Thursday, February 27, 2014

{p,h,f,r} at the Children's Museum

round button chicken
~ Capturing the context of contentment in everyday life ~

I process events and every day occurrences in my life through journaling. In my past. I wrote in hard bound books kept by my  bedside, noting things about life as my days passed. The 90's along came Creative Memories scrap booking craze, and my photo albums became my scrapbook journals. Then two years ago, for me, along came the blog journal, simplifying the process. 

When we have a big outing, like a trip to the Children's Museum, I process the memories, impressions and the decompressing of the day by sorting through pictures, tickets, receipts and writing up a post.
Our day at the Children Museum: If I had to give a rating of my day the moment we returned home, I would have said a big mistake, an overwhelming waste of time and money. I was worn out chasing Lilly around the museum with too much stimuli, too many colors and activities for a three year old to handle. I probably processed things like a three year old and was instantly overwhelmed with all the sights, lights and people. I went through the motions and try to pass on the knowledge the museum thinks she should be able to learn, but usually I spent half the moments of her attention trying to find the details provided to me in English.

The museum seems to target and attract children Lilly's age to visit, but the museum exhibits were designed for grade school and middle school kids. The ability to understand making money via exercise, storing that on a atm card, and being able to go to the city-opolis and spend the money on groceries, restaurants and other stops, is a concept for an older child. 

Now the younger ones can have fun running to and for as she did playing grocery store, ambulance drive and vet, laying groundwork for future visits. A better visit might include a docent slowly touring the museum, or have a season pass and concentrate on one area per visit. 

As it turns out, after I reviewed the day in the quiet of my home, I could see it actually was quite productive and educationally successful for my older kids. They had a great time and talked about their favorite things the rest of the day. 

When I discovered the Invention Convention and Workshop, I immediately relaxed. It was set up as my dream homeschool room with stations for building and using imagination stocked with colorful supplies specific to building rockets, geometric shapes, lego cars (and testing race track), hot air balloons and more. It was less chaotic than the other parts of the museum.

The museum has been rebuilt since we visited last when my oldest was a little guy. It was simpler. It had a water way out back where moms could take a break and the little ones would place water crafts of all kinds in the various water paths and follow then around the water way. Max remembers this waterway as a significant point when he became interested in dynamics of water and is now studying for marine engineering. So, you see, my internal conflict of wishing all my kids could be moved by the children's museum to help figure out their future careers, getting past the chaos to be inspired. No pressure Children's Museum, just their futures relying on this visit! Okay, deep breath, I'm done processing.

{pretty} in concentration

My kids all wanted to have baby chicks again. I sure missing having cute little guys like this peeping around.

Waiting and hoping to see one hatch...

The floating stair step disks, we called "Seuss Steps," stated for those over five. The big kids went off and had fun and Lilly and I stuck to activities her age. When we'd pass these steps, she'd beg to try them. Finally when the crowds subsided, she plunged in, climbed up and down the three stories worth of twisty steps. 

Channeling air flow

The invention stations were set up with supplies, tidied up as the day went along. There are instructions and ideas for crafts at each station. No one could resist building and creating in this environment.

This is a hot air balloon that flew the highest the fastest (not sure if that would a good thing for reals) and Lilly's cool geometric shape thingy she made with one of the museum workers.

Ceci's balloon with streamers.

Air tubes to try out and test various inventions

Six racing lanes to test and race Lego inventions

{fun} Kidtropolis

The grocery store was almost too realistic. I asked Molly (17), "Was this fun?" I must be getting old for this to ask such a question. She answered an enthusiastically "Yes! I could play in here for hours!"

The grocery store was the perfect size for a three year old to jump right in and play cashier.

Lilly assumed an attitude while playing delivery truck driver.

In the ambulance, she was a natural.

"Don't look, you'll be ok."

"She's fine, mom."

Hopefully, they were inspired after all. They are begging to go back. 

Go visit More phfr.


  1. The museum looks like a lot of fun. My kids would love it! I wish we had one close to us. Our closest museum is about 2.5 hours away. Stopping by from {p,h,f,r}

  2. I miss my kids' museum in Korea! It was weird but so cool. Sweet photos!

  3. That looks like a lot of fun. I have such a hard time working up the mental (let alone physical) energy to do things like museum trips, but Pippo has such a great time (and it's so good for him), I'm always glad I did! You're inspiring me to make another trip...

  4. Seems to me that your kids had fun, mom! And maybe the learning was not of the formal kind (easy to assess), but I'm sure they got something in there somehow...

    Honestly, I have some ambivalence with museums. They are just so stacked with displays that may or may not be related to each other. But I tell myself that is just one display (hopefully more) impresses a child and pokes a curious bone, then I should be happy...