Where Learning and Play go Hand-in-Hand
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Exhibits: Information

Congress Park

Explore the great outdoors inside our Congress Park exhibit. Transform yourself into a wildlife expert as you explore different habitats, animals, and plants.

What you’ll learn:

  • Science concepts
  • Observation
  • Imaginative play

Ways to engage:

  • Play a game of “I-Spy” while taking an imaginary boat ride.
  • Examine the different species of animals. Discuss their characteristics and where they live.
  • Discuss how plants and animals are important for our ecosystem. Explain how animals eat many of the plants for food, use plants for camouflage, and even build their houses with them

Grocery Store

Welcome to the grocery store that kids run! Fill a grocery bag with colorful products from the different food groups! Take some time stocking the store to learn about weight, length and capacity or count and sort the different products by size, shape, and color.

What you’ll learn:

  • Problem solving
  • Cooperation
  • Food acquisition
  • Math skills

Ways to engage:

  • Whether the cashier, stocker or customer children can use role-play to learn the ins and outs of a grocery store. 
  • Teach community life skills by having your child select, carry, purchase, and sell products in the store.
  • Talk about the different food groups and practice making healthy choices.
  • Teach early math skills by having your child count, sort, and weigh food by color, shape, and size.

The Bank

The bank is open for business! The hands-on activities in this space provide endless learning opportunities focused on financial literacy. Children can role-play as bank teller or customer making deposits and withdrawals. Each finance station provides an opportunity for your child to learn about counting, money recognition, and consider choices about needs versus wants and spending versus saving.

What you’ll learn:

  • Math Concepts
  • Problem-solving
  • Social Skills

Ways to engage:

  • Practice basic math skills by sorting bills into ones, fives, tens, twenties, fifties, and hundreds.
  • Learn how to count, add and subtract as you deposit or withdraw money from the bank.
  • Talk about making good and poor choices with money with our saving and spending hands-on interactive games.
  • Play a matching game to practice money recognition with your child.

The School House

The School House is a model classroom that provides unique, hands-on experiences that establish skills developed in early childhood to help your young one prepare for school. This exhibit introduces children to basic concepts such as shapes, numbers, letters, and colors.

What you’ll learn:

  • Social and emotional development
  • Creative thinking
  • Communication skills
  • Letter recognition
  • Early math skills
  • Observation

Ways to engage:

  • Practice the alphabet, letter recognition, letter sounds and writing letters.
  • Use the analog clock to practice number recognition and counting.
  • Practice colors, sorting and counting with our colorful beanbag sorting game.

The Trolley

All Aboard! Show the Conductor your tickets and take your seats. Use your imagination to fuel your journey throughout the Museum.

What you’ll learn:

  • Problem Solving
  • Creativity
  • Communication Skills
  • Conflict Resolution

Ways to engage:

  • Pretend Play: If you are offered an invitation to join in on the adventure, accept! By participating in your child’s pretend play, you are advancing their play time by boosting their imagination.
  • Life Skill: Playtime is an effective and fun way to teach your child about the importance of public transportation, as well as, model behavior on how to safely use public transit.

STEM Room

It is time to build, create and play! Navigate your way through the world of STEM as you experiment with wind, magnets, and motion.

What you’ll learn:

  • Creativity
  • Problem Solving Skills
  • Visual – Spatial Thinking Skills
  • Motor Skills

Ways to engage:

  • Use the wide variety of building kits to create, build, and explore alongside your child.
  • Enhance fine motor control by having your child click the building toys into place.
  • Practice spatial organization skills by challenging them to build the tallest tower they can without it toppling over.
  • Develop cognitive, language, and social skills by having your child build a whole new world. As your child is creating a structure, have them create a story to go along with their development.

Sponsored by: The Rotary Club of Saratoga Springs and The Bender Scientific Fund.

Happy’s Diner

Imaginative play is front and center at this busy kid-sized diner! Happy’s playful, retro and colorful vibes encourages children to cook up a nutritional meal, take orders from guests or build confidence and communication skills by ordering a meal on their own.

What you’ll learn:

  • Sharing and cooperation
  • Sorting and counting
  • Organizational tasks
  • Recognizing/ Classification of objects
  • Imaginative play/role playing

Ways to engage:

  • Role-play with your child to help build imaginative play skills then reverse the roles to encourage creative thinking.
  • Engage basic math concepts by asking for two, three or four of an item.
  • Learn about combinations by stacking a sandwich. How many variations can they stack using a slice of bread, tomato, cheese and a cold cut?
  • Practice making healthy choices by creating a well balanced meal.
  • Discuss the different roles there are in a restaurant and what they do and how they are important.

The Mail Room

The Post Office is a vital part of any community and this space is a great way to show your child how the postal system works. Children can collect, sort, and deliver mail around town to learn how mail moves from place to place.

What you’ll learn:

  • Language/Narrative skills
  • Math skills
  • Print awareness

Ways to engage:

  • Make up stories by guessing the content of each letter. For instance, who is it for, what does it say, who is it from, and where is it going?
  • Count, sort, and stack letters and packages. • Practice letter and number recognition by having your child deliver mail to the correct mail box.
  • Discuss the process of mailing a letter to help your child understand the postal system, and how we send and receive mail.

Creation Station

The Creation Station is stocked with new and familiar art supplies to fuel young imaginations in a dynamic and creative way. The room is designed to encourage children to explore mixed media techniques in order to create original pieces of art. Budding artists will have fun exploring an assortment of materials, learning about different art techniques and using this productive time to inspire self-expression through ideas and design.

What you’ll learn:

  • Fine Motor Skills
  • Creativity
  • Independence
  • Socio-emotional development
  • Concentration

Ways to engage:

  • Enhance your child’s math skills, like spatial-relationships, through the practice of shape and form.
  • Learn about science by observing how different art materials interact with each other.
  • Improve communication, social, and emotional skills by creating together, describing what you designed and what inspired your creation.

Sponsored by: Target, The Arthur Z. Solomon Foundation.

The Spa Little Theater

Welcome to the wondrous world of the performing arts! Comedy, fantasy, drama, colorful costumes and imaginative scenery come to life as your budding actors and actresses take the stage and shine!

What you’ll learn:

  • Communication Skills
  • Social and Emotional Development
  • Creativity
  • Observation

Ways to engage:

  • Watch: One of the best ways to ensure happy and productive playtime is to encourage your child to take the lead. Let your child’s imagination run free with all of the fun objects, puppets and dress up in the Theater. Let them start the performance and then join in the fun along the way!
  • Talk: Every actor has emotions. Take turns with your child acting out different feelings using body language and expressions. What does it look like to be happy? Scared? Confused? Loving? Excited? Sad? Nervous? This activity helps your child communicate his or her feelings to others and understanding other people’s emotions in return

The Veterinary Clinic

Explore the world of veterinary science by taking on one of the many professional roles to be discovered in a vet office. After checking-in with reception, put on a lab coat to explore animal health and determine the best possible treatment to care for your animal patients.

What you’ll learn:

  • Science concepts
  • Social and life skills
  • Language skills
  • Cooperative play
  • Problem solving

Ways to engage: 

  • Use imagination and role-play to care for healthy, sick, or injured animals
  • Identify basic principles of animal care.
  • Identify animal characteristics. How are different kinds of creatures similar and how are they different?
  • Explore the various medical tools. Discuss how they are used and what they are used for.

The Fire Truck and Fire House

Let your imagination soar as you sit behind the wheel of a firetruck. This exhibit offers the experience of being a firefighter through the power of imaginative play. Children can race to the scene in their fire fighting gear to save the town.

What you’ll learn:

  • Social & Emotional Development
  • Developing Motor Skills
  • Communication Skills
  • Safety Awareness

Ways to engage:

  • Identify colors and shapes with a game of “I Spy.”
  • Encourage your child’s imagination through role playing by helping them dress up in fire gear and creating a scenario in the town.
  • Discuss the role firefighters play in the community, as well as, other community helpers that exist in your town.
  • Introduce your child to fire safety practices and what to do in the case of a emergency.

The Bubble Spring

Discover all you can about bubbles! This exhibit gives children and adults the opportunity to experiment and investigate together through the observation of shape, size, reflection, and color while standing inside of an enormous bubble.

What you’ll learn:

  • Problem Solving Skills
  • Observation
  • Visual – Spatial Thinking Skills
  • Physical Skills
  • Cooperation
  • Interaction of light
  • Physical Properties of Liquids
  • Use of Tools

Ways to engage: 

  • Pose challenges to draw upon the natural curiosity of your child by having a contest on who can stretch their bubble the tallest before making it pop.
  • Develop an understanding of basic science concepts, like elasticity, surface tension, chemistry, light, and refraction.
  • Explain what makes a bubble. A bubble is air wrapped in soap film and soap film is a mixture of soap and water. The soap and water molecules act together to hold air inside which, in turn, creates a bubble.
  • Observe the bubble. Is it transparent or does the bubble have colors? What colors does your child see? Can they see their faces in the bubble? Explain how a bubble gets its color from light waves reflecting against the soap films surface. Bubbles can also reflect objects around them, like your child’s face.

The Bandstand

Use music and sound to express yourself in the bandstand. Discover how sound can be found everywhere and hear the music that can be found in sound. Investigate sound and collaborate with friends by playing a xylophone made out of PVC pipe or by dancing through a motion sensor interactive to create rhythms and melodies. Music is a powerful tool used for communication, and for realizing a child’s full intellectual, social, and creative potential.

What you’ll learn:

  • Rhythm
  • Listening skills
  • Fine and gross motor control
  • Focus

Ways to engage:

  • Practice playing a steady beat on the PVC pipe xylophone.
  • Introduce the concept of speed with tempo (fast vs. slow)
  • Observe how each PVC pipe makes a different sound and how that sound relates to the length of the pipe.
  • Listen to the different musical notes in the motion sensor interactive. See if you can recreate your favorite song as you dance or create a new song of your very own.