Tuesday, July 30, 2013

My Backyard - If It's 5:00 On A Friday Night It Must Be Time For...The Providence Children's Museum!

News Flash! Friday night all-nighters? Concerts? Parties? Clubbing?


My time is now dictated by the wants and needs of the under 4' set. Since they're living with me, and I'm still not working and money is uber tight, I'm on a mission to find free or low cost activities to keep the grandkids busy. And me? Sane.

So far we've spent time at a playground a few blocks from home. We've also been to a huge park in a neighboring town that has a dog area, vintage carousel, top-notch play equipment, some gentle farm animals and a yummy ice cream stand. We've enjoyed some movies, both at the early low-cost matinee and an outdoor movie at the park ("Yogi" - kids had never heard of the pic-a-nic basket snatching bear but thoroughly enjoyed it!). They also enjoyed a day at a local state park swimming in a crystal clear fresh-water lake. They stayed in for hours!

But we need more ideas....

Friends and family have given us lots of suggestions on our options of the low-cost and free variety. But when someone mentioned a free night at the Providence Children's Museum, I thought I heard wrong. The Museum has always been a top destination for the grandkids but we figured in our current situation, it was out of reach. I checked their website and... bazinga! FREE!! Friday nights, from 5:00pm to 8:00pm...FREE!! Thanks to the generosity of MetLife.

Hubby and I decided we wouldn't tell the grandkids until the next Friday night. Couldn't wait to surprise them with the news.

And boy were they surprised!! We sprung the announcement on them at 4:00 and stood back as they jumped and squealed around the living room. They flung their arms around us and yelled "Let's Go"!

Excited smiling faces beamed back at us from the backseat of the car as we rolled down the highway to Providence. When we walked in the familiar front door of the Museum, they ran willy-nilly into the building - heads whipping back and forth as they took in the bright colorful environment laid out before them. They tried their hand at the Play Power area - scarves were inserted into the air tubes where they shot up and out of the tube and floated back to their waiting hands. Their attention was diverted by laughter from an adjoining area and they were off again. This time to construct magnetic mazes and design on the giant Lite Brite board with colored pegs. Warped mirrors brought smiles and giggles from the kids as they posed in front of their reflection. After an hour on the first floor, we raced upstairs.

At the top of the ramp they donned hard hats in the construction area and climbed aboard a replica bridge. Next they scampered off through a lighted tunnel which brought them to a few rooms where they traveled back in time to an old general store and a big wooden ship. These were big hits as evidenced by how they returned to them again and again. Interactive puzzles and experiments with shapes and blocks captured their attention next.

While the boys continued with their play, hubby brought our 3 year old granddaughter to "Littlewoods", a special space set aside just for the 4 and under set. Another hour later and the kids wanted to head back to the first floor. Destination? The outdoor children's garden area. Unfortunately, it was raining a bit which dampened their enthusiasm. So they restricted their play to the dry cave area where they squealed with delight as they ran in and out of the built-in holes like burrowing moles.
Right on cue, those attention span deficient kids decided they wanted to head back inside. There was one last activity they wanted to try before calling it a night - Water Ways! In this area, the children donned plastic aprons and got to work building fountains, floating boats and splish-splashing in the swirling cool water.

Needless to say, they were happily exhausted after spending nearly 3 fun hours in the Museum.

We, of course, were thrilled we were able to bring the kids to one of their fav places. A place that makes learning fun, captures the vivid imagination of children of all ages. Thanks again MetLife.

The grandkids can't wait to go back. The 7 year old told me he wishes we lived within walking distance of the "most awesomest" Museum so we could walk there every Friday night. I don't know about going that often; these old bones don't hold up like they used to. But the Museum is definitely on our must-return-to list.


  1. I can't wait until my granddaughter gets to be a little older so we can do all these cool things!

    1. Playtime with grandkids is the best!!


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