There’s more to play at FIG – there’s science, technology, engineering, art and math

Young children can participate in a variety of hands-on art, science, and literacy-based activities this spring at the Whatcom Museum’s Family Interactive Gallery.
Young children can participate in a variety of hands-on art, science, and literacy-based activities this spring at the Whatcom Museum’s Family Interactive Gallery. Courtesy to The Bellingham Herald

The Family Interactive Gallery, known as FIG, inside of the Whatcom Museum’s Lightcatcher building is dedicated to providing exceptional learning opportunities for young children. The museum recognizes that early, hands-on experiences in science, math, art, music, and language are essential components for learning.

A weekly drop-in schedule features a variety of educator-led, as well as self-guided, activities to introduce early learners to basic literacy and STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art, and math) concepts. The programs will not only engage young children, ages 18 months to six years old, but are pretty fun too!

The FIG Art and Interactive Studio is a self-guided, make-and-take space for young inquisitive minds to imagine, create and innovate. The studio is open 10 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Wednesdays-Saturdays and noon-4:30 p.m. Sundays. The supply bins are stocked with a variety of materials for children to create art, or they can paint at an easel or play in the sensory sand table. Themed spring activities in the studio include the history of glass blowing and bead making, upcycled art, animation and cartoon drawing, printmaking and rubbings.

Science Lab takes place 10:30-11:30 a.m. Wednesdays. This educator-led activity engages young children in sensory experimentation that builds math and science skills while strengthening hand-eye coordination. Children can explore the properties of ice, dig for “diamonds,” learn about the watershed, go on a sea foam scavenger hunt, make leaf prints and more.

At Paint Play, little hands will use a variety of materials, from twigs and leaves, to shaving cream and bubbles, as well as explore techniques such as finger painting, symmetry prints and monochromatic painting. This activity, which takes place 10:30-11:30 a.m. Thursdays, offers young children a tactile experience with art.

All ages are welcome to Storytime from 2-2:30 Thursday afternoons. One of the FIG educators will transport children with big imaginations to far-away places through a variety of story books.

At Farm to Table at 10:30-11 a.m. Fridays, children will discover fun food facts, take a sensory food journey, or explore the lifecycle of food from seed to market to table.

Little builders visiting from 2-3 p.m. Fridays will enjoy the Build It! program, where they can think, design, tinker and build. Children can create their own baskets, tall towers or dream home.

For those looking for a Saturday morning activity, drop in between 10:30-11:30 a.m. for Music Makers, Body Shakers, which invites little hands and bodies to experience music with a variety of percussion instruments. Musical activities are led by a FIG educator and include songs, rhymes, and dance.

For more information about specific weekly program themes, check the museum’s online calendar. All programs are included with admission and free to members.

About the FIG

The Family Interactive Gallery, located inside the Lightcatcher at 250 Flora St., is open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesdays to Saturdays and noon to 5 p.m. Sundays. Admission, good for all sites in a day, is $10 general, $8 youth (6-17 years) and student, senior or military, $5 children (2-5 years), free for children under 2. The Family Interactive Gallery offers a discounted admission of $5 for all ages 10 a.m. to noon Wednesdays to Saturdays. Memberships start at $50 and include free museum admission.