So we had a four-day weekend due to Veteran’s Day (to all you Veterans, thank you for your service), which meant that the girls got to pick two day’s worth of activities instead of just one. The first day consisted of Children’s Museum Tucson and the Pima Animal Care Center, the latter of which will be a part of an (eventual) series on our family’s journey towards adopting a dog. We have a membership at this children’s museum, just like we did for one at our previous duty station in Washington, because it pretty much pays for itself after two visits. And given that we have already been there four times in the last two months, we seem to be getting our money’s worth.
While my girls certainly love them, I am a huge fan of children’s museums. They not only have activities that encourage your youngsters to use and expand their minds, as well as some that are just for playtime, but they teach your children necessary social skills, such as interacting with others and sharing. There is also great variety in what type of rooms and activities that are available. While police / firefighter / paramedic rooms, art rooms, and grocery stores are pretty standard, Children’s Museum Tucson also has an Arizona desert room, two science rooms, and a train room. And adjacent to the grocery store, there is an entire wall of gigantic and interactive human body parts, including an eye, mouth, nose, heart, lungs, and ear.
Elaina’s favorite room is the grocery store and kitchen, where she tries to perfect the culinary talents that I have previously mentioned. The grocery store is really well done, including trees where the fruit is magnetically attached, allowing for your child to simply remove or place the item back onto it. Elaina’s entire goal upon entering the room is to take as many fruits and vegetables that her cart can hold and then transfer them to the stock pot in the cooking area. Today she made me spicy salsa, which was obviously inspired from last night’s reading of Dragons Love Tacos. She also enjoys that construction room quite a bit, but I gave this one the edge because it is always the first room she goes to upon entering the museum.
Gabriella’s favorite room is by far the Veterinary Clinic, which, given her love of all animals large and small, is no big surprise; I just hope that I am not pushing that “you will be an Animal Doctor” angle too much. She is getting particularly good at her routine in the room too. Find her favorite animal of the available ones, which is always the giraffe, then wash it, vacuum off its excess fur, and then administer its necessary shots. She even has my job during this process down, which is to look at the dog breed chart to find what type of dog we are going to get. But today was the first time that her and her sister tried on the scrubs, which they immediately realized made the whole experience even cooler.
While the rest of the day was a pretty standard visit, the Family Brain Boost activity was especially fun this time. Before Halloween, the staff taught my daughters to make glitter slime and candy corn catapults, but this time they made rockets using film cannisters and Alka Seltzer. The girls were pretty impressed with the result, and the staff was nice enough to send me home with some extra Alka Seltzer packets.
As I stated before, Children’s Museums are a great resource for your children to interact with other children and learn along the way. And I would highly recommend getting a membership, as it will likely pay for itself in the first few months. The one caveat I would like to add through is that it helps a lot to get involved with the activities your children are doing while there. While I am certainly not going to fault any other parenting style, I personally find it much better to participate in the activities as opposed to using it as a time to relax. Unless I am answering a call, text, or briefly searching for where we are going to be eating afterwards, I try to stay off my phone while we are in the museum (obviously I take pictures, but you get the idea). Not only do your children notice if you are truly engaged with them or not, but they appreciate it much more when you are. Then again, I am talking about a five- and a three-year old; tweens and higher might be the complete opposite. I guess I will find out.
Thanks for checking in on us.