WILTON — Families recently attended a Noon Year’s Eve celebration at the Western Maine Play Museum at 561 Main St.

Children made interactive noise-makers and shakers, a New Year’s Wish chain, and sparkly slime. Children created personal time capsules, a description of who they are now, which will be mailed to each child on New Year’s 2021. Excitement ensued at the stroke of noon during the balloon drop, according to a news release from the museum.

The following new exhibits are currently under development at museum, opening over the next couple months:

Austin Pratt, left, and Genevieve Fellman posing in the 2020 photo booth during the Western Maine Play Museum’s Noon Year’s Eve in Wilton. Photo courtesy of the Western Maine Play Museum

The Invention Room will soon become a Ninja Warrior Obstacle Course with all kinds of things to balance on, climb through, and explore. This new exhibit will provide large motor skill fun during this season when outdoor play is often limited.

The Nature Room also will have a new focus: Wild Animals in Maine. This exhibit will feature several interactive displays of animal tracks, and animal migration/hibernation and adaptation to winter.

The museum will have on loan a display of several stuffed animals provided by Vance Childs of Fall’s Taxidermy in Dixfield. A table full of pelts and antlers for hands-on exploration, has been loaned to the museum by other museum friends. There also will be a large collection of animal costumes for imaginative play. Museum staff is lining up several guest speakers to share their love of all things wild.

Upstairs, the Dark Room will become an experience in Summer Camping in Maine with a tent, sleeping bags, a campfire and a summer sky full of stars and summer evening noises.

Recently, Rob Taylor and his LEGO team at Spruce Mountain Middle School approached Joni James, the museum director, to identify a problem at the museum that the students could help solve, as a community service project. James said that the museum needed a sanitizer that was safe for young children.

The team, Just the Incredible 6, formulated a pleasant-smelling and economically affordable gel that uses the natural disinfecting power of tea-tree oil to kill germs. They won first place for this project in the FIRST LEGO League Western Maine Qualifier on Nov. 23. This win qualified the students for the FIRST LEGO League Maine State Championships on Dec. 14 at the Augusta Civic Center, which they won.

Next for them is to submit this project to the FIRST LEGO League Global Innovation Award, presented by Disney. They will be notified in April if they are eligible for the semi-finals.

Just the Incredible 6 team includes Adria McHugh, Aalyah Herrera, Tateum Leclerc, Cecilia Pike, Brenden Veilleux and Skyler Condon.

For more information, call 645-3555, visit westernmaineplay.org and find them on Facebook.

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