The way to discover new ways of creating art is by playing with art.
Art is a prime example of how children learn through play. Let your child be your guide as he or she develops self-confidence and a sense of individuality.
Continuous arts-related programming – with a new theme each month – occurs in The Elaine Wideman-Vaughn Program Room daily from 11am to 4pm.
What children learn: creative thinking, problem solving, decision making, and self-esteem.
Environment and Health
Fitness, proper nutrition and a sustainable environment are essential for busy bodies to play, learn and grow.
Families can hold wiggly worms, make seed balls for planting and don costumes for dramatic play in the Please Touch Garden. This 750-square-foot space adjacent to the museum’s outdoor café seating area is the perfect place to explore healthy eating, garden bugs, and outdoor fun.
All summer, children learn about growing and harvesting food, recycling, composting and sustainability. What’s more, the vegetables and herbs from the garden are incorporated into the Please Taste Café menu!
What children learn: health literacy, environmental literacy, creativity, innovation.
It is never too early to begin introducing the joy of books.
Join us for a Storytime or read a book on your own in one of the museum’s cozy reading spaces. Experience the magic of our Literary Mascot Storytime Meet and Greet programs where families can meet some of their favorite book characters including Clifford, Curious George, Olivia, Pete the Cat, and more. Our Storytimes feature a broad spectrum of books and authors, and often use props and songs to extend the reading experience. Literacy programming is accessible for kids at all developmental and ability levels.
What children learn: critical thinking, listening skills, sounds of language.
Music and Movement
Music and movement are universal languages that speak to all ages and cultures.
Our music and movement performances and programs allow children to experience a variety of styles and genres. Music and dance experiences occur throughout the museum in exhibit spaces, during monthly themed programs and in support of special events
What children learn: Gross motor skills, listening skills, creative expression, self-esteem
Ideal ways to teach STEM are to make things and explore nature.
Our programs use exploration to engage children and foster a love of science, technology, engineering and math.
- Our Maker Program provides creative do-it-yourself activities allowing children to design, experiment, build and tinker.
- Our Living Laboratory program features partnerships with area scientists to host research and related activities within the museum. Children visiting the museum have had the opportunity to participate in studies examining smell and language processing. Research partners have included Monell Chemical Sciences Center, the University of Pennsylvania, and Penn State Brandywine Campus.
What children learn: critical thinking, creativity, innovation, communication, collaboration, scientific numerical literacy, information literacy, media literacy.
We are the only year-round children’s theater in Philadelphia.
Please Touch Playhouse productions present meaningful opportunities for playful learning, imagination, innovation and audience interaction featuring music, movement, folklore and puppetry, all while introducing children to live arts. Each year we offer thousands of children their first theater experience.
Playhouse performances are free with museum admission and run approximately 25 minutes. Unless otherwise noted, performances are held:
- Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays at 11 a.m., 1 p.m. and 3 p.m.
- Sundays at 1 p.m. and 3 p.m.
Our theater comfortably seats 150 people on four carpeted seating tiers, with easy access to floor-level seating for wheelchairs and electric scooters.
The stage itself has a sprung wood floor and measures 24 feet wide by 13 feet deep. It also boasts a computerized light board, professional sound system and surrounding act curtain. The Playhouse is one of only two excavated spaces at Memorial Hall (the other being our collections storage space). Many of the Playhouse’s exposed walls are the original structural stone from 1876.
What children learn: creativity, innovation, communication, visual literacy.< CollectionsPlay Without Boundaries >