After moving five hours away from the Omaha Children’s Museum this summer, I realized just how much I missed it from a homeschooling perspective.
To the kids it’s just a fun place to play. Plenty of activities for running around, playing pretend, getting messy, and everything else kids love to do. For me, as both a parent and a homeschooling mom, the Omaha Children’s Museum is packed with educational activities at every turn.
Now that we no longer have the museum resource close by, I find myself turning to the inspiration of the exhibits we know and love to help me keep a balanced STEAM education going with my kids.
The Imagination Playground was, and still is, one of the girls’ favorite places to hang out at the Omaha Children’s Museum. Just from that section I can help the girls with their science, technology, engineering, art, and math. That’s all areas of STEAM!
Pretending to plant and harvest vegetables in the garden is one of the girl’s highlights of the museum, and a place they regularly find other kids to play with. At our new home we don’t have a great place for a traditional backyard garden, but we’ll be putting in a container garden next year so the girls can gain experience in all of the science that goes into growing and harvesting our own vegetables. Everything from temperature, watering, insects, soil quality, drainage, and more. We’ll bring the lessons indoors to learn more about food preservation, cooking, health and nutrition.
Another place in the Imagination Playground the girl’s love to hang out is at the doctor’s office. There they have plenty of baby dolls to care for, and of course the X-ray machine. Here I’m reminded that even though we don’t have the pretend station, it doesn’t mean I can’t find some really cool X-ray photos and/or videos online to check out. Plus, I’m sure I can find someone at the local hospital or clinic who can take us on a tour and give us some great information about how a lot of the current medical technology works.
If your kids are fans of splashing in the water like mine are, then the Platte River water table is the place for them. Here the kids can try their hand at using the beaver dams to redirect the flow of the water.
We’re lucky to be surrounded by rivers and state parks at our new home, so finding a place to practice creating new ways to change the flow of water is plentiful. In addition to learning more about the structures to divert water, the girls can try their hand at engineering different types of water crafts to move along the water’s surface.
At the Omaha Children’s Museum, I’m reminded that color is everywhere. In the grocery store section of the Imagination Playground, there is even a part dedicated to food and the colors of the rainbow. As we’re exploring our new community, it will be fun to look at the different color schemes used for everything from store displays to home landscapes. We can take our observations home as inspiration for art projects.
The grocery store in the museum has some wonderful opportunities for math skills, but what I really love is the bank. Kids can go in there and pretend to be the bank teller, while learning about financial responsibility. It’s inspiration to get the kids saving and visiting our local bank to learn more about that same financial responsibility. Plus, I’m sure we could get a tour of the local bank. Someday I want to head down to Kansas to visit the Money Museum at the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City. Until then, we’ll keep learning fun with our own money management games and activities.
These are only a few ways Omaha Children’s Museum has inspired me to bring STEAM education into our new home town. I know I’ll turn back to the museum for even more ideas, even if we can’t get back there to visit as often as we’d like.
Even though we’re not there to explore the museum, it’s still helping us through educational inspiration.