So, ever since Emmy was born, I have been promising myself that I would do my best to be one of those moms that would constantly engage my daughter in a vast array of interesting activities, i.e., day-long hikes through wooded mountains, trips to neon-lit metropolitan cities, journeys to discover what IS actually at the end of a rainbow, and of course LOTS of visits to local and not-so-local museums. I like to dream BIG. But then reality set in and I realized that ANY activity we play needs to work within the parameters of trying to establish a consistent nap schedule for our daughter, which basically means that we cannot do anything that lasts longer than 2 - 3 hours.
With New Year's looming and my resolution-mindset beginning to peak, I've decided to curtail my ambitions and find as many incredible mommy-daughter activities as I can that still allow Emmy to take her afternoon naps. Since her daddy now works on Saturdays, we have the whole day to ourselves, and ample time to try and find some fantastic kid-friendly fun in the area.
This past weekend, we went to the Albany Institute of History and Art. I had seen an advertisement for their temporary exhibition showcasing toys from the past, and was thrilled that it was labeled "hands on". I timed it so that Emmy and I would arrive just as the museum was opening, thus avoiding what I thought might be droves of like-minded parents and children itching to explore the museum on a late Saturday morning. Little did I know we had nothing to fear. We constituted two of the three people who were in the museum during the entire length of our visit. This definitely worked in our favor, as Emmy was able to be as "hands on" as she wanted to be, without having to share or wait on any lines (she's kind of weak in the "sharing" and "patience" departments). She was also able to talk loudly without me fearing she would be upsetting other museum-goers, and was able to roam the exhibition without me fearing her getting lost or abducted.
Emmy seemed to really enjoy the exhibition! She especially loved the Mr. Potato Head magnetic wall, which allowed her to put as many magnetic-sticker eyes, noses, teeth, etc. on the plain potatoes, celery, and carrots. I was pleased to see my daughter enjoys performing "make-overs" on vegetables, and her imaginative use of hats as chin-coverings.
She also enjoyed sending little match box cars down their race tracks, pushing buttons to make a ferris wheel turn, making a train go "choo choo", and lots of the other activities.
It was a really great day, and I felt like a good mommy for taking her to the museum. I left wishing the exhibit were permanent, so that I could return with Emmy as she develops over the coming years, to see how she engages in toys both old and new, and what peaks her interest most at different ages.
Thank you Albany Institute of History and Art!
P.S. We followed up the museum visit with a stop at TCBY yogurt, which is not a particularly culturally stimulating environment, but man does Emmy love their yogurt. :)
P.P.S Next stop - Albany's First Friday? Doubtful...