Yesterday, we went with my niece and her two children to the Children’s Museum of Richmond. If you have children under the age of 8, and live within driving distance of Richmond, this is well worth the trip.
Haylee is 5 (almost 6 as she says), and Hayden is 4. They had so much fun that we never made it out of the huge make pretend area. There was so much to do there!
When we first walked in, even I was in awe. Haylee was a bit overwhelmed and Hayden just took off running! It took 4 adults to keep track of two children, so be ready.
The area is broken into small sections. In each section, the kids can experience something new. There is a car repair shop, a TV station, a fast food place, a grocery store, a bank complete with an ATM, a hospital, and so many other things!
Hayden kept going back to the car area. Here, he could change the tires, replace the muffler (using Velcro!), add fluids under the hood, and do other assorted car repair type things.
Next he was at the TV Studio, where he pretended he was a newscaster and then the camera man. They have an real camera that shows the kids on TV, which gave every one of them a thrill.
Haylee loved the fast food restaurant, where she could prepare the fake food, take orders and be the cashier.
Her other favourite was the grocery store. She liked shopping and having Hayden ring up her purchases (with a scanner that actually made noises when something is scanned). She loved pretending she was behind the counter in the butcher/bakery section.
The ambulance amazed Hayden. From the outside, it looked like a real ambulance. Inside the front, there was just one seat, leaving room for the kids to play with the switches to turn the lights on and off. Every boys dream. I am thankful they couldn’t do that with the sirens! The back of the ambulance had two long benches where “patients” could be administered to.
The ambulance backed into the hospital setting when doctor’s coats awaited, along with real x-rays and an x-ray viewer. There were several baby dolls to give shots to, listen to their hearts, and generally take care of.
Haylee’s heaven was the arts and crafts room. There was so much the kids could do in there: painting, colouring, making things out of cardboard, fabric, yarn and anything else you could think of. Haylee painted a picture of dinosaur teeth and then made a valentine’s heart out of various types of red felt. I think she could have stayed in there all day!
They both really enjoyed playing with the boats they could sail down a mock-up of the James River, complete with the down town buildings and real locks. Once we explained to them what the locks were for, they were fascinated.
They both tried their hand at milking the cow which, if done correctly, would give milk (in the form of water). I so wish I would have gotten a picture of Hayden squirting “milk” all over himself! He thought that was so funny!
The things we adults liked best? The kids were using their imaginations. There were no computers, electronic games, or TVs (except for the one in the TV studio where they could see themselves). They played so well together and with total strangers. The was no fighting and all kids patiently waited their turn for things.
I loved seeing them playing there. There is something about watching them pretend that makes me want to smile. It’s not a feeling you can get seeing them play on the computer or watch TV. Maybe because imagination was such a huge part of my childhood, long before all the electronic games. My parents would limit the time we kids were allowed to watch TV, so imagination was king.
We’re looking forward to taking them again in the spring, when they want to try being a bus driver (it’s a real bus to play in!) and the conductor of the small train that they can ride on.
It was such a wonderful day, for kids and adults both.