Unschooling Life: A trip to the museum

On Sunday we celebrated Purim though not in the traditional way. There are no Messianic Jewish groups nearby and we don’t actually know anyone local who is Messianic in their thinking. So, when I heard about the free day at the Pittsburgh Children’s Museum and remembered how the kids had been begging to go, I thought it was the perfect way to celebrate God’s quiet intervention in our lives. It worked out beautifully because I actually had gas in the van, we had visited my grandmother the previous evening (we usually visit on Sundays), and everything just fell into place.

We do have a membership for the Science Center and Art and Natural History Museum but it doesn’t include the Children’s Museum (despite including all the other big museums in Pittsburgh.) This is really funny because this museum is tiny and more expensive to join than any of the others– it only gives about 3 hours of entertainment versus the others where we can spend the whole day. It is, however, included if you come into Pittsburgh and have a science center membership so make sure to hit it if you do.

I was surprised at the lack of crowd (though it was a beautiful day and the zoo had a free for under 13 day as well– I suspect the zoo was a lot more crowded.) I found it interesting that the vast majority of children there were under 6. There were a few older kids but they mostly hung back and were there with littles. It was also interesting to watch the little s immediately become interested in whatever my bigger kids were doing and that my kids immediately began exploring everything, applying the knowledge they accumulated from my dad, general discussion, books (they love the Dangerous Book for Boys as well as pretty much any experiment book), and tv (mostly Myth Busters, Dirty Jobs, and Rough Science).
Heading to the entrance

I love this shot of the kids. Esther has been waiting a whole year to go back and has been excitedly asking when the next free day was so she ran ahead. Meanwhile Rach (wearing a Hello Kitty Barbarian hoodie) decided to hang back and spend some time with her little brother.

Falling Letters
And this is what Essie had been waiting for, above all the other things there. She spent a good half hour catching letters, which made for some very fun photos (yes, that is me with the camera).

Magnets
Rachel and Issac exploring magnets in the Creativity Lab.

Magnetic sculpture

Rachel’s magnet sculpture ended up being posted at the museum’s Creativity Lab Blog here. (It is the second photo down.)

Electromagnets
Issac, who adores his Snap Circuit sets and spends quite a bit of time playing with electricity loved attempting to make this electro magnet work.
Wind

While Issac and Rachel explored magnets in the garage Esther played with sound and wind.

slide
After half an hour or so exploring magnets Issac and Rach climbed the net, tossed some parachutes and then played on the giant slide a bit.

building
The building area was what Rachel had waited a whole year to use. She loves to invent and build and couldn’t wait to start on the house sshe had designed in her head based on her experience last year. When she started this area was empty.
building
Within minutes she had help.
building
Lots of help.
wind
When they were finally tired of that room we went next door to experiment with wind.
ant hill
We then had to head to the next favorite– the human ant hill, where Rachel was immediately overrun with littles again.
Issac found fish
In Mister Roger’s Neighborhood we found the fish tank.
Trolley
The trolley
castle
And the Neighborhood of Makebelieve.
play
Tree
castlenoisy stairs
We then headed up the very noisy stairs (they sigh, and ow, and make other noises as you walk up them.)
Young Children Only
In the nursery area (where we had to explore because there were BABIES!) we found this little teeter totter with the massage “Young Children Only” to which Rach replied, “That means we can use it forever,” and then insisted on a photo with it.

water
We headed upstairs to the water area, where the kids quickly went from this to this:
getting soaked and making friends
Where they made friends with the only other older kids willing to play and got thoroughly soaked.
getting soaked and making friends
The making friends was the best part– I loved watching them quickly find like minded kids to play with without being shy (unlike myself and their dad at their ages.)
drying off
Sure it meant plenty of this and this:
drying off
But it also meant they had someone to hang out with the rest of our visit which made my extroverted oldest very, very happy.
clock pendullum
For those who went to the Pittsburgh Children’s Museum as a child, the pendulum clock is still there and Issac quickly found it and had to explore it.
clock

paper making

Meanwhile his sisters were having fun in the art room with their new friend, making paper

painting
painting, and print making.
attic
Issac wanted nothing to do with the art room (which he feels he can do readily enough at home while he really wanted to go to the Attic or “the sideways room” as he calls it.
build
And Rach went back to build in the Garage with her friend.
Esther, on the other hand, went into full performance mode which meant I got tons of incredible photos of her playing with the slow motion camera.
Many Esthers
light
Where she and her new friend spent a lot of time twisting, twirling
light
and doing the robot dance.
sound
In the attic are all sorts of cool illusions, from optical to sound, to shadow, and gravity. Here the kids play with sound.

slide

Mr. Roger's front porch
Finally they posed for some photos on Mr. Roger’s front porch swing.
swing
Then on the actual front porch swing (which is HUGE).
silly
silly
gategate
Then because it was a beautiful day they posed for some more rather silly photos on the way to the car.

 

 

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Click here to see the rest of the photos.