Our family’s membership to the Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh expires this Spring and we were seriously considering just letting it lapse. We have been to the Museum hundreds of times now and I think we were all getting a little bored with the place. However, I decided to give it one last chance since I know that they have added a ton of new things to do there over the last couple of months including a newly renovated Waterplay, a traveling Clifford exhibit, and new tot programming. So on a rainy May morning we headed to the Museum to explore its new features. The kids had so much fun we ended up renewing our membership that very day!
Adventures with Clifford the Big Red Dog Exhibit
The new Clifford exhibit was developed by the Minnesota Children’s Museum in collaboration with Scholastic, Inc. It will be at the Museum until September and is located in the Changing Exhibits room. As you approach the room, you can see a giant Clifford model. My kids freaked when they saw it (in a good way!). They went running towards him so fast my son took a faceplant and he barely even cried. He just picked himself up and staggered into the exhibit, gravitating toward The Big Red Dog with his arms outstretched.
The Clifford exhibit is laid out to resemble a pretend island town. There are a variety of pretend buildings, including
a) a house with pretend flowers in window boxes and pretend garden tools,
b) a pretend school with a lots of Clifford books inside that you can read to your kids,
c) a pretend seaside burger shack where you can sit at the counter and peruse a menu while your the kids go inside of the pretend restaurant kitchen and cook you up a bite to eat,
d) a pretend ferryboat where kids can don life jackets and pretend to drive,
e) a pretend stage where kids can put on costumes and play musical instruments,
f) and a pretend mail system. There is a post office with mail carrier costumes and mailbags, a letter-writing station, and a network of mailboxes distributed throughout the room
My kids happily explored the new Clifford exhibit for nearly forty minutes! I thought it was a really excellent addition to the Museum for the following reasons:
1) It does an excellent job of incorporating activities for different ages. For example, the imaginative elements and the letter-writing station appeal to the older toddlers and the preschoolers. The younger toddlers enjoy some of the gross motor stuff, such as the small slide on Clifford’s tail and playing with the large dog bones in the cushioned dog bowl.
There is also a dedicated area for babies (although it is not secured from the rest of the room, so keep a close eye).
2) I also really liked that the Exhibit incorporates imaginative elements. I have long thought the Children’s Museum needs more pretend play for toddlers. We have visited other American Children Museums that have pretend schools, houses, grocery stores, hospitals, etc… and my kids FLIPPED for them. I hope the Pittsburgh Children’s Museum will take a hint from this exhibit and add some imaginative features to its regular collection.
Anyway, there is plenty more to do in the Clifford Exhibit, but I’m not going to give it all away…I hope you get a chance to explore it with your little one!
Coming in the next few days…the renovated Waterplay exhibit!© Copyright Nadine Champsi, All rights Reserved. Written For: The Pittsburgh Mommy Blog
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