BFK News

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You’re invited to join us for the 13th annual BFK Children’s Parade presented by ThedaCare on Wednesday, July 27!

Kids and their families are encouraged to stroll down College Avenue in themed costumes and non-motorized floats in a parade all about them. Families and friends are encouraged to come together to brainstorm their themes and create their own costumes and floats out of wagons, bikes, and strollers.

The parade will kick-off in Houdini Plaza across from the Building for Kids, where we’ll be joined by special guests, Pete the Cat and Clifford! We’ll leave Houdini Plaza in waves starting at 6pm and make our way along the parade route to City Park. Awards will be given by our panel of judges for creativity, imagination, and confidence.

After the parade, families are invited to stay for a FREE concert. A variety of food trucks will also be present with delicious treats and snacks.

This is a FREE event, but registration is required.

Click here to register!

The BFK Children’s Parade presented by ThedaCare is one of the signature events of U.S. Venture Children’s Week. This community-wide celebration of kids will take place July 24 – 30 and offers a week full of free or reduced-cost activities for the whole family.

Click here to learn more!

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We are launching Summer Explorer Camps, starting this June and running through August!

We will be offering 9 different themed weeks throughout the summer. Campers can explore their artistic side as they create their own art gallery or learn what it takes to be an entrepreneur as they start their own business. Campers can also study how robots work, learn about plants and animals, and even make their own paper. Check out our full list of themes below or click here to read their full descriptions.

Summer Explorer Camp Schedule

  1. Mindful Masters: June 6 – 10
  2. Follow Your Art: June 13 – 17
  3. Nourished by Nature: June 20 – 24
  4. Early Entrepreneurs: June 27 – July 1
  5. Print & Papermaking: July 11 – 15
  6. Robotics: July 18 – 22
  7. Children’s Week: July 25 – 29
  8. Music Makers: August 1 – 5
  9. Nature Exploration: August 22 – 26

To help ensure you can find a camp that fits your family’s schedule, full-day, morning, and afternoon Summer Explorer Camps are available. Camps run Monday – Thursday with the option to add on an “In the Field Friday.” On “In the Field Fridays,” we’ll go on a field trip or invite a special guest to the museum that relates to our weekly theme.

To learn more or register for a Summer Explorer Camp, please click here!

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On Sunday, April 10 from 9am – 2pm, the BFK is hosting Financial Literacy Free Day sponsored by Money Smart Week Fox Cities. Admission will be FREE all day and we’ll have fun activities centered around financial literacy.  Kids will learn about earning, spending, sharing, and saving through a mini economy.

Upon entering the museum, kids will receive a play check which they can use to build, decorate, and sell a house, while also paying the house’s various expenses. In addition, kids can choose what they want to save their money for as well as where they want to share their money. Then, with whatever money they have left, they can buy prizes.

Plus, we’ll host storytimes at 10am and 11:30am. We’ll read “The Berenstain Bears’ Trouble with Money” by Stan and Jan Berenstain. We’ll also be giving out free copies of the book while supplies last. 

No pre-registration is required. This event is free for all.

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Spend the morning with Curious George!

We’re hosting a Breakfast with Curious George event on Saturday, April 2 from 8 – 10am, sponsored by TDS. Check out the list below to learn more about what you can expect during the event:

  • Storytime: Throughout the morning, we’ll host storytimes, featuring “Curious George Makes Pancakes.”
  • Breakfast: We’ll have a build-your-own breakfast sandwich buffet provided by Bagelicious. Choose your own bagel, egg, cheese, and meat. Fruit and drinks will also be provided.
  • Activities: Join us for puffy paint activities in our da Vinci Studio and building activities in our Innovation Lab.
  • Curious George: Throughout the event, there will be tons of opportunities to meet Curious George and get pictures! Plus, be sure to visit our traveling exhibit, “Curious George: Let’s Get Curious!” The exhibit introduces visitors to Curious George’s world through math and science based activities.

This event is $5 per member and $15 per non-member. Registration closes Wednesday, March 30th at noon.

Click here to register!

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New traveling exhibit open January 15 –  May 8 at the Building for Kids!

Based on the familiar characters in H.A. and Margret Rey’s classic stories, this new traveling exhibit inspires children’s natural curiosity as they explore science, math, and engineering concepts through hands-on, interactive play.

The immersive exhibit environment takes place in the neighborhood where Curious George lives with his friend, The Man in the Yellow Hat. Visitors can build a whirligig at George’s farm, launch in a rocket to outer space, play mini golf at George’s special course and so much more.

“We are so excited to host this nationally traveling exhibit that supports our mission of inspiring discovery,” says Oliver Zornow, Executive Director of the BFK. “By creating an immersive learning environment that leverages kid’s natural curiosity this exhibit introduces important STEM concepts in a fun and engaging way.”

Visitors can also use pulleys to help George climb the fire escape, design and build structures at the construction site, and count and weigh fruit at the produce stand.

Curious George: Let’s Get Curious! will be at the BFK January 15 through May 8, 2022. The exhibit is sponsored locally by the Appleton Noon Optimist Club, Infant Welfare Circle of King’s Daughters Donor Advised Fund within the Community Foundation for the Fox Valley Region, and Menasha Corporation Foundation. Additionally, the exhibit is sponsored nationally by PBS Kids and developed by Minnesota Children’s Museum.

Curious George television series merchandise © Universal Studios.  Curious George and related characters, created by Margret and H.A. Rey, are copyrighted and trademarked by Houghton Mifflin Company and used under license.  Licensed by Universal Studios Licensing LLLP.  All rights reserved.  The PBS KIDS logo is a registered mark of PBS and is used with permission.

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On Friday, December 31, the Building for Kids Children’s Museum will be ringing in the New Year from 10am – 6pm with fun family activities planned throughout the day.

The BFK will be doing countdowns, complete with lots of confetti and parades around the museum, at 11am, 1pm, and 3pm.

“New Year’s at the Building for Kids is a great way to welcome 2022 with the whole family,” said Oliver Zornow, Executive Director of the BFK. “If you have kids (or even adults) that won’t quite make it until midnight, we’ve got you covered with all of the fun and excitement of midnight at various times throughout the day.”

In addition, the BFK will be doing New Year’s themed activities throughout the museum. Families can make their own noise makers in da Vinci Studio and can experiment with simple machines while building their own ball drop devices in the Innovation Lab.

Due to limited capacity, visitors are encouraged to register in advance to secure their place.

You can register for a visit by clicking here!


BFK Holiday Hours:

  • Friday, December 24: Closed
  • Saturday, December 25: Closed

  • Monday, December 27 – Thursday, December 30: 9:00 am – 5:00 pm
  • Friday, December 31: 10:00 am – 6:00 pm
  • Saturday, January 1: Closed
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To celebrate our upcoming traveling exhibit – Curious GeorgeTM: Let’s Get Curious! – we’re offering a special membership sale!

Sign up for an annual membership between November 29 and December 5 and receive a 15% discount on your membership (plus a free book)!

To take advantage of this special offer, click here and be sure to use discount code Curious2021 at checkout.

Get a free Curious George book!

With your purchase of a membership between November 29 and December 5, you receive a FREE Curious George book!

Books will not be mailed. Please pick your book up in-person at our Welcome Desk before December 23. Pick it up the next time you come to play or stop in any time during our regular hours of operation.

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The pandemic has been hard on all of us – disrupted routines, stress and mental health challenges, isolation, economic challenges, and so much more. It is important to recognize that missed plans can be rescheduled and relationships with friends and family can be rekindled. However, brain development doesn’t wait and cannot be rescheduled for another time. 90% of brain development occurs within the first five years of a child’s life.  Children in this critical stage are facing life-long negative impacts to their development.   

The past 18 months, we’ve felt these challenges through conversations with parents, partners, and kids themselves. However, we are now seeing data emerge showing that Growth is at Play in our community. According to the Ages and Stages Screening data in Outagamie and Winnebago Counties, during the first year of the public health crisis, we saw in children under the age of 5:
• 46% increase in the rate of fine motor skill delays
• 27% increase in the rate of gross motor skill delays

In times like these, we need to focus our investments on insulating children from the long-term impacts of the pandemic through proven, evidence-based interventions. In a two-year longitudinal study, early elementary school children that participated regularly at the Building for Kids demonstrated stronger growth in social self-confidence and improvement in academic performance in science, math, and reading as compared to the control group that did not.

As we look to the future, we need your help to ensure we can continue to present robust engagement opportunities for children in our community. By giving to the Building for Kids, you support evidence-based initiatives that help insulate children from the impacts of this crisis, accelerate their development and academic achievement, and build critical skills of resiliency to help them succeed.

Please consider making a donation today because it is Growth at Play. 

To give, visit give.buildingforkids.org/growth.

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STEM Free Day is Saturday, October 23. Join us as we celebrate Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math with free admission to the BFK!
Sign up for a FREE 2-hour play session. Spend time exploring all of our exhibits and enjoy some hands-on STEM projects led by local STEM professionals.
Spots are limited and registration is required at https://65215.blackbaudhosting.com/…/STEM-Free-Day…
Thank you to our sponsors, Gulfstream, Plexus, and Miller Electric for making this day possible!
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6 Teams. 3 Challenges. Who will be the Greatest BFK Maker of all?


You’re invited to tune in for the first annual Great BFK Maker Challenge sponsored by Boldt! Watch as six teams, comprised of kids and their adults, compete in three challenges that will premier on the BFK Facebook page this July.

In this fundraiser, inspired by competition TV shows, teams will need a combination of creativity, skill, and collaboration to succeed. The teams will receive points based on the level of comprehension, quality of their work, and their ability to work together as a team. Teams will also earn a bonus point for every $250 they raise. The two teams with the most points after the first two challenges will face-off in the third and final challenge, with one to be named the Greatest BFK Maker of all!

Episode Schedule:

Episode 1 – Saturday, July 17 at noon

Episode 2 – Saturday, July 24 at noon

Episode 3 – Saturday, July 31 at noon

Want to learn more about the Great BFK Maker Challenge? Click here!

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