. He is full of energy, creativity, and imagination. He is an observer of the world around him and his mind is processing deep thoughts just as constantly as his body is in motion. It is a privilege to watch and help him grow and we can’t wait to see what the next year will bring!

 

 

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