January 6, 2016

Ann Arbor Hands On Museum Visit

This last week I was given the opportunity to re-visit the Ann Arbor Hands on Museum. I had the week off and was looking for fun activities to do with the kids and even got to connect with an out of town friend. The museum was busy but it was a ton of fun in one of the special exhibits and exploring the many hands on displays throughout the museum.

As a parent of two very active kids, I especially appreciate the how the Ann Arbor Hands on Museum encourages kids to interact, climb-on, run through and otherwise EXPLORE the many displays. Of course they ARE a "hands on" museum so one would expect this, however that's not always the case. The museum would be the perfect escape from this week's frigid weather!

For those of you who already know about the museum, you know it's a great place to visit. Perhaps you took your preschool aged child to explore. But there is so much more for older kids too. On the day we visited my kids created bookmarks using shaving cream and paint, created film canister rockets, made ice candles and even made some goop! I of course had to confiscate their goop so it did not end up in a mess somewhere at home. It's now at my desk at work - I mean who does not like to play with goop?!?

We had to drag the kids away from this exhibit, the way
that the magnets reacted in the fluid was just fascinating!
Learning at the Ann Arbor Hands on Museum though becomes an adventure for older kids too. I was excited to see that my kids took more time to read the displays, and spent more time exploring many of the exhibits. When they were younger it was all about the preschool displays and simply running a-muck! The additional time this trip made for a nice get-away.

Favorites on this trip included playing with the giant water table in the H2Oh! exhibit where they explored complex concepts about fluid motion. Of course they got wet, however we love that there are handy wall dryers so that kids can get warm and dry after their water fun.

Another big hit was in the DTE Energy Foundation Light and Optics area, where the kids enjoyed the stringless Laser Harp, the many great experiments and especially dancing around like crazy people to see how the shapes changed on the projected image. We seriously spent 45 minutes in that room. Oddly enough the other parents must not have gone that deep into the museum, however my friend and I got to dance with the kids then sit on the bench in the room and just chat! Our kids had a blast. They also spent much time using the green screen in the MediaWorks area. I think my daughter would make an excellent weather girl, don't you? My son preferred to play in traffic or interact with the giant spiders.

She made it. The giant bubble did not pop
until it was over her head!
My kids and their friends also spent a significant amount of time in the World Around You exhibit. Any time you can play with and make giant bubbles kids of all ages get tuned in. They also enjoyed making various sounds, climbing on the climbing wall and generally exploring the area. For some reason there was a tuning fork that got there attention this time too!

Of course at this point, my friend and I were exhausted. We had gone up and down the stairs to the museum several times and wandered all over. I think our best idea came when we sat down together in the Concourse. The kids spent at least an hour building "forts" with the huge foam blocks. There may have been a war after that, but so long as they were aware of the "littles" in the area, we let them play! 

For those of you with toddlers and pre-school aged children, know that there is much to do for your kids too. There is an entire area dedicated to that age and there are many story-time programs available too. A big hit for that audience seems to be the All About You are where kids can was riding in the ambulance and even climb a fire pole. My kids LOVED the fire pole!

My son sending a secret message that was received
by his other friend.
I appreciate too that the museum keeps things fresh with new exhibits, a pop-up maker space, little scientist club and so much more. Before you go, be sure to check the calendar of events. Know though, that no matter what age of child you have, you and your kids will enjoy a visit to the Ann Arbor Hands on Museum. There is always something to do! Bring out-of-town guests, relax inside with your parent and simply stop in to get away from the weather - Booking a trip to the Ann Arbor Hands On Museum is the perfect stay-cation this January!








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