Just for Fun: The Woodlands Children’s Museum

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Photos by Libby Rogers

Packed with interactive exhibits, sensory play, and a rotating schedule of events, The Woodlands Children’s Museum offers children and families the opportunity to imagine and discover together.

My children are 2 and 6, and both had a great time exploring the children’s museum. My 6-year-old son went straight to “The Explorer Tunnel” near the museum entrance, where he could crawl inside and experience different colors shining through multi colored plastic windows. He said excitedly, “It feels like I’m inside a spaceship!”

My daughter made a beeline for “The Market,” a child-sized grocery store. She thinks she is fully grown, so the opportunity to push her own shopping cart, pick out plastic fruits, vegetables, and canned goods, place them on the conveyor belt, then use the cash register to check herself out was a dream come true. She and other friends took turns being the customer or the cashier. The cashier used a touch screen to select the items being purchased, while the customer used plastic dollar bills to make the payment. It was a delightfully educational experience disguised as pure fun.

The Woodlands Children’s Museum Social Media Manager, Courtney Coats Topini, gave me a tour of the rest of the facility. “On a daily basis we always have something going on,” she explained.

One interactive area is called The Muse, where children complete artistic projects. “We have no boundaries with our projects,” said Topini. “We encourage children to color outside of the lines.” Part-time staff member Shelby Labardini was leading the children in a fall leaf activity, and she said working at The Muse station was her favorite part of the job, explaining, “It teaches skills like creativity and thinking outside the box. Some kids sit down and want to follow the instructions exactly, and others take more liberties. We encourage both.”

Another popular exhibit is the Dream & Build. In this area children use large foam blocks to build an obstacle course or house or car or anything else that comes to mind. The museum’s website explains why this is such a wonderful exhibit: “Designed by Imagination Playground, these ‘loose parts’ facilitate unstructured, child-directed play. Experts say this kind of environment is key to a child’s intellectual, social, physical, and emotional development.” Such a simple concept fosters immense creativity, and I struggled to pull my children away from this area.

Topini said her favorite part of the museum is seeing parents and children interacting together. “There is so much to do and see, parents have to put away their phones to keep up with their children, and then end up engaging in a way that you don’t see a lot of other places.” Looking around the museum, it is clear parents have just as much fun as the children, from “baking” in the Remax Play House to creating patterns in the giant, colorful light up board.

Aside from the exhibits, the museum has interactive experiences planned for every day of the week. One of these activities is the Boogie Bash, which is 20 minutes of dancing and fun to get all the wiggles out. Another is the silhouette puppet show, with a different book acted out every week. Some of the activities are geared towards science and math, using Legos to build or count and sort. Every Friday, Miss Jane, staff member and former librarian, reads stories in a very animated style, and the children have fun making sound effects and answering questions as the story progresses.

The Woodlands Children’s Museum hosts special seasonal events, too. Coming up on December 8th, families can join Santa for a Social with a Peppermint Twist, which not only includes breakfast and photos with Santa, but also photos with Frozen’s Elsa®, a scavenger hunt, gingerbread house building, entertainment, and much more. These events fill up quickly, so it is important to reserve a spot as soon as possible. For a list of all daily activities and upcoming special events, please refer to the museum’s website.

The museum also hosts educational workshops. The museum has a whole educational department dedicated to bringing learning to life, with workshops geared toward every age group. For preschool age and under, a variety of programs introduce children to group learning and help prepare them for kindergarten. Other workshops meet after school and are geared for older kids, with workshops focusing on science and robotics, to name a few. The workshops have become especially popular with the homeschool community.

The Woodlands Children’s Museum is a great place to host a birthday. Two party rooms are available on Saturdays and Sundays for cake and presents, and children can enjoy the museum together between birthday festivities. Children can opt to have a special theme added to their birthday party, like “silly science” or “calling all superheroes,” with additional activities sure to make the day memorable.

A traveling exhibit comes to the museum for November and December by the Periwinkle Foundation called Making a Mark. “This is a collection made by children who are cancer patients,” explained Topini. “It’s a really special exhibit. All the pieces are made by children going through something difficult, and they are expressing themselves through art. We are honored to host their work here.”

Many volunteers are required to keep the museum running smoothly. The National Honor Society, Lions Club, Kiwanis, and ExxonMobil are just a few of the organizations that play a part in preparing for activities and projects. Full time art coordinator Debbie ensures the projects are prepared and exciting.

All in all, the Woodlands Children’s Museum is a place to play and learn in equal measure. Through interaction at various museum exhibits, children develop physical and communication skills, critical thinking, creativity, and culture awareness.

“Our goal is for children to have so much fun they won’t know that they are learning,” said Topini.

If my children are any indication, that goal is 100% met. I had to pull my children away from the museum with the promise to return as soon as possible.

The Woodlands Children’s Museum is open Tuesday to Saturday from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm, and Sundays from 12:00 pm to 5:00 pm. Admission is $6 per adult and children over the age of 1. Memberships are available and also provide priority access to special events.

4775 West Panther Creek Drive #280
The Woodlands, TX 77381
(281) 465-0955
woodlandschildrensmuseum.org

Tues–Sat: 10:00 am to 5:00 pm
Sun: 12:00 pm to 5:00 pm
$6 Admission (Age 1+)
Memberships available

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