Monday, November 26, 2012

Thanksgiving Week: Museums With Family

While visiting family in New Jersey last week, we spent a couple of days learning while playing and exploring at different museums. See that? No skipped school days. A week away from home and still lots of learning opportunities. [Win.]
Since my mom-in-law lives just outside of Philadelphia, we spent a day at the Franklin Institute. So much to see and so much to do! And, with our North Carolina family museum membership we were able to enjoy this museum and the planetarium for free as well. [Win.]
We learned about our bodies by walking through a model of a heart and performing open-heart surgery. We  explored a steam engine and discovered how trains run. We discovered the power of electricity and and learned about the natural forces changing the earth. Although there was a lot of climbing and jumping and touching and button-pushing, there was a lot of curious question asking and discussion. [Win.]
I've lost track of how many museums, zoos, nature centers, and botanical gardens we've visited in the last year, but each time we enter someplace new, my boys are eager to see and do it all. They haven't mentioned that they're bored yet and, in fact, I've heard them say more than once that "museums are the best school days ever!" [Win.]

Now that I've reviewed the many pictures I took at the museum, I realize I only have a couple with Nana and her grand kids. I think that's because she was always busy taking pictures, too! With only a few visits each year with her grand kids she wants to capture picture memories to last her until the next visit.
During dinner that evening, Grady Lee shared that his favorite part of the day was the planetarium ("I think I need a telescope so I can watch the stars each night!"); Micah shared that he like walking through the giant heart ("And it would be super cool if they made a giant brain to walk inside, too!"); and Nana said she enjoyed it all because it meant a day with her grand kids. [Win.]
Mid-way through the week we joined my sis-in-law, and two of her kids, for a morning at the Garden State Discovery Center. Since she was spending Thanksgiving with her extended family it was a special to have a few hours with her during our visit. The kids played and pretended and explored while we had a chance to catch up on life in between excited "Hey Mom! Come look!" interruptions.
We spent time on the shore, at the farm, and on the Flyers hockey rink. We dug for dinosaur fossils, made giant bubbles, and televised the local weather. We dressed up for a dance, hung boards to build walls, and took lunch orders at a diner.
Thankfully, we had the place almost to ourselves. No school groups and no day-care field trips meant we didn't feel rushed and didn't need to hawk-eye our kids. Pfsh, as if I really needed to watch my kids. They were doted on from all sides by Nana and their Aunts!
After visiting three different museums in one week, I think I reached my "educational limit." I'm ready for a week at home now with just my kids and our books - with no backpack or stroller or Ziplock stuffed with snacks.
But, I'm thankful for the fun and the learning. The family and the memories. The laughs and the questions. The   cousins and the playing.

And I'd do it all over again next week if I could.

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