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Port Chester Clay Art Center Helps Kids Create

A section of Rye Town Park was turned into an outdoor children's museum for three hours during "Explore-a-thon" on Sunday morning, June 6, with a variety of interactive exhibits ranging from building with magnets to a colorful obstacle course.

"We want to give kids a hands-on experience and to keep learning fun," said Corinne Zola, president of the Westchester Children's Museum (WCM), which has organized the annual event for five years now. The WCM is in the process acquiring a physical space at the North Bathhouse at Rye Playland. Explore-a-thon features exhibits that would be part of the future museum.

"We let them develop their curiosity through experimentation," said volunteer and retired biochemist Harmon McCallister, who was running an exhibit where children build structures using magnets and small metal objects.

Another exhibit featured clay sculpting sponsored by the Clay Art Center in Port Chester. "We came with just the clay and let them use their imaginations," said Ariel Platz, community arts coordinator at the art center. "We got dragons and llamas on the beach. It's fantastic to see them express themselves."

Families were asked to make a suggested donation of $75 to participate. WCM executive director Tracy Kay said a roughly $3500 had been made in donations before the event, sponsoring the participation of families who could not afford to make a donation.

The event was sponsored by several businesses and corporations including Whole Foods, Con Edison and the Ritz-Carlton hotel in White Plains, which provided bus transportation and lunches to over 200 children and their parents said Marcie McGheehan, director of sales and marketing for the The Ritz-Carlton.

Scarsdale resident Cynthia Santos came out with her two sons, who she encourages to be active and outdoors.

"It's good for their minds," she said. "Anything that gets them outside instead of playing video games and watching TV."

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