I am 8 months into my pregnancy, which means its becoming more and more difficult to spend my days on the floor playing with Sebastian. And since he has never been great at self entertainment (although he is getting much better at it), finding activities that will really keep his attention and also be educational is really important. Luckily, museums fit the bill perfectly, so we headed over to our favorite local museum (The Reading Public Museum) to check out a new exhibit. The exhibit we saw was based off the children’s television show, Doc McStuffins and is up until May 20, 2018. For those of you unfamiliar with the show, Doc McStuffins is a cartoon about a preschooler, who teaches various medical principles and concepts to her viewers by acting as a doctor for her toys. Sebastian had actually never seen the show before, but that didn’t stop him from enjoying the exhibit!
The exhibit is quite large and fills both one of the gallery spaces on the first floor, (which is actually the 2nd floor) as well as the space surrounding the top of the first staircase. The first area features a reception area at the top of the stairs, a play space to the left and various toys that kids can “fix” to the right. These activities not only teach various scientific principles, such as how air pressure affects the shape of the space it is contained in, but it they also promote various gross and fine motors skills, such as turning dials to a specific point. Sebastian really enjoyed reinflating the deflated blow up toy using the bicycle pump and making the gator robot turn on when he followed the directions on the screen telling him with knobs to turn and buttons to push.
After we finished playing in the first section of the exhibit, we made our way into the gallery space. This space was primarily dedicated to two different *: baby care and pet care. In the baby care section there were dozens of dolls and a variety of stations for children to practice the various concepts associated with caring for infants, such as feeding, bathing and sleeping (this concept is foreign to Sebastian). In the pet care section, children could bathe, groom, and feed stuffed dogs and cats. And while I can’t be sure this exhibition had anything to do with it, Sebastian has taken to letting our dog, Timmy, in and out to go to the bathroom and feeding him every day. Its actually a really big deal to him now and he gets upset if Brandon or I try to do it. So who knows, maybe he was inspired by this exhibit to claim ownership of those things.
While Sebastian thoroughly enjoyed every part of the exhibit, his favorite part was located toward the back of the gallery and was an activity that involved pouring balls (bubbles) into a fish tank and then turning a knob on the back in such a way that they would release into a bucket. This kid must have spent a solid 30 minutes at this station and eventually got creative with how he used it. His favorite thing to do was open the valve and then just wait under the spout until another child poured balls into it so that he would get a rush of balls to the head (yes, I know my child is strange, but at least he had fun).
All in all, I was very impressed by this exhibition. There was a good amount of variety, not only in activities, but in concepts and skill building. We had wanted to check out the other new exhibitions (Ice Age Mammals and an exhibit of artist Keith Haring) but we had probably spent a good 90 minutes there already and were hungry. However, we actually had a hard time getting Sebastian to leave (we had to bribe him with the promise of a picnic as he LOVES eating outside). So we will leave those for our next visit, which will also include his soon-to-arrive little sister!! I hope she enjoys our trips to museums as much as Sebastian has over the last two and a half years. At least once a week he asks me, “Can we please go to the museum??” Its like music to my ears.