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Vacation Projects Introduce Cambodia

More than a stay-cation but no plane tickets required: school vacation week Stepping Stones Museum lets kids "Travel to Cambodia" April 18-22 as part of its Around the World Series, with hands-on crafts, stories, folktales and demonstrations as maps to discover this remarkable culture. "We hope to open the eyes of our young visitors to new cultures," says the museum's Director of Education Hyla Crane.On April 18, the first stop on the week's itinerary is "Sensational Silk" which unfolds the story of Cambodian silk weaving. It stretches back to the first century. Young visitors learn how silk is made from silkworms' cocoons and see examples of the country's colorful (some dyes are derived from insects) and intricate designs. Things take off on April 19 with a kite project that shows off the country's remarkably designed high-flyers and offers kids the chance to make their own kite. In Cambodia, Khmer kites have been revered for 2,000 years and traditionally, were part of a yearly royal ceremony. A national kite museum in Phnom Penh, Cambodia's capital, traces the kite's history.

On Wednesday, April 20, story time features a Cambodian folk tale and on Thursday, April 21, the fascinating Cambodian art of shadow theater is explored. Uniquely designed, these opaque puppets move in front of a lit background and traditionally move to music. Kids put together their own elephant shadow puppet and get the chance to bring it to life on a special shadow screen. On Friday, decorated Cambodian horses, like those who greet tourists at the famous Angkor Wat Temple, are the centerpiece. Kids will adorn their own horse to keep. The week's Cambodian activities are scheduled at 11:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. each day. And be sure to return on April 30, when Cambodian dance is explored at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. Museum admission is $10 and $12. For more information, visit the Museum's website .

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