August is here, and with it some extreme temperatures that have taken our daily adventures to air conditioned or watery places. One of our favorites is the Montshire Museum, not only because its ever-changing exhibits keep the whole family interested (praise the Lord), but also because its outdoor water play helps us beat this crazy summer heat. What my kids don’t know is that while they are there, having a blast, their brains get slightly reactivated from their summer slumber and the learning cobwebs get shaken off just a bit.
Something as simple as watching ping pong balls drift downriver, with various eddy pools and small elevation changes, is really fascinating for my kids. They love running to the beginning of the stream, cranking out a new ball, and watching the process over and over again, noticing how small changes have big consequences.
Em’s favorite part every year is tinkering with and assembling different sprinkler systems. This year she and Jax worked together to solve their problem. They actually worked cooperatively without fighting, probably because Em was on her own turf and who can complain when you’re “accidentally” soaking your sibling while having honest fun?
Little H loved going here for the first time as a two-year-old. Watching her experiment with cause and effect was particularly gratifying, with a little help from Em and Grammy. She was so content to pull and push levers to watch how the water level changed, and if she got big sister wet in the process, well, that was just a bonus.
Of course my kids can never go two hours without a significant meal, so after they had had their fill of water fun, it was time for lunch in the shade, away from the crowds where we could talk and maybe make some new itty bitty friends.
At this point, the kids had pretty much dried off, so Grammy and I managed to wrangle them inside for a different kind of fun. One of the things I love about museums is that they don’t even realize they are absorbing anything educational; they’re just having a great time.
Keeping cool (and smart!) is the only way to go this summer!