Children learn about cave art at CMU museum over spring break

Sheree Hall, the Museum Education Coordinator, reads from "Stone Age Boy" while Mount Pleasant residents Catie Noggle, 8, and Cordelia Brown, 7, point out rocks in the book while at a cave painting activity Tuesday afternoon at the Museum of Cultural and Natural History, 103 Rowe Hall. The activity had a story telling cave, paints that children could use to make their own cave paintings, and a presentation to teach them the history of cave paintings. Zack Wittman//Staff Photographer

Jane Frost was among a host of parents to bring children to Central Michigan University's Museum of Cultural and Natural History's Cave Art event Tuesday.

"It is an interesting way to spend spring break," the Mount Pleasant resident said. "Living in Michigan, the kids do not get a lot of exposure to cave art."

The Museum of Cultural and Natural History, located inside Rowe Hall, put on an event that allowed young children to learn about prehistoric times while creating art of their own.

Grand Haven junior Brittany Hild said the event was a way to keep students educationally stimulated during the week-long break.

"It is a way for them to continue learning, but in a fun environment," Hild said. "It is a way to spark their interest about history and bring awareness to the museum."

And spark their interest it did.

The kids were taught all about the resources used and the meaning behind cave paints from more than 25,000 years ago.

Then they were encouraged to get creative and use similar resources to make their own cave-inspired paintings to take home with them.

There was also a provided story time, where kids gathered inside a large paper hut to learn about the ways of life in prehistoric times.

Children were amazed to hear about hunting techniques and clothing styles that were popular thousands of years ago.

Coordinators went through picture books, explaining the different ways of food gathering and how communication between cavemen was critical, always stopping to allow the children time to ask questions.

The children grew wide-eyed at the idea of cavemen starting fires with just sticks and eagerly began to rub sticks between their palms, hoping for the same results the cavemen experienced.

One activity that had every child excited was stick smashing.

Children could use rocks to smash the ends of sticks and twigs to create makeshift paint brushes, which, in turn, they could use to create their paintings.

Embracing the caveman way, the children eagerly grabbed for rocks and sticks, ready to smash away.

"The kids have loved hitting the sticks!" one volunteer said. "The whole event is a great way for the kids to learn something new but still enjoy their spring break doing fun activities"