Every time of year is a good time of year to get started as a member at the Children’s Museum of Southern Minnesota, but right now, families are wondering what to give their kids, grandkids, nieces, nephews, and other children in their lives for the holidays. You see the suggestion over and over again in gift guides and on social media: “Give an experience gift! Kids have enough ‘stuff’ in their homes already!” We want to provide an experience for your family ALL YEAR! (Though we don’t want to knock other gifts; have you looked at the handmade offerings in our small gift shop area in the lobby lately?
What are you giving the children in your lives when you gift them a membership to the Museum? You’re giving them the POWER OF PLAY! A gift membership means:
The Museum is a place where members extend their communities. Our members–even those who only come a few times a year–find themselves “at home” here. While we offer different exhibits, both big and small, throughout the years, we also have spaces and activities that don’t change. Children recognize and engage with our Playworkers; they find they have favorite spaces; and they love to show off “their” Museum to visiting family and friends. Children’s sense of place contributes to their sense of identity and belonging. We think our mission and activities add a lot of positive qualities to that development.
We are open in many different ways. First and most obviously, we are open six days a week! Closed only on Mondays, we offer times that we hope work for every family at least once a week. Second, our space is wide open, which allows collaboration between exhibits, enhancing child engagement; it also makes keeping an eye on children easier. Finally, we are open to all families. Our commitment to serving the community means all families are welcome. Check out our Gateway to Play program to learn more.
Sooner than we’d like, the temperatures will drop below zero and children’s activity levels go down. A membership to the Museum means always having a place to come and play, no matter how frightful the weather outside might be. We are going to keep our outside play area open this year (within limits), but it will always be warm and cozy on the inside. Or cool and comfy in the summer months! Your CMSM membership is good for one whole year!
Learning through doing is what the power of play is all about. There are never enough words to express just how strong the experiences of play impact children. Whether they are creating art in Cecil’s Imagineering Loft, building towers as high as they can in Coughlan Quarry, or climbing to the top of the Mankato Clinic Tree of Forts for the first time, children are learning what they are capable of. The encouragement of family and Museum staff offers them a safe space to experiment in their abilities. And sometimes, pop-up classes and exhibits are directly teaching them things they (and maybe you!) didn’t know before.
We aim to serve the community as a resource for families, and that includes a lot of things. We offer SNAP nights three times a year for families with special needs. We serve school groups and tours. We offer resources for local businesses to get involved. We offer special prices and program days for military families. The Museum takes pride in all the ways we are a resource for families of all kinds.
The gift of membership is an opportunity for your family to create new traditions together. Moreover, the opportunities to try new things are endless at the Museum. We love being a place where families can experiment in ways they simply can’t at home. Not everyone has access to a Mud Kitchen or a plexiglass wall for painting. We offer the opportunity to do things your children have only dreamed of.
Play is fun. Full stop. It just is! Fun is a core principle of the definition of play the Museum uses:
“Play is a way that children and adults explore and interact with the world: with the environment, others, materials, imagination, and ideas. It develops interests, builds relationships, and supports life-long skills. Play takes many forms; imaginative, physical, constructive, and social play, which often occur together. An activity that all children engage in, play is critical to healthy development and well-being. Play is child-led, intrinsically-motivated, and enjoyable.”
Membership at the Museum includes daily admission whenever it suits you, but it also means lots of discounts and offerings:
- $2 off regular admission for Guests
- 10% discount on Gift Shop purchases
- 20% discount on Birthday Parties
- Museum eNewsletter subscription
- Access to Member-only events & promotions (including a discount on the upcoming Gingerbread House Workshops!)
Whether you attend the Museum with your kids, grandkids, distant relatives, school groups, play dates, or the people you meet walking in the front entrance, there will always be a moment worth remembering at each visit. Children improvising their first production on the Lauri Kuch Memorial Stage; siblings getting along for the first time all week while constructing together in Dig It!; or simply sitting and watching children work together to harvest, cook, and serve in the Grow It Gallery. The memories are waiting to be made!
Every day at the Museum is fun, but the special activities planned throughout the year are sometimes extra exciting. We offer seasonal activities, regular weekly activities, and occasional events. Check out the calendar to learn all about them.
In case you didn’t know, children must be supervised in the Museum. And while that’s safe for everyone, it also means when you get the children in your life a membership to the CMSM, you are literally giving them time with you (or the other amazing grown-ups in their lives). All of the ways to enjoy the POWER OF PLAY above are enjoyed together. And we think that’s priceless.