Updated Friday, May 29, 2020
By Belize Wilheim
Hello, parents and caregivers! Belize Wilheim here, Manager of Family Programs, checking in on behalf of the Skirball's talented team of educators. From our homes to yours, we’re here to help you and your family explore, learn, and make memories together.
Each week we’ll be sharing new content on this page, as well as on Instagram and Facebook, that focuses on resourcefulness, empathy, and community building. Rooted in Jewish tradition, and in the traditions of many other cultures, these practices are especially useful for helping cultivate resilience in challenging times. Whether it's a special video performance, an imaginative art project, or a fun way to give back, we are so grateful to be able to spend some (virtual) quality time with you.
We’d love to see you and your family singing, dancing, and creating together. Make sure to tag us on Instagram @Skirball_LA so we can join in on the fun, too!
Storytelling with Dillon from Noah’s Ark
Storytelling is at the heart of communities worldwide and central to our work at the Skirball. Join Noah's Ark educator Dillon Nelson for a flood tale adapted from a story told by the Lenape, an indigenous people of the northeastern woodlands of Canada and the United States. In the story, while animals work together to overcome a challenge, they learn that even the smallest acts can make a big difference.
Storytelling with Nina from Noah’s Ark
Join Noah's Ark storyteller Nina Silver for a timeless and timely flood story. Based on the biblical story of Noah's Ark, this Midrash (Hebrew for "interpretation") is the introductory story that visitors of all ages take part in whenever they visit Noah's Ark at the Skirball™. The universal message of the story helps us make sense of the stormy chapters in our lives and reminds us to work together as we await the brighter days ahead.Listen to the story.
Family Sing-Along with Julia and Mario from Noah’s Ark
Join Noah’s Ark educators Julia Garcia Combs and Mario Ibarra Beutelspacher for a fun, bilingual sing-along! Singing and storytelling support language and socialization skills in children and help us all to make sense of the world. Although we may not be able to play with the animals in Noah’s Ark right now, we can still imagine what the itsy bitsy spider and her cousin la araña pequeñita are up to and how they may be weathering the ups and downs of life.
Take comfort in the things that bring you joy! Using recycled materials, assemble your very own gratitude journal where you can keep track of all the good things in your life. Revisit your journal whenever you need a pick-me-up and experience the therapeutic power of positivity.
Learn how to make your own.
T-Shirt Tote Bag
Run essential errands in style with your own upcycled, reusable tote bag! Inspired by our friends at Heirs to Our Oceans, we hope you’ll join us in finding ways to cut down your consumption of single-use plastics. All that's needed for this simple project is a t-shirt, scissors, a few markers, and your imagination!
Have you ever seen a polar bear made from a bathtub or a lion with a hula skirt for hair? These are just a few of the unique animals made from repurposed materials found on Noah's Ark at the Skirball. While we can't visit Noah's Ark in person, we can make new animal creations to enjoy at home. Using household paper items and your imagination, create a whimsical creature collage!
Like us, trees are members of a community that depend on each other to flourish. Celebrate those closest to you by creating a family tree that represents your roots and branches! As you cut, color, and assemble your piece, reflect on the special times you’ve shared with the people and animals in your life.Learn how to make your own.
Cup of Welcome
During the holiday of Passover, it is tradition to anticipate the arrival of the prophet Elijah to your Seder. A special cup is left untouched for this unknown guest. In the spirit of welcoming the stranger, a Jewish value that is core to the Skirball’s mission, we invite you to decorate a cup with colors and symbols that communicate a warm welcome.
Helping others connects us all. Tzedakah is the Hebrew word for “justice,” and at the Skirball, we work to create a more just society by taking care of one another. Try creating your own tzedakah box that you and your family can fill with coins to donate to a good cause and/or actions you can take to make a positive change. When we work together to make a difference, we not only improve how we feel about the world, but also how we feel about ourselves.
Mindful Nature Weaving
Take a moment to listen to the birds outside your window. Imagine the nest they’ve created for their young and what materials it might be made of. We invite you to safely stroll through your neighborhood and collect flowers, leaves, and tall grasses to create your own nest-inspired nature weaving. As you wander, take time to smell, touch, and observe what you collect. This project combines elements of mindfulness with the ancient practice of weaving and is sure to add natural beauty to your home.
Puppetry is a universal art form celebrated by cultures all over the world. At the Skirball, we often use puppets as analogs for human beings and their stories—enabling us to explore our shared humanity and gain perspective through the experiences of others. By creating shadow puppets, your family can work together, practice fine motor skills, explore the use of light and shadow, and share stories with one another.
Cards of Kindness
On Noah's Ark, we often invite families to recognize those doing good in the world by creating cards of kindness. As visitors pin their cards up in the gallery, we are made hopeful by a mounting display of gratitude and appreciation. These days, there are a lot of people making big sacrifices for others. Take some time to reflect on those who have supported you lately. Then, create your own card of kindness and share it with your community on social media. Find inspiration on our Instagram and don't forget to tag us in your post @Skirball_LA!
Belize Wilheim joined the Skirball’s Education department in 2009. She has a BA in human development, early childhood from California State University, East Bay. She began her arts journey early: as a hairdresser, jewelry designer, and self-proclaimed ballerina—all by the age of five. She eventually went on to study dance and arts education with a mission to help children discover their own creative outlets. Belize is an active supporter of the dance and performing arts communities in Los Angeles. For now, she continues to connect with and support artists from the safety of her own home.