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Frolic in foam: Hands On Children’s Museum hosting bubble-bath-style dance party

Kids can get covered in fluffy foam this weekend at Hands On Children’s Museum.
Kids can get covered in fluffy foam this weekend at Hands On Children’s Museum. Courtesy of the Hands On Children's Museum

Something new is bubbling at the Hands On Children’s Museum.

On Friday and Saturday, the museum is hosting its first Fantastic Foam Party, to be held in a 25-foot-by-25-foot inflatable arena filled with the kind of foam that floats on the top of a bubble bath.

“It’s like the foam you might remember from your childhood,” said Paulette Beadling, the museum’s events manager. “I have this picture of me when I was a little girl where I’d scooped up some of that foam and put it on top of my head and put it on top of my nose.”

Kids — and accompanying adults yearning to revisit the days of rubber duckies — are invited to play, dance and make wacky hairstyles and new noses with the foam (which is, by the way, organic).

“There are lots of little tiny bubbles of foam,” Beadling told The Olympian, adding that she experienced the foam several years ago when she worked at La Roche University in Pittsburgh, which held foam parties for students. “It’s a lot of fun.”

Unlike the bubble-bath kind, the party foam will be continuously replenished by a machine, and there is much less water involved, though the museum does recommend bringing a change of clothes or wearing a swimsuit — and a towel is a good idea, too.

“If you stay in it for a long time, you will get borderline wet,” Beadling said. “It’s almost like you are taking a trip to your community pool, but it’s a foam pool.”

The foamy fun in the Outdoor Discovery Center is part of the museum’s Mega Mess theme for July’s special summer activities.

“Part of being hands on is creating spaces where kids can take risks and even make messes,” said Amanda Wilkening, the museum’s visitor engagement manager.

Other mess-making opportunities — all, like the foam party, free with museum admission — include:

• Mud Pie Mondays, happening every Monday for the rest of the summer.

• The Oobleck Dash, happening July 26 and 27, in which kids are invited to race through Oobleck, named for the slimy stuff in Dr. Seuss’ “Bartholomew and the Oobleck.”

Like quicksand, Oobleck is a non-Newtonian fluid — a substance that is solid under some circumstances and liquid in others.

“If you run across the surface of the Oobleck, you’ll go right across the top, but if you slow down or stop, you’ll sink down into it,” Beadling said. “It’s an ooey-gooey substance.”

• The Paintathon, happening July 14-25, with activities including the Paint Smash, where kids are invited to throw paint-soaked cotton balls; a paintball cannon; painting with bubbles; and making paint from berries and mud.

“We’ll have ways to smash, splatter and squish paint outside, where messes are easier to manage,” Wilkening said. “We can go bigger and messier than ever before.”

Fantastic Foam Party

  • What: Kids — and accompanying adults who don’t mind getting messy — can play and dance in an inflatable outdoor arena filled with the bubble-bath-style foam.
  • When: 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Friday and Saturday, July 12 and 13
  • Where: Hands On Children’s Museum, 414 Jefferson St. NE, Olympia
  • Admission: Free with museum admission ($14.95; $12.95 for seniors, military, foster families and first responders; free for members, babies under 18 months and EBT cardholders)
  • Also: Bring a towel and a change of clothes. Shoes are required, and swimsuits are welcome. Those in diapers will need a swim diaper or diaper cover. Changing areas will be available.
  • More messy matters: Also happening as part of the museum’s Mega Mess are Mud Pie Mondays, the Paintathon July 14-25 and the Oobleck Dash, a race through a goopy substance, July 26 and 27.
  • More information: hocm.org
  • See it: Get a preview of the foam in this video from the Children’s Museum of Phoenix, which hosted a similar event last summer: youtube.com/watch?v=XRNyzVKBlwM
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