About a year ago, I went to the Please Touch Museum here in Philly with a friend and her toddler (read about that visit here). I went again today. Seems to be a good February activity, as it’s cold and windy out, and the Museum is basically an indoor playground for kids up to age 7.
The friend I drove down to Delaware to visit last weekend came up here this weekend. JM’s daughter E is three, and has a ton of energy. When it’s too cold to go to an outdoor park, other options must be found. Given that driving up here is a reasonable drive, and a straight shot, they decided it was a good weekend to explore what indoor options Philly has to offer. E was thrilled with the Museum and had a blast. Rarely are children allowed to run around and explore whatever catches their eye, and that’s what the Museum offers. She was enamored by the Where the Wild Things Are themed area, although the big wild thing coming out of the wall was a bit scary (he really is a bit frightening looking). The In the Night Kitchen area slide was another big hit. I think we played in most of the areas more than once during our three hour visit.
Today they had a jazz band, and our visit overlapped two of the performances. And despite the fact they sang the same songs both times, E was just as enchanted the second time as she was the first. She loved the butterfly finger puppets that went with the butterfly migration song. And happily spun in circles to a monkey singing a kids version of “Straighten up and fly right.” She was completely mesmerized by the music, and was very excited to go home with a free maraca (JM and her husband may not be so thrilled later).
As I watched her play, running from one themed play area to another, I realized that toddlers are probably smarter than many of us. Despite the meltdowns and tantrums, they really know how to live. We tend to keep looking for the “next best thing” in life, while E just enjoys everything, whether it’s the first time she sees it or the seventh. She’s entirely in the moment. And the tantrums and meltdowns pass quickly, the reasons forgotten before they’re even over – there’s something else just as exciting over there anyway. And if it’s not what you want to do, snacks or a juice box are an acceptable substitute.
And besides, when was the last time you danced and spun in a circle until it made you dizzy? Try it. It’s therapeutic.