Finding activities that are both interactive and educational for young kids can be a challenge for parents. Activities that toddlers find fun don’t always offer any learning benefits, and those that are educational aren’t always fun.
So, what are parents to do? Luckily, the Philadelphia Main Line area is home to endless learning opportunities that are just as exciting as they are educational. One of the best ways to help your kids develop their skills while keeping them entertained is to visit one of the many museums in the Main Line area.
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Museums for Toddlers
Toddlers and museums don’t always seem like a good match. After all, museums are meant to be quietly observed, right? There are plenty of options, though, that offer hands-on experiences perfect for toddlers.
Check out these museums for fun learning opportunities in the Philadelphia Main Line area:
1. Winged Wonders
While not a museum in the strictest sense, Winged Wonders is a program offered by Friends’ Central School which is designed to teach children of all ages about the magic of the monarch butterfly.
The event is led by butterfly enthusiast and Winged Wonders Education founder Ann Ward, who will teach children about Monarch migration and the wonders of the outdoors. Additionally, the event features a butterfly laboratory where children can see butterflies in every stage of their life cycle (egg, caterpillar, chrysalides, butterfly), learn about nectar and host plants, and even handle and feed a live butterfly. Afterwards, families are encouraged to explore our campus.
Winged Wonders will take place on Saturday, September 17 at 9 am at Friends’ Central Lower School, which is located at 228 Old Gulph Road in Wynnewood. The event is free, but registration is required.
2. Please Touch Museum
One of the most popular options for toddler museums near the Main Line is the Please Touch Museum in Philadelphia, where touching the exhibits is not only acceptable, but highly encouraged.
This unique environment facilitates hands-on, interactive learning by combining education with imagination. The Please Touch Musuem’s mission is to encourage curiosity in children as they discover the power of learning through play.
The museum features exciting exhibits like the rocket room, river adventures, and the imagination playground, each with its own set of interactive activities. Young kids can discover the learning benefits behind play and develop skills like STEAM literacy, collaboration, decision-making, creative thinking, and motor skills.
The Please Touch Museum is generally best suited to children from six months through age 8, although the whole family is sure to enjoy the experience. General admission for adults and children costs $19.00 per ticket when purchased online. Additionally, parking at the museum costs $12.00.
3. Adventure Aquarium
The Adventure Aquarium features tons of different exhibits that will interest every member of the family. For families with toddlers, the Kidzone exhibit is specifically designed for children aged 6 and under that allows an interactive experience in which kids can see and touch marine life.
If you plan on visiting Adventure Aquarium be sure to purchase your tickets online for special discounts. When purchased in advance, General admission costs $29.99 for adults (aged 13 and up) and $21.99 for children (aged 12 and under). General admission includes access to all aquarium exhibits including a 3D movie and daily live shows.
4. Philadelphia Insectarium and Butterfly Pavilion
One of Philadelphia's newest science museums is also the perfect destination for curious toddlers. The Philadelphia Insectarium and Butterfly Pavilion is a one-of-a-kind facility that showcases one of the most diverse living arthropod collections in the country.
The museum is home to a 7,000 square foot butterfly sanctuary with more than 2,000 tropical and native butterflies for families to learn and enjoy. Young kids will love stepping into this magical world where they can interact with insects of all kinds. The highly knowledgeable staff teaches guests about the environmental importance of arthropods and is always ready to answer any bug-related questions.
If you’re interested in planning a visit to the Butterfly Pavilion, be sure to wear bright colors to encourage the butterflies to land on you! Children and toddlers under 3-years-old enter for free while general admission costs $9.95 for those aged 3 to 13 and $11.95 for those over 13.
5. Penn Museum
Even though Archaeology and Anthropology might not sound like the most toddler-friendly topic, Penn Museum (the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology) offers programs that appeal to all ages.
Penn Museum is one of the area’s best spots for interactive activities and educational fun. The museum offers several kids and family programs that are specially designed to combine learning with engaging experiences. The goal of these programs is to have fun while learning about history through special performances, hands-on crafts, music, dance, and more.
Storytime expeditions is one such program designed for kids in kindergarten through third grade. These lessons help broaden world cultural knowledge while also developing literacy and critical thinking skills.
Additionally, preschoolers are invited on the first Tuesday of each month for a museum playdate. These events specially designed for children ages 3 to 6 feature illustrated stories told in the museum’s galleries, hands-on learning with artifacts, and make-and-take art activities.
Turning Play into Learning
Learning should be an engaging and fun experience for children. Allowing toddlers to learn through play is a great way to ignite their interests and instill a passion for learning from a young age. If you’re looking for interactive, hands-on opportunities for your children, consider visiting one of the Main Line area museums listed above.
Friends’ Central School’s philosophy is focused on the same core value of interactive learning. In fact, we pride our lower school on being an environment in which joy-filled learning is embedded in play, exploration, and discovery.
If you are interested in learning more about Friends’ Central, don’t forget to sign your child up for Winged Wonders on Sunday, September 22!