It's no secret that I am forever searching for appropriate day trip adventures for children 0-3 years old. Visiting a new museum with an exhibit for babies/infants/toddlers was #1 on my Summer "Quality Time" Top 25 Bucket List.
Play and exploration yield so many great benefits!
Play boosts creativity and imagination, increases self-confidence, problem solving skills, and the ability to self-regulate. You can easily amplify those benefits by playing together as a family.
We recently took a family trip to the State Museum in Harrisburg to visit the Curiosity Connection exhibit. Curiosity Connection is suggested for children 1-5 years old. Their suggested ages are pretty accurate, although it would be appropriate for a younger child who is mobile and likes to explore (maybe starting around 9-10 months old).
The exhibit is split into what they call "Creative Play Zones" that are themed around Pennsylvania landscape, people, and wildlife. They are exactly that-- the zones create a number of creative play opportunities for imaginative play. The areas are linked to the Pennsylvania Early Learning Standards, and they actually correlate them for you on their website! (Because of my line of work and my interest in learning development, I find that especially exciting!)
So- What's the verdict?
We definitely enjoyed Curiosity Connection! As always, Ethan enjoyed playing with toys that weren't the "same old toys" he has at home. He especially liked the animated owl in a tree, fishing with magnetic fishing rods for realistic looking fish, and driving the farm truck! The kids playing in the farming area looked like they were having a great time too!
It was easy to see from the exhibit that it was designed with the intention to utilize play as a method of learning. The admission was inexpensive and the exhibit offered an excellent opportunity for imaginative play. In addition, I always love a good indoor play area with year round climate control!
You can also visit the rest of the State Museum while you're there. Like most museums of it's time, it's a bit dated, although the scientific information is still relevant and interesting.
We will definitely be returning!!