For our first post about great museums in Providence for families, we visited the Culinary Arts Museum at Johnson & Wales University. This time, we share 10 reasons to take your kids to the Providence Children's Museum, plus a whole gallery of photos, because we all know how many words a picture is worth...
10 reasons to visit the Providence Children's Museum:
1. The size is just right – There’s a nice variety of activities to engage families, but the place isn’t huge, so you don’t constantly feel like you’re going to lose someone any minute.
2. Learning is fun for all ages – When they designed Think Space, they really thought about the ideal activities for all ages and levels. There are bead mazes for babies, wooden building block for preschoolers, and more complex building toys for school-age kids. Even if you have a wide range of ages in your family, everyone can have fun (including the adults).
3. The climber is outdoors – The drawback is that the climber is closed during the winter months, but when it’s open, it’s so nice to be able to take the kids outside for some fresh air and gross motor skill development. Plus, you can see your child in the climber the whole time.
4. Cooperative play is encouraged and practiced – The opportunities for cooperative play are plentiful, and kids actually seem to get it. Everyone’s favorite activity, sending objects through air tubes, brings together kids who have never met before, siblings, and adults –to experience the wonder and joy of physics. (That’s right, I said wonder, joy, and physics all in one sentence.) The same thing happens with the magnetic mazes and water play.
5. Water play – The water play area is thoughtfully designed, and includes an area just right for really little kids. The only problem: It’s not easy to coax kids out of the Water Ways room.
6. Littlewoods for little ones – There is a delightful, woodsy-feeling, enclosed play area just for tiny tykes (infant to age four).
7. A ship! – Complete with an anchor you can drop (it’s soft), a wheel to navigate, and sleeping quarters below, the sailing vessel is a huge favorite. Need I say more?
8. Time travel – Opportunities for pretend play abound in an exhibit called, “Coming to Rhode Island.” Kids love cooking a meal in a Colonial home, exploring engineering and mechanics in a mill, captaining a ship, and becoming a grocer. There is a nice selection of multicultural books (and thankfully, a sofa), when you emerge from the tunnel of time travel.
9. The outdoor play space – There are tunnels, musical instruments, lots of natural materials for pretend play, balance boards, a Children’s Garden (this is the place to eat if the weather is nice) and the aforementioned climbing structure. And sometimes the staff is out there, facilitating fun.
10. Reciprocal membership – The Providence Children’s Museum participates in the ACM Reciprocal Network, so if you have a Boston Children’s Museum membership, you get half off admission for up to six people.
Providence Children's Museum, 100 South Street, Providence, RI 02903. Contact: 401-273-5437. Website: http://www.childrenmuseum.org. Hours: Open daily 9 am to 6 pm.