CRAIG T. KOJIMA / CKOJIMA@STARBULLETIN.COM
Candice Hatakeyama, Kylie Yamanouchi and Rocky Cusmano, from left, weighed groceries that they bought at "Mr. Hooper's Store."
Building healthy habits
Sesame Street characters star in a hands-on exhibit at the Bishop Museum
Children were running, jumping, dancing, turning knobs and wheels -- and playing games to see how "THE BODY" works, from the brain and bones to digestive "poo."
By Sesame Street
» Place: Castle Memorial Building, Bishop Museum, 1525 Bernice St.
» Time: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily through April 2.
» Admission: $14.95 for adults; $11.95 for youths 4-12 years old and seniors. Kids 3 and under and Bishop Museum members are free. Special rates for kamaaina and military.
» Information: 847-3511 or visit www.bishopmuseum.org
And they sure seemed to be having fun during a visit to Bishop Museum's new traveling exhibit.
"I learned that you can use different parts of your body to do different things," said Candice Hatakeyama, who is in first grade at Maemae Elementary School.
And what did she learn?
"Like heart and lungs," she said. "Like seeing how you pump blood in your veins."
Sesame Street Presents: THE BODY is on exhibit in the museum's Castle Memorial Building with interactive, hands-on activities.
It was developed as part of "Healthy Habits for Life," a multiyear initiative by the educational organization Sesame Workshop to fight childhood obesity.
Bishop Museum estimates that more than 50,000 children and adults, including school groups, have visited the exhibit since it opened there Jan. 7, the second stop on a national tour. It will continue until April 2 with funding provided by the HMSA Foundation.
"This is just amazing," said Carrie Wyatt, Mililani Presbyterian Preschool director, as she and staff members escorted 84 kids through the exhibit last week.
"It's so much hands-on, so interactive. They're (kids) self-directed," she said. "I'm very impressed. Not one child is not occupied doing something."
"Real life skills" also are taught, she said, noting a busy exhibit area where children donned aprons, shopped for "groceries," weighed items and used "cash registers" to add up the stuff piled into shopping carts.
They also built sandwiches (with blocks representing healthy food items). "You want it?" a youngster asked when told his foot-high sandwich looked delicious. "That will be $1."
Wyatt's 2-year-old daughter Ashlyn, among those in the preschool class, was too shy to say what she liked, but when her mom asked if she wanted to go home, she vigorously shook her head "no."
Elmo, Oscar, Grover and other Sesame Street friends are featured in exhibits representing four education zones:
» Your Insides: Activities explore what happens inside the body, such as "Count's Organ Organ," teaching children musically where internal organs are located and what they do.
Kids learn that "saliva helps break down your food" and "borborygmus" is "the gurgling, rumbling sound that's made by food and juice squishing through your intestines."
"Digestion with Oscar" shows kids what happens to food when they eat, including a kid-operated machine that simulates "poo."
Connie Conover, with her 2-year-old daughter, Kira, and a friend's daughter, Derya, also 2, said it was her third visit to the exhibit and her first look at the digestion display. "I didn't know it made poo," she said. "Kids love it."
She said the Sesame Street exhibit "is the best I've seen. It's great for kids and fun for adults."
» Your Outsides: Shows different body parts and what they do, such as: "A real brain is soft like jelly. Wrinkles give the brain more room to store information. Different parts of the brain do different jobs. Push a button and see."
Kids can do puzzles and handprints at an activity table for "Your Wonderful Hands" and see what happens when they use their legs in an interactive exhibit, "Your Legs and Feet."
» Staying Healthy: "Rub-A-Dub Tub" is a game that shows children that being clean can be fun.
At "Mr. Hooper's Store," children shop for groceries and learn about healthy meals. Another activity area, "Baby Bear's Mini Mart," is where children can stock up on healthy foods.
Misu Greene, parent volunteer with Enchanted Lake School kindergartners, said she works at Daiei Kailua as a cashier, so her daughter Shahnoa, 6, pretended she was a cashier.
» How You Work: At this station, children crawl, jump, balance and climb to test their bodies in "Super Grover's Obstacle Course" on the second floor of the Castle Building.
"It's great," said Mike Hustead, watching his granddaughter Mackenzie on the obstacle course with a St. George's Episcopal Preschool group. "I'm having trouble keeping up though."
"This is truly awesome," said St. George's teacher Debbie Carter. "It's really good for young children. This is what they need."
Children learn how the heart and muscles work while pumping, rowing or running in "Rosita's Locomotion" exhibit. They dance, jump and boogie with "Grover's Dance Party" in a "groovy disco." Adults even get into the music.
Mark Cusmano, a parent volunteer with Maemae Elementary first-graders, including his son Rocky, said, "We're having a blast. It's just fantastic."