What is there to do in Sun Prairie this summer?

May 25, 2020
  • Who is Katey? Wait, how many kids does she have?!

    I wear many hats, but my most relentless, rewarding, overwhelming, time-consuming and the reason I breathe in and out job is being a mom. I have 4 kids; and for some strange reason I thought having 4 kids in 5 years was a good plan … well you know what they say about the best-laid plans right?? Yeah, they often go awry. Being 3, 5, 6 and 8 years old does make them the perfect children’s museum research team though, so there’s that. I thought if they were close in age they would be BFF’s – ha! They do have moments together when I get all warm and fuzzy on the inside and picture them calling each other when something exciting happens and confiding in one another during tough times. And then there are the other moments. The moments they hurt each other, the moments they push buttons only siblings can find, the times they fight over flip flops that don’t fit either one of them (yes, this happened this morning), the times I question all of my life’s choices. Don’t get me wrong, my kids are my most favorite people on this planet, but being their mom is hard work!

    Summer fun?

    Summer always feels like a mixed bag. I am excited for sunshine, cookouts and extra time with friends and family. But I worry about ticks, keeping my eyes on all my kids in the swimming pool (I told you there are 4 of them right??) and planning how to spend our days without the structure of the school year. And those are my feelings about a normal summer. Enter Covid-19. Nothing feels normal; planning feels pointless and we all miss our friends, our routine and the days we could gather together without worry. As the summer of 2020 looms I am left wondering – what am I going to do with my kids??

    I thought this blog post was about Explore Children’s Museum?

    One of the other hats I wear is being a co-founder and Board of Directors member for Explore Children’s Museum, an emerging children’s museum in Sun Prairie. Bringing this children’s museum to Sun Prairie is my life’s ambition, my passion project, and a way for me to contribute to the community that I call home. But it’s also hard work. I am learning how to start a non-profit organization from the ground up, how to create awareness campaigns, raise (a lot of) funds, building construction details and the ins and outs of exhibit planning. I really do like to learn new things but whoa, this is tons of new things, all at once. I have to give myself a lot of internal pep talks, like all the time. And hey, guess what? Just when I thought we had a good plan for awareness campaigns and fundraising events for 2020 … enter Covid-19. Sheesh! Back to the drawing board. How the heck are we supposed to spread the word about this project and raise funds to build a children’s museum during a GLOBAL PANDEMIC?? But rest assured, the team at Explore are not quitters. We are not going to give up on this project. We believe in our mission and our vision. We can do this (see – little pep talk). Our timeline got longer, our ideas stretched and changed and flip flopped. The importance of connecting with our community increased. We are being flexible and continuing to move forward with our goals.

    Seriously though, what is there to do in Sun Prairie this summer with my kids?

    So just like summer plans for my kids, our plans for museum events blew up right in my face. But the good news is that the team at Explore Children’s Museum is creative. We came up with some family fun to fill your summer. Ok, it won’t fill your summer because let’s face it, summer days are loooooong, especially with kids; but our activities are fun, kid-friendly and best of all help our team continues to move forward with building a crazy cool creative space for your kids to learn (when we can all be together again – the day will come, I promise).

    Explore Children’s Museum’s Summer Fun!

    Even though this school year is ending in a way none of us could ever have imagined, we can still celebrate the beginning of summer and we should! I for one believe we should celebrate as much as we can, and for now, at a safe distance from one another. To send your kids (and you, sort of) off into summer bliss, ECM is hosting a School’s Out Color Splash Party Parade on June 12, 2020 between 11am-1pm. Check out our Programs and Events for detailed information. We will be there with bells and whistles (ok, not really, but we will bring bubbles and music) to celebrate with you. And because we are parents and totally see you, when you purchase a Color Splash Party Pack you are automatically entered to win some pretty great swag (seriously, cross my heart) from local Sun Prairie businesses.

    What else, you ask? Do you remember Bucky on Parade? ECM is hosting a similar community event. I mean, we don’t have actual Bucky Badgers, how do you compete with that?? But we do have some absolutely stunning original art done by local artists to share with you. I am not exaggerating when I say that you will be amazed by the unique art these talented local gems have created on hand made (by local Sun Prairie students nonetheless) Aldo Leopold style benches. Explore’s Art in the City Bench Campaign will debut in June (get sneak peeks at the beautiful bench art on our Facebook and Instagram pages) throughout the city of Sun Prairie. Check out our Programs and Events tab on the website (www.explorecm.org) for detailed information. We can’t wait to see photos of you and your family visiting the benches (and really, we don’t mind grumpy kid faces in photos, I actually prefer the candor of a true moment in time). We will soon have a hashtag (when we figure out how those work …) for community bench photos. I promise to share some true life photos of my own family visiting the benches (and I’m certain there will be some grumpy faces).

    To keep my spirits up these last few months, I have spent a lot of time thinking about Explore Children’s Museum: the actual building; the exhibits; what it’s going to look like; and how our community will be reflected in the space. I like to think big and often those closest to me have to rein me in a bit, but I like to let my imagination run wild sometimes (ok a lot … but that’s a story for a different time). Anyway, back to the museum building. Our team at Explore wants the museum to be a true community space. To literally illustrate that value, we need your help to create a mural for the museum. A big, beautiful work of art created by lots and lots of little tiny works of art made by our most favorite community members – kids (yes, we like you too, but kids are why we are doing what we’re doing). The name of this project is Community Mural: Shine On. Check out our Programs and Events tab on the website (www.explorecm.org) for detailed information. Fair warning, I’m about to get mushy. This community mural will be a sun because even on hard, dark days, the sun will rise again. New days bring new chances and new opportunities and new hope. We all need a reminder of that these days. I know I do!

    So there you have it. I didn’t solve all your problems for planning your kids’ summer (that is an impossible task that I can’t even solve for myself), but I hope you join us this summer in learning more about how you can help us bring a children’s museum to Sun Prairie. And while there are days I get a little hesitant to look summer in the eye, I am doing my best to focus on the little things that will one day be a sweet memory. So let’s spend more of these long summer days reading books on a blanket in the backyard with our kids, sharing their excitement when they get to be in charge of the water hose, and snuggling just a little longer before bed because in all honesty, being a parent is the best and most important job on the planet.

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