A silver lining to L being involved with our local early intervention (EI) program has been getting invited to special events specifically for special needs families. The latest event held was the Special Night for Special Needs at the Fredericksburg branch of the Children’s Museum of Richmond. It’s been on my bucket list to visit, so when our EI coordinator let us know about the Special Needs Night event I decided it would be a great chance to check it out.
Fredericksburg’s Museum is divided into different sections:
- Automotive Area
- Art Studio
- Dig Pit
- Town Square (Bank, Dentist Office, Grocery Store)
- Toddler Area (huge stuffed animals, board puzzles, and mats to walk on)
- Stage with dress up clothes
- Construction Site (construction worker costumes and tools to use)
I don’t know how crowded the museum gets on a normal basis, but it wasn’t too bad on this evening. We saw a lot of familiar faces among the EI specialists who were helping out for the event. Many of them commented on how well L was getting around. I couldn’t say more than “Hi! Thanks!” to them because L kept running from one exhibit to the next to try them all out. The boys explored all of the areas and rooms the museum offers, but they definitely gravitated to a few over and over again:
The Automotive Area includes a tire mountain to climb on, a station to make your own cars to race down a racetrack, and an actual car to explore (I caught many parents sitting in the passenger seat taking a breather while their kids pretended to drive). G loved making “tall” trucks with Duplo blocks the best:
L was really fascinated by the Magnet Wall, which introduces children to the Laws of Motion, even though many of them don’t realize it. He loved turning the wheel to watch the balls go up and come back down chutes, which could be re-arranged into different configurations.
Another favorite of L’s was the Dig Pit, which was in the middle of a huge pretend tire and filled with small pieces of rubber instead of sand. There were trucks and shovels for the kids to play with, and L liked using shovels to try and bury the trucks. I could tell he was interested in how the rubber bits felt since it wasn’t the same texture as the sand in our sand box.
G really loved the Sun Tubes exhibit. You shoved scarves and puffy balls into a box at one end and use a lever at the other end to suck them into the machine. The objects would fly through chutes and shoot out of one of two other holes. This was a really popular exhibit and was a test in patience, waiting and taking turns for everyone.
The Grocery Store was also a favorite of most of the children; there was a run on little shopping carts at one point! It had two check out lanes with cash registers and scanner that lit up and beeped when you ran objects over it.
The boys had such a blast that I’ve already marked the next Special Needs night on our calendar so we can go if L is still part of the program. Since Christmas has been on my mind, I bit the bullet and suggested a membership pass from my parents this year. The pass can be used at any of the Children’s Museum of Richmond locations, which is great because I’d love to visit the main one in Richmond (they have a carosel!).