Most parents know the feeling all too well. You go anywhere, including your very own kitchen and your toddler is exploring all the drawers and doors with gusto. Spatula? Check. Pots and pans? Check. (And bang bang bang!) Going to a kitchen store at the mall? Out of the question unless the kid is strapped down somehow. When the major renovations were completed at the Minnesota Children’s Museum, my son was 4.5 and although he had outgrown some of his natural tendency to get into everything, everywhere, he still went into a gleeful mode upon discovering the curiosity cabinets and drawers in the new exhibit called The Studio.
I’d be willing to bet my son is just as curious as Curious George. Whenever we read books about Curious George, he’s empathizing with George the most. This is why he loves the Curiosity Cabinets and Drawers. He can explore at full throttle and nobody is telling him to stop. In the cabinets and drawers, the most random things can be found, even plastic teeth! Higher up are what I am assuming are Hmong dolls. Bird’s eggs (not real) can also be discovered. If he doesn’t know what something is, he asks and we talk about it. I am building his vocabulary and also sitting back and letting him struggle to open a door or drawer so he learns to problem solve and try other ways if the first attempt doesn’t work.
This is learning by play at it’s best for my son, and every so often, he pauses long enough to sit in the big window that oversees the museum and we both marvel at what a fantastic museum we have here in Minnesota.