A Trip to the Children’s Museum!
Let’s celebrate YOU! –the✨AMAZING✨parent who has decided to take your baby and toddler on a trip to the children’s museum! According to Psychology Today, kids don’t get enough opportunities for hands-on, unsupervised free play, so a children’s museum is a necessity. The Children’s Museum of Phoenix cites 5 benefits of children’s museum visits including improving critical thinking skills, enhanced literacy and parent-child bonding. This article will help you maximize the wonderful experience for both you and your kiddos!
Real talk: nowhere in this article will I be sharing how you can be in two places at once. I’m still trying to figure that out, myself.
1. Go during the week! And if you really want the place to yourself, go later on in the afternoon.
I love kids (I have 2 of my own) but what makes looking after my kids more difficult is when I have to search for them amongst a sea of other people’s kids. However, that is the reality when you take a trip to the Children’s Museum on a weekend or during the week before 2 pm (field trips). ‘Where’s Waldo’/’Where’s Wally’ (if you’re British) is fun when you’re a kid but when you’re an adult, losing a child is not cool. And rarely are they donning a red and white striped shirt with a matching hat like Waldo/Wally which makes finding them all the more difficult.
2. Bring backup with you!
This translates to, bring another adult with you, or at least a much older child that listens and can make good decisions most of the time (haha). Having another person makes visits to the bathroom when only one child needs to go, so much easier. It also means you can catch a few zzz’s in the baby area while the baby plays because you know they can’t go far. Enclosed play spaces for the win! Enjoy that trip to the Children’s Museum!
3. Save $$$ (ask for discounts!)
Your local Children’s Museum might offer a discount on admission for in-state residents, first responders, teachers, AAA members, children under 2 years old, reciprocity museum memberships (if you or your backup person are a member at another Children’s Museum), for Bank of America cardholders (Museums on Us program) or for those who receive food assistance (SNAP benefits) through the government.
With that being said, if you select the ‘right’ backup person, the admission for next trip to the Children’s Museum may end up being free! #savingmoney
4. Bring a stroller and a carrier
Strollers are great to get both kids safely from the parking lot to the museum but once you get to the museum, you might have to park your stroller in a designated area.
Leave your snacks/drinks/milk in the storage section of your stroller so you don’t have to lug them everywhere you go. Be sure to pack them in an insulated bag with ice packs so everything stays nice and cool.
A carrier will help you when your baby is tired and is ready for a nap, but your toddler still has a few hours of energy left in his/her tank. You’ll be able to get down on your knees and play and keep up with your toddler while your littlest one is ‘snug as a bug in a rug’.
5. On your next trip to the Children’s Museum, start in the ‘baby’ section
On your next trip to the Children’s Museum, start in the ‘baby’ area, which will be the least populated section of the museum. Your goal is to tire out the baby so you can have uninterrupted play with your toddler. Then the goal becomes tiring out your toddler so you can have an uninterrupted drive home aka ‘me time’.
Your toddler WILL find creative ways to enjoy time in the baby section. There are usually soft pillows, books and plenty of sparkly things to hold their attention.
If your toddler seems to be getting anxious and you’re not quite ready to leave the baby area, ask them to pick out a book and help you read to the baby. If they aren’t willing to be helpful, ask them to build the tallest ‘building’ they can using the items around them (and then allow them to knock it down). Make sure you say ‘CRASH’ or ‘BOOM’ when it comes tumbling down; it will make them smile and they will be more inclined to build another ‘building’ (which buys you more time).
Pro-tips for Annual Passholders:
When taking a trip to the Children’s Museum, always have 2 maps of the Children’s Museum handy.
Keep one at home and keep the other in the car. Allow your toddler to pick the 2 areas they want to play in on that particular day. By setting the expectation that you are only going to 2 areas that day AND you are letting them select what they want to do, you are decreasing the chances of a meltdown. However, toddlers can be irrational, so you might still get the meltdown🤷🏾♀️
If you have a splash pad at your Children’s Museum, make that a separate trip.
Don’t try to do too much in one visit. Plan a separate trip to the Children’s Museum when you know the weather is optimal and don’t rush your time spent there! Think of it as a day at the beach, errr splash pad.
Have you seen the same mom twice when you’ve taken a trip to the Children’s Museum?
Chances are she has an annual pass. Exchange numbers with her especially if she has kids around your age! If she is taking her kids to the Children’s Museum, she’s doing a lot of things right 💛