shiny and new: minnesota children’s museum grand reopening.

my sneak peek fun for the grand re-opening of the Minnesota Children’s Museum was brought to you in exchange for a complimentary museum membership. all opinions are my own.

if any of you who read here follow me on instagram (you really should if you aren’t already, i’m much more prolific there when i have small babies than i am here), you will have seen some posts about the excitement that is the re-opening of the minnesota children’s museum. i’ve been lucky enough to get some sneak peek action of the shiny and new museum that is now open after months of being closed for major renovations. i mean, my kids have been lucky too, but i have been especially jacked about all the fun stuff they’ve done.

living in st. paul, we’ve been lucky to have the children’s museum just a 10-minute drive away, which makes it perfect for a spontaneous rainy day activity. we’ve been members thanks to my mother-in-law for over a year now, and i can’t say enough good things about this place. so when i heard they were going to completely revamp and update, i was very excited. and when i was contacted to become a play advocate for the museum as they went through the process, i was over the moon.

one of the fun things we got to do was act as testers for a couple exhibits before the museum was open to sneak peek crowds and the general public. i grabbed a girlfriend and her three girls (she’s a supermom) and the seven of us headed over to the museum on a thursday morning to play!

we were so excited that we’d be getting to check out the sprouts exhibit, which is the area for kids three and under (although big siblings are welcome too), since all of our kids are within that age range. the improvements were amazing. they have water tables, a big jungle gym with activity centers, a baby area with cushy mats for crawling, and the best part: a rest area with a microwave, high chairs, and little tables for when kiddos need to stop for a snack or a feeding.

everything was challenging enough for the older girls, but there were things for the littlest ones to do as well. Amelia especially loved the water tables and the little touch/feel/organize activities in the jungle gym. we would have been able to spend the entire time in sprouts if us moms hadn’t wanted to see a few other areas.

one area we didn’t get to see (and couldn’t make it to any of the sneak peek sessions to see yet) is the backyard, the green space at the museum. they have activity areas that are made to look like abstract animal habitats, with lots of green areas, and even a workspace where kids can dig around and get their hands dirty outside. now, we live in minnesota, so we only get to enjoy this exhibit for part of the year, but i’m so excited that the outdoor area is so interactive. there are some days that just feel like museum days, even when it’s nice out, so to have the ability to get some fresh air and still do some play-learning is amazing.

part of the reason that these updates are so exciting for me is that the museum really took to heart the idea that play is the work of childhood. they have looked at the research and thought of ways to make their play less prescribed and more open-ended. kids these days get eight less hours of play per week than they did 5-7 years ago, so we need all the opportunity to let them play and be kids that we can. and if they can learn and grow while they’re doing it? even better.

if you’re interested in learning more, you can visit the museum’s website to read about “powerful play” and get a play activation kit that includes temporary tattoos, window clings, play tips and more. local friends, use the hashtag #playmoreMN to share your fun play with the rest of the community!

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