There was a giant crane, which they could crank to lift baskets of stuff. It commanded their attention for a couple of minutes. They liked the textured ramps that they could send cars racing, bumping or crawling down. And the exhibit designed to explain politics and campaigning offered them an opportunity to make campaign buttons. They drew goblins with butts (which some folks may agree is an accurate depiction of much of Congress).
I tried hard to get them excited about the play kitchen or the African marketplace.
Not even the fire engine held their attention.
A Yelp reviewer, Stacy A. from Arlington, wrote, “This isn’t a children’s museum, it’s a mid-sized playzone.”
On Education Gadfly, another parent blames the blah on “the sad outworking of too many years of mushy social-studies standards.”
No structured content, just a mishmash of world culture with clothing and food prep, etc., focusing on their place in the world, neighborhoods, even a bunk bed to understand . . . not sure what.”
Few states have good social studies standards, though South Carolina and Ohio are exceptions, writes Checker Finn. “The effort now underway to develop some version of national standards for social studies is off to a dreadful start.”
I recently took the grandkids to the Kohl Children’s Museum in Glenview, Illinois, which is designed for little kids. It’s a “playzone.” The girls enjoyed it, but I don’t think it’s any more educational than playing at home.