Kiddie Pool 6/11/2020

Animal adventure

Sneak in a little learning during your walks through nature. The New Hampshire Fish and Game department have Wildlife of New Hampshire cards available on their website at The two-page color pdfs are on subjects such as “Wildlife of Young Forests,” “Backyard Wildlife of New Hampshire” and “Wildlife of Rivers and Streams” as well as cards for hawks, wild bees, frogs, dragonflies, different kinds of birds and more.

Join a circus

The Flying Gravity Circus based in Wilton will be offering an at-home program called “Circus in a Box” this summer. With two programs (one for ages 6 to 8 and one for 9 to 14) and three weeklong sessions, “Circus in a Box” delivers circus-related materials (such as a puppet stage for the younger group, juggling balls for the older group and clown noses to everybody) in a box and then offers five days of programming for kids to follow at home, according to the website. The cost is $100 and camps run the weeks of June 29, July 6 and July 13. See

Circus Smirkus, the Vermont-based youth circus that has traveled to New Hampshire in past summers, won’t be touring this summer but Smirkus fans can still get in some clowning. Circus Smirkus will present Smirk-O-Vision, an online presentation of six events. A season pass costs $90 or individual events (six are scheduled) cost $15 to $18, according to the website, which lists the shows including “Inside the Circus: Backstage at the HQ” (on Aug. 6 at 7 p.m.), which looks at how they put on the shows each year, and “Inside the Circus: Directors’ Commentary” (July 2 at 7 p.m.). The group is also offering Smirkus@Home programming on subjects including juggling, magic, clowning, contortion and more, with classes for kids as young as 5 and schedules that include one-day classes, weeklong classes or sessions with weekly classes. See

Bee prep

Netflix’s new documentary Spelling the Dream (see page 24 for a review) is all about kids (and their families) competing in the Scripps National Spelling Bee. The movie is rated G and might be a good way to inspire kids who are “meh” about spelling but like competition, trophies and the idea of going on ESPN. And, if they catch the Bee bug (or if you are just looking for ways to get kids spelling practice), you can check out the official Scripps app Word Club. It has a paid component, of course, but it offers some free word lists that users can be quizzed on in a variety of ways. The app presents the phonetic spelling, audio of someone saying the word, definition, part of speech and other information similar to what you’d get in a bee.

Photo courtesy of

Kiddie Pool

Family fun for the weekend

Ocean celebration
The Seacoast Science Center ( is celebrating World Oceans Day (Monday, June 8) with programming that started June 1 and will run through Monday. Catch up on previous days’ presentations (including a Q&A scheduled with marine mammal rescue experts and environmental storytelling). Presentations on the schedule for the rest of the week include a discussion about plastic-eating bacteria (Thursday, June 4, at 11 a.m.), a creature feature with a baby octopus (Friday, June 5, at 11 a.m.), a virtual 5K on Saturday (June 6) and a World Ocean Day Family trivia challenge on Monday, June 8, at 6 p.m. (register in advance). Find a full schedule and links to all the programming on their website.

Camps, virtually
The McAuliffe-Shepard Discovery Center in Concord ( will host week-long virtual camps starting the week of June 22. The camps will feature live Zoom sessions in the mornings and afternoons with activities for kids to do on their own in between, according to the website. The materials needed for each camp will be sent to campers and are included in the price of registration, the website said. The first two camps are geared toward younger kids — “Discover the Dinosaurs” for ages 5 to 8 years old and “Science Explorers” for ages 5 to 7 years old — and adult supervision will be required, the website said. Other camps include “Tech for Ecology” (July 13 to July 17 for ages 10 to 14 years) and “Astronomy 101” (Aug. 3 to Aug. 7, for ages 8 to 12; the final week). The cost is $90 to $110, depending on the camp, with discounts for members and for second campers from the same family. Find the full list of camps and registration forms on the website.

The Currier Art Center in Manchester ( has several camps and online classes scheduled for the summer to include week-long classes (meeting Monday, Wednesday and Friday) for ages 6 to 10 and middle schoolers (with a daily week-long camp, Comics Camp, in mid-July) and weekly classes for kids, middle schoolers, teens and adults. Week-long camps cost $105, weekly classes start at $110 (with discounts for members and people taking multiple classes), according to the website.

At the New Hampshire Audubon, they’re calling their online camp a Backyard Summer Camp (, with eight week-long sessions planned with programs for ages 4 to 5, 6 to 9 and 10 to 12. The programs will feature a virtual circle, live animal presentations, activities campers can do at their own pace and more. The cost is $70 or $100 per week (depending on camper age) with discounts for members, according to the website. Themes include “Feathered Friends,” “It’s a Buggy World,” “Be a Scientist” and more.

Wild Salamander Creative Arts Center in Hollis( has one-off online classes (in addition to its lineup of in-person summer camps). Felting classes, most open to grade 3 through adults, are scheduled starting June 16; they cost $27 and felting kits with materials for one project will be available for pickup the day before the classes, which will be held on Zoom, the website said. Projects include butterflies, ladybugs and cactus.

Home puzzling

Escape rooms go virtual — for free

Escape rooms have been hit hard by the Covid-19 pandemic, but some have come up with creative ways to keep players engaged while their doors are closed.
Five New Hampshire escape rooms — NH Granite State Escape in Manchester, Break Free 603 in Amherst, Monkey Mind Escape Rooms in Portsmouth, Mystery NH in North Conway and Time Quest NH in Littleton — are among 25 escape rooms from around New England that have come together to develop a free, at-home virtual escape room experience for players.
“We have to remind people that we’re still here and, ideally, will still be here at the end of [the pandemic],” Beth Scrimger of Mystery NH Escape Rooms said. “Hopefully, it will give people a glimpse into an escape room they weren’t familiar with before so they [think], ‘I can’t wait until it opens again.’”
The escape room concept originated as a subgenre of point-and-click video games in which the player is locked in a room and must find his way out using only the objects within the room. Real-life escape rooms have various types of objectives, based on a theme or backstory, that involve finding clues and solving puzzles around the room.
The theme for the virtual escape room experience is “Everyday Superheroes: Always Saving Our Butts.” As the story goes, an evil villain named Dr. T.P. Rolls has snuck into town in the middle of the night and stolen every last roll of toilet paper.
“He’s cleared out every bathroom, linen closet, and store shelf and brought the stash to his hidden toilet paper warehouse,” reads the story description on the New England Room Escapes website. “Your help is desperately needed! Assemble a team of everyday superheroes — from doctors to police officers to teachers — to find the secret lair and Save Our Butts!”
“There are so many people out there keeping our world turning right now,” Scrimger said. “Teachers, farmers, [mail delivery] drivers, grocery store [workers] — they are our everyday superheroes, so we decided to come up with a story that honors them.”
To play, visit the NERE website, where you’ll find links to each virtual escape room on the participating escape rooms’ respective websites. Each virtual escape room is unique and features different objectives and puzzles.
“The escape rooms have all developed their own concepts with their own flair,” Scrimger said. “Some are really challenging; some are super simple. Some require you to write things down on a piece of paper to solve the puzzle, or you have to complete a certain task to make something else happen.”
Upon completing an escape room, you’ll be given the name of an occupation of an everyday hero. That occupation is your “key.” Return to the NERE website and input the key for that escape room to receive credit. Players who complete all 25 escape rooms by June 30 will receive discount codes to use at those escape rooms once they reopen for business and will be entered for a chance to win the grand prize: two tickets for one free game at each of those escape rooms.

“Everyday Superheroes: Always Saving Our Butts”
Visit to start your virtual escape room adventure, going on now through June 30.

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