I'm Lindsay Ferrier, a Nashville writer with a passion for family travel, exploring Tennessee, and raising kids without losing my mind in the process. This is where I share my discoveries, along with occasional deep thoughts, pop culture tangents and a sprinkling of snark. Want to get in touch? Use the CONTACT form at the top of the page.
July 22, 2011
Like me, many of you have entered that uncomfortable time of summer when it’s really too hot to take the kids outside.
My 4 and 7-year-olds tend to wilt quickly in hot weather, which means I’ve had to come up with some good indoor solutions to keep them occupied- and to keep me from going insane!
Many towns have interactive children’s museums- I had always read about events going on at the Discovery Center in Murfreesboro, but since it’s almost 45 minutes away from us in Nashville, I had never bothered to check it out. HUGE MISTAKE.
Those of you who live in the area or are thinking about visiting must check out this post- And for those of you who don’t live nearby, don’t worry! While we were there, the kids did the COOLEST craft that 1) uses things you almost definitely have in your home already and 2) they haven’t stopped playing with since they made them nearly a week ago. I’m going to show you how to make it!
For those of you who’ve never been to the Discovery Center, it has to be one of the best indoor playcenters ever. We got there with the kids and they immediately got busy playing — and didn’t stop until they were forced to leave hours later at closing time!
Best of all, every single activity is educational, and it’s so fun that they don’t even realize that they’re learning. Check it out:
Bruiser started things off on a real-life fire truck. He didn’t choose to wear a costume, but real firemen’s hats, coats and boots were available for dress-up play. Plexiglass around the top of the truck and the driver’s seat keep kids from falling out.
Her favorite part was choosing a boat (available in “boy” colors and “girl” colors”) and navigating it through the system. Waterproof smocks were available to keep kids from getting wet. Mine chose to wear them just because it was fun!
Meanwhile, Bruiser checked out the turtle aquarium and had us read facts to him about the turtles and fish inside. Small animals are in cages and aquariums throughout the Discovery Center, giving kids the chance to see them up close.
Bruiser spent some time in the child-sized grocery store, “shopping.” What really got his attention, though, was this real-life conveyor belt at the cash register.
Bruiser went upstairs to the mechanics’ station, one of our favorite parts of the Discovery Center. Here, kids can choose from one of several work orders and repair the toy car, whether they get underneath and change the muffler…
Next, both kids got aboard an old-timey automobile. Fighting over who would get the drivers seat ensued. *sigh*
Fortunately, at that point it was time for one of several nature programs the Center schedules throughout the day. A guide took the kids outside to a manmade pond (which is only a few inches deep and perfect for small children to play around), gave the kids nets, and had them catch tadpoles and minnows.
The kids began by decorating a CD with their Sharpies.
Once they were done, an assistant hot-glued a marble to the hole in the center of the CD, on the underside. Then, she glued the cap to the top of the center, to make a handle.
Great craft idea, huh?
We ended the day in Tiny Town, a little village of shops and offices. Punky put on a post office smock and really got into delivering mail to all the shops. The post office had tons of wooden “letters,” each addressed to a different business in Tiny Town, and a letter box outside each business. Fun!
This is not even half of what the Discovery Center has to offer. We are definitely going to go back- particularly when the weather gets cooler and we can walk on the trail outside and visit the playground. In the meantime, though, it is an excellent place to take the kids (and a good book!) when it’s hot outside.
Admission is $6 for adults and kids and children under two are free.
How are you entertaining the kids in this hot weather?