Friday, August 10, 2012

Cleveland Children's Museum

My niece and nephew, Cael and Teagan, are in Grammy's care on Tuesdays and this week we decided to have an outing with all four kids and visit the Cleveland Children's Museum.  It's not so much of a museum really; it's more of a network of really interesting and interactive play spaces.  The first room we visited was the Big Red Barn which was clearly designed with toddlers in mind. It featured a two story barn and silo, farm animal dress-up costumes and puppets, farm machinery toys, a variety of books and lots of garden fruits and vegetables.

Next we moved on to the Young Architects: Designing the Future exhibit.  It highlighted famous architects from around the world with hundreds of assorted building blocks – wooden, plastic, foam, and cardboard in a huge variety of colors, shapes and sizes.  The children all enjoyed building up towers (and knocking them down of course)!

Riker contemplates the skyscraper of giant legos.

Building a train in the Frank Lloyd Wright section of the exhibit.

Next we moved on to the Bridges to Our Community exhibit which featured the following:

A two story house with fully equipped kitchen and bedrooms.  Here Ari and Brian play in one of the bedrooms while Teagan plays with baby dolls in the other for much of the afternoon.

 Cael drives an RTA bus while Riker drives an awesome car with with working lights and turn signals.  Kids could also pump the gas and fix the engine!

By far, Riker's favorite part of the museum was the grocery store.  He enjoyed pushing the trolleys around, filling them up with fruits, vegetables and dry goods and paying with the pretend money.

Above, Riker stops to move all of his groceries to the trolley with the red handle when it becomes available, because as you know, Riker loves red.  I love the second photo with Riker clutching a baby doll while filling his trolley with bananas.  One of Brian and Riker's special activities back in Canberra was walking to the Lyneham shops to buy bananas so that they could then sit on a bench and eat them.  Since then, one of our regular bedtime stories has become the adventure where they go to several shops to buy bananas but there are none to be found anywhere.  Eventually they fly to Queensland, buy a banana plant and then return home where they plant it in the front yard so they will never again be without bananas. 

All of the kids enjoyed being the cashier, scanning the items, bagging them and collecting money.

This exhibit also had an airline ticket counter, a bank teller counter and a replica doctor's office from Rainbow Babies and Children's Hospital. 
Next we visited the water exhibit which was designed to teach children about water transportation, weather and the water cycle.  Mostly the kids just liked to splash around with all the colorful toys and water spouts. 

Thankfully, rain coats were provided for water play.

While none of our kids were very interested in it, there was also a really cool mock Weather Forecast Center where kids could use the anchor desk to present their very own forecast in front of a camera so  family could see them as meteorologists!

Cael enjoys one of the most interesting indoor climbing structures I've ever seen.  He spends much of his time working through educational games on the computer.

You know it's been a good day when this is the scene on the way home.  

What a fun day!  While the "museum" could use a little TLC and updating, it was a delightful and engaging way to give the kiddos an entertaining and educational experience.  We'd definitely visit again!

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