Why Pretend Play Matters: Hands-on House Children's Museum | Still Playing School

Why Pretend Play Matters: Hands-on House Children's Museum

Play is way that children learn. Regardless of age or academic ability level, we value pretend play as a hands on way to explore our word and gather knowledge. The Hands-on House Children's Museum of Lancaster is our favorite local place to play and learn!

A teacher's tour of the Hands-on House Children's Museum in Lancaster

This is a sponsored post but, as always, all opinions and enthusiasm are 100% our own!

When the Hands-on House asked us to share with our readers what the museum has to offer we were thrilled! We already own a family membership because we love the Hands-on House so much! I'd love to show you a closer look at what I see at the Hands-on House as both a mom and a teacher.

As a parent or grandparent or caretaker experiencing the Hands-on House with your child, there is no doubt in my mind that you'll find hours of opportunities for creative play. Yet as a teacher what stands out to me most is the hidden gems that extend that learning just enough to engage children of all ages and ability levels. This self correcting puzzle above has always impressed me as a way for kids to work independently to learn the main ingredient in different products we use. 

There are many rooms to play in the Hands-on House. Our kids both love Marty's Machine Shop. Toddler D loves to experiment with engineering, gravity, and ramps while our older daughter E takes the time to read signs available to further engage the learning in the exhibits. Below she was challenged to use the materials to work on addition. I love knowing that both of our kids are learning on their level in the very same room of the museum due to the careful planning behind the scenes.

The Hands-on House also offers classes including Pop-in for Play. These themed opportunities to explore are available in a classroom and are included with admission. On the day we most recently visited they had a transportation theme set up. D loved stamping with truck tires and setting up miniature cities to drive his vehicles through! This is just another way the Hands-on House keeps the play engaging and exciting no matter how often you visit.

As I spoke with Sue Miller, the educational director behind the Hands-on House since it opened, it was clear how the museum has aligned with the current standards our children are learning in schools. Yet here are the Hands-on House kids have the opportunity to reach these academic goals through authentic play. In the Mostly Make-Believe dress up center children a sign reminds parents to discuss characters, setting, and plot as their children try on costumes and new roles.

I fell in love with the Hands-on House the first time I walked in years ago as a nanny before I had my own children because the educational philosophy aligns perfectly with my belief that children can and will learn the essential academics that they need in life best through play. No matter how old or at what level the learning, we can provide opportunities to engage and extend this play to reach all learning goals. Now I take my own family to the Hands-on House regularly as an important part of their play based education.

Why pretend play is important for kids of all ages

Have you visited the Hands-on House? What is your child's favorite part and yours? Please share in the comments below!

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  1. Sounds awesome! We are going to add it to our summer bucket list!