Children’s Museum Launches Online Store as Parents Scramble for Sanity

The Fiddlesticks home page.
The Fiddlesticks home page. Screencap from
If you’re like me, your child has been perched in your hair like a very loud bird with their talons wrapped firmly around your last nerve since March thanks to the pandemic. With no end in sight for the quarantine, keeping them occupied and quiet has become a Sisyphusian task. There are only so many times you can lie to them that they are running a fever so you can give them cough medicine.

The Children’s Museum Houston is coming to the rescue. Or rather, their store Fiddlesticks is. After twenty-plus years of providing bribes for parents to finally be able to leave the building, they are selling their products online.

“With many camps and other activities cancelled, parents are looking for easy, ready-made things to do with their children at home… and we can help!” says a recent statement from Public Relations & Promotions Director Henry Yau.

The best part about this move is that the sales of the items go to support the museum at a time when attendance is obviously not paying the bills. Considering how important the CMH is to providing inexpensive, educational outings that thankfully drain the batteries of even the most manic of moppets, preserving the institution is a top priority for parents. Their wares are obviously not as good as going in person, but as we all stumble through COVIDeodrome looking for light it is better than nothing.

What’s on the menu?

Craft Kits

These are the greatest things in the world. Pick the right one and you can occupy a child for days. Butterfly terrariums, candy making kits, clay sculpting starter sets, paint projects, and the super fun bath bomb makers are all things that can keep little hands occupied. Though a lot of them are single use, anything that really speaks to a kid can be used as a jumping off point to more standard hobby supplies to be purchased elsewhere.

Engineering Toys

It’s mostly circuitry toys, but I never stopped being amazed at how much kids seem to dig that. Like craft kits, it’s a pretty standard set of basic builds, everything from race cars to solar airplanes. They also try to pawn off Brand X Transformers, but any port in the storm. Get your head start on all the yo-yos who scream at kids that they need “real” knowledge instead of that liberal art and humanities stuff. If they can wire a circuit now, they can go back to reading their book about sad vampires later secure in their STEM bonafides.

Nature Kits

One of the few things we can do right now is go on walks, and Fiddlesticks has a very nice selection of supplies to turn those into activities. Whether it’s hunting for rocks to paint, bird watching, or growing a test tube garden, these will at least alleviate your kid’s feeling that they are being held hostage. Unfortunately, this will involve the sun, which is why it’s last on the list.

Who knows what school will look like come fall? The sooner we get used to making the most out of the moments the better. I miss the museum, but Fiddlesticks is a welcome respite from the boredom.
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Jef Rouner is a contributing writer who covers politics, pop culture, social justice, video games, and online behavior. He is often a professional annoyance to the ignorant and hurtful.
Contact: Jef Rouner