Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Charleston Currents feature - July 2013

Children's museums promote summer learning through playBy LEIGH SABINE, contributing editor
Special to Charleston Currents

"Play gives children a chance to practice what they are learning."
-- Fred Rogers ( "Mr. Rogers" )
JULY 15, 2013 -- Whether you seek refuge from the heat or a diversion on a rainy Lowcountry day, there are plenty of interactive children's museums in our state to choose from to find cool play.
As a mother who has frequented these museums throughout my children's stages of growth and development, I highly recommend them as bright, clean, organized spaces that encourage creativity and big thinking while enhancing fine and gross motor skills. For preschoolers, there is the added benefit of socializing with other children and learning through observing older children play. Allow a solid block of three to four hours to really appreciate all these museums have to offer.
The Natural History Museum of College of Charleston: Located on the second floor of the School of Science and Mathematics building at 202 Calhoun Street in downtown Charleston (open daily 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., except Wednesdays), this free to the public museum is an excellent resource for kids who love fossils, dinosaurs, sharks teeth, and so much more. There are geology students on hand to answer your questions. Please contribute a donation to help keep this excellent little gem of a museum thriving.
The North Charleston and American LaFrance Fire Museum and Educational Center: This museum has an impressive collection of antique fire trucks from all over the country, as well as hands-on activities for children of all ages. This is a great space to climb, play, and move about on a rainy day and your children will learn everything they need to know about fire safety in the process. Located at the North Charleston visitor Center at 4975 Centre Pointe Dr., North Charleston
Johns Island Schoolhouse Museum:Accompany your children as they soak in the atmosphere of a sweet and "simpler" time at this one room school house. This museum offers a fantastic summer program of stories on the porch. Check Pluff Mud Kids blogsite listed below for dates, times, and details.
The Children's Museum of the Lowcountry in Charleston, EdVenture in Columbia, and the Children's Museum of S.C. in Myrtle Beach: These three museums geared for kids are all reciprocal under the umbrella of American Children's Museums, extending the value of a yearly membership.
  • The Charleston Children's Museum of the Lowcountry features a one story flow of themed, age specific play areas and an excellent art room that's always a hive of creativity.
  • EdVenture in Columbia has a colorful outdoor butterfly house and offers two stories of themed activity rooms that include a construction area with a fantastic working crane and of course "Eddie" the giant sculpture of a boy that your child can actually climb inside and explore.
  • The Children's Museum of S.C. in Myrtle Beach is a great, playful museum to investigate in the quieter months of the tourist season. Your child can dress like a pirate, hunt for fossils, role-play with money in the Big Bank, and even explore the habitat of a sea turtle in the new exhibit Sea Turtles Dig the Dark.
The Children's Museum of the Upstate in Greenville, SC: This museum is privately funded and not associated with the American Children's Museums, so it is not reciprocal with a membership to the three ACM children's museums listed above. However, it is well worth the price of admission when you visit Greenville. Conveniently located in the heart of downtown next to the library and the Upcountry History Museum, this museum for kids is loaded with interactive exhibits, bright colors, and cool surfaces to climb on with plenty of staff to help keep kids engaged in all the activities. 
  • For links and information on all of these museums and more, please visit the museum section of pluffmudkids.blogspot.com and look for more museum reviews to come.
Writer Leigh Sabine of Mount Pleasant offers a monthly look at fun activities for Lowcountry kids. It's based on her great blog, PluffMudKids. Check it out.

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