Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Building For Kids

It's Duck Hunting Season, so I knew I'd be all alone with the kiddos most of Saturday (and again today). This was all the motivation I needed to take them to our local Children's Museum -- Building for Kids. We buy a family membership each year, mostly because the pass gets us into museums in Utah for free. We also need to take advantage of all the Chicago museums we could get into for free, but we never have.

It had been awhile since we visited the Building for Kids and we were surprised to find a few updates that made the whole trip even more exciting than we expected.

We started out in the plane area -- always one of our favorites. Reid loves to play pilot and Nell is content being a pilot, passenger, or air traffic controller. The main floor also has a bank, gas station (which is more like a grocery store), diner, and doll hospital. We spent a good hour down there before we headed upstairs to find all the new upgrades.

Reid and Coraline both loved the new fire truck (it simply replaced an old one) while Nell ran around in the gym and putty golf areas. She also ran the crane. Yes, she went to three different areas while Reid just chilled in the fire truck. He was pretty content to stay at just a few of his favorite spots for really long periods of time. I think it must be the age difference. He's still so into imaginative play and now he has the attention span to stick with one thing for quite some time. We could have been at that museum for five hours if I (and Coraline) was willing.

A new favorite photo of Reid
Nell was begging me to take her to the new water area and I kept making her wait for Reid to be ready. When he finally was they all suited up and enjoyed the completely renovated area. Nell's approach was to explore everything and then complain about getting wet, ha! Reid spent nearly the whole time building and racing duplo boats. Coraline loved the duplos as well, but she mostly just loved taking them out of their holders and throwing them in the water, singing "whew, wheeew, whew" the whole time. Really, her little voice was the cutest part of the whole thing.

Grab, toss, repeat. "Whew, wheeew, whew"

I wish that top photo wasn't blurry, but I thought shooting the water guns at chimes to make different music was the coolest feature of the whole water area.

When Nell was ready to leave the water area I took the girls over to the Davinci center for some painting and exploring. Reid stayed in the water area for at least half an hour. I love that he's old enough I can let him just be for a bit. It's so much easier to only worry about one child (Coraline) running away and getting lost. Nell started whining that she was hungry, but we still found time for the ball bit and the construction trucks before going downstairs for our snack.

A new favorite photo of Nell

She was so focused. I loved it!

We played downstairs for another 30 to 40 minutes before heading home. I think Coraline fell asleep before we even made it out of the car garage. Nell and Reid each fell asleep somewhere along the freeway. Even though we've been to this museum more than half a dozen times in the past, this trip felt extra special. First, I loved that I just got to take them to an area, find a bench, and then let them play. It was the perfect level of "work" I needed for that day. Second, I love that Reid and Nell are older and enjoying it a little more. Third, I loved watching them in the moments when they all three just played together (plane, ball pit, and construction trucks). Fourth, I think I got better pictures this time than in any past visits. I love some of those shots up there. I really wanted to capture all the joy on their faces. Especially Coraline, who seemed to be discovering the whole thing for the first time. It was a wonderful morning and I'm so grateful we are able to give our kids these fun memories and enriching learning experiences. 

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