Monday, September 20, 2010

Terrific Toys

A day at the children's museum is about as lovely of a mid-week outing as a homeschooling family can get. Once or twice I've made the mistake of bringing the kiddos to the museum when it's very, very crowded (you know, like on a weekend?), and therefore I can accurately evaluate that it's sooooo nice to have such a large and wonderful place nearly all to ourselves.

We described to a sketch artist what we thought the animal might look like whose skull was on display. Hint: our sketch looked NOTHING like the tapir that the animal apparently was.

We molded brown silly putty over T. Rex skull models to make our own T. Rex faces.

We sketched horns and claws:
Willow drew a dinosaur with big red claws and gave it its Latin name--pyro-onyx. Anyone?

The girls helped a docent strip a model T. Rex of its skin and muscles, right down to its plywood bones:
We ate bread and hummus brought from home, and drank chocolate soymilk and orange juice.

We attended a lecture on the workings of the giant water clock--vacuums and siphons, okay, but I still don't get it.

The girls took turns riding Sandy, using nickels from their allowance:

We did a little bit of shopping in the gift shop, an almost unheard-of treat, on account of I had a coupon (and the saga of how the cashier didn't scan my coupon, and I didn't notice until I was home, and my attempts to contact Customer Service to get my partial refund have been ignored? That saga continues, sigh).

The real purpose of our visit, however, was to attend a homeschool class--Terrific Toys. We heard a lecture and examined numerous examples of folk toys from the museum's collections, then had a chance to build several toys of our own. We made masks--
--and wind-up toys, and a pull toy, and Sydney and I made a set of nesting dolls while Willow made a galimoto!
I must tell you, however, that the best part of an uncrowded children's museum is the ability to NOT do stuff with the kiddos. When the children's museum is uncrowded, there are benches that are actually unoccupied, and the gallery space is so open that you can actually supervise your small ones without being all up in their faces, and there are fewer helicopter parents (although there are still always some) to make you feel guilty for not micro-managing your child's play.

If you ever experience a large children's museum under those conditions, and if you're a smart parent, like I am, then you bring a book, and you sit your butt down--
--and you have yourself a lovely time at the children's museum, too.

No comments: