Sunday, July 30, 2006

Houston Children's Museum

We took a day trip to the Houston Children's Museum. I can hardly call it a museum - because everything there is "hands on" for the kids. It is welcoming from the minute you drive up - when you see the bright yellow building with happy children adorning the front entrance - all in the middle of a city block in Downtown Houston.

The fun started the minute we walked in the door, with displays in the lobby showing gadgets and gears - something for the kids to play with while the parents got tickets! Then, we got to take part of a "special" exhibit - only here for the summer - where the kids got to make their own Stomp Rockets. Pretty neat project and something we could easily do ourselves at home. That's what I think is neat - I got some good ideas for projects we could do at home.

There were lots of rooms and displays - the kids could "practice" how to go grocery shopping, from choosing their food to paying and seeing how much change they would receive. They had corresponding displays that talked about cows and how the milk gets from the cows to the grocery store - and a display about chickens, including live baby chicks! They also got to see how lots of different machines worked, and each of them tried to pull themselves up using ropes on pulleys to see how the different number of pulleys affected their ability to pull themselves up!

There were just so many activities for the kids to do, its hard to enumerate them all here. But, we think our favorite room was the "prototype" room where they had some activities they were considering making a permanent part of the museum and they were getting feedback. Michael loved playing with the "balls and clips" toy where he was able to use a crank to adjust the angle of a ramp and have golf balls roll down into a bucket. Samantha loved playing with what I called a "pinball machine" where they shot a ping pong ball and scored points based on the cards that they hit.

Did you know that you can make a "jet paper airplane" with a balloon - well you can. We will definitely try that at home.

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