The Children’s Museum of Southern Minnesota has been committed to access for all since it was no more than an idea in a mom’s head. A place for all children to play, and as a result, learn and grow. We believe all ages benefit from time spent playing, specifically with us at the Museum! Which is why we’re excited to launch the Gateway to Baby Play Membership option!
WHAT IS GATEWAY TO BABY PLAY?
Children under the age of one have always received free admission into the Museum. We would like to expand that by inviting first-time parents with children under the age of one to join us for a Gateway to Baby Play Membership.
“Our hope is that by introducing the CMSM environment and staff to newborn and first-time families we will create a pathway of experiences and relationships by supporting parents in their parenting journey and encouraging play and exploration for the children who come to visit.”
–Kim Kleven, VP of Play & Learning, CMSM
With a goal of supporting families through the first year, the Gateway to Baby Play Memberships are available to families of newborns and first-time parents up to their child’s first birthday. This Membership includes free admission for two parents and their baby until their first birthday. Around the baby’s first birthday, this Membership will lapse and you may transition to another Membership level.
WHAT DO BABIES DO AT THE MUSEUM?
When you walk into our space and see literal construction equipment and a life-sized tree fort, you might not think of babies right away. But at the Museum, we offer not only programming and spaces for the littlest guests, but also a place for caregivers to connect, and a feast for the senses. Just watching “big kids” playing is helpful and enriching to young minds.
Top 5 Things To Do at CMSM with an Infant:
- Come to Baby Play! Every Tuesday from 10-11:30am, we offer dedicated programming for the birth-two age group. With a goal to support first-time parents and those who are caring for an infant, the Museum staff, and several early childhood expert volunteers team up to offer content specific to our birth-two age range. Although topics such as sleep, development, feeding, and parent-child bonding will be selected and promoted for each session, parent questions will often take center stage and steer the conversation to wherever it is most useful for families. Join us for a come-and-go format in our Infant and Toddler Play Porch. Special focus for the second and fourth Tuesdays of each month are:
- 2nd Tuesday: Lactation and feeding support
- 4th Tuesdays: Mayo Clinic Health System Family Medicine Providers on site
- Speaking of the Infant and Toddler Play Porch…you can visit it during all Museum hours! Our Infant & Toddler Play Porch is a quieter, fenced-in space, that allows infants to explore a new environment and see new faces. There is room for crawlers to challenge themselves (and their caregivers!), for tummy time, and much more!
- Nap! Imagine a baby has played, had a bottle or nursed, and is plain tuckered out. They fall fast asleep in their caregiver’s arms or sling or simply on the floor of the play porch. Now the caregiver gets to keep chatting with their new best friend whose baby has ALSO just fallen asleep. Connection with others is an excellent way to spend a morning.
- Explore the outdoors! No big backyard at home? Come use ours! The Dotson Back 40 has lots of activities for children, but let’s not forget it’s also just a beautiful grassy play area! When the weather is right, those baby toes love to feel grass for the first or fiftieth time.
- Observe, observe, observe. Holding your baby and walking around the Museum is a delight for baby’s senses. Following objects through the air at the wind tunnel or through the conveyor in the quarry is an important developmental milestone. You can even engage in art with them in Cecil’s Imagineering Loft! The light tables with the bright colors are truly fun for all ages.
We hope you will share this new program with all the first-time parents and caregivers you know, so we can keep building an environment for all. See you at the Museum!