So really, this would be the one blog I would rather do as only a photography blog. I apologize in advance if you are a reader and find yourself bored with this story, as it has very little humor… but it was a day that was very special to me, and I hope that one day Ben will find his way to these pictures and remember this day as fondly as I do….
Because I have a wonderful job, I often have Wednesdays off of work. I generally volunteer for a few hours each Wednesday in Jake’s classroom, then I try to spend the rest of my day one on one with Mr. Benjamin. Sometimes, Ben and I just play “Little People” upstairs in our playroom, and some days, we just cuddle and watch cartoons. But on this particular day, I decided I would like to do something special with him. So, I took Ben to the “Building For Kids”, otherwise known as Appleton’s Children’s Museum.
The Building for Kids is a most amazing place, even if you’re a full grown adult. Let’s face it, Ben’s mind at this age is filled with wonder and I could convince him that a glow stick from the dollar store and a dark room was full of magic. But even the most cynical mind would surrender and take in all that this museum has to offer. Though there are many, many, MANY different activities to enjoy here, let me steer away from the commercial ad here and back into my purpose of my blog…
Oh yes. My great day with Benjamin… Let me share with you the many things that Benjamin may be when he grows older… He tried on many hats on this particular day, both literally and figuratively. He also let me take about 50 really cute pictures, but below you will find only my favorites…
The very first thing you see when you walk into the Building for Kids is a large staircase that wraps around a giant tree house, which you can climb to get to the 2nd floor. Ben, of course, darted right for that, and we were climbed like monkeys to the second floor. Once we hit the second floor, Ben found the fire truck. We got him outfitted as a fire fighter, and he put out imaginary fires while I kept a look out for spotted dalmatians.
After we played firefighters for sometime, Ben went to the “Move it!” room. The “Move it!” Room is something straight out of a Dr. Suess book, from what i can tell. It is brightly colored, and the walls are covered in contraptions designed to teach the most basic machine concepts, like levers, ramps and pulleys, all connected to various PVC tubing systems. There are also hundreds of brightly colored ball pit/plastic type balls that fit into the various tubes. You can manipulate the different levers and pulleys to get the balls to take different routes through the tubes, until eventually all of the balls will collect in a large basin held near the ceiling. Every so often, that basin will open, raining tiny colorful plastic ball confetti, which is wildly exciting for the kids underneath at the time.Both of my kids enjoy the “Move it!” room, though on this day, Ben would return about every 7 minutes to do a new machine, until he had tried each path the balls could possibly travel along the machine system.
Ben then took turns alternating between painting and drawing in the art room, and learning about hydrolic power in the wet room. In the art room, there were several tables, each with a different type of paint and medium to paint on, and each with a smock to keep them clean. Ben created many shimmering paintings that day. To clean the paint off, Ben played in the wet room, where there were three big tables set up.The first table had baby sized high chairs, and babies could splash and play with the many rubber ducks floating. If they were big enough to hit the button next to them, they could see a simple fountain rise. The middle table was a similar set up to the first, though there was a fountain set up in the middle that you could swim the rubber ducks around in and plastic boats to float along. You had to stand next to the table, rather than sit in a high chair. The third table, designed for the bigger kids, was adorned with many water guns and hoses and levers to manipulate and watch how water flowed and pushed forward and things of that nature. The walls of the wet room were lined with rain coats of all sizes and shapes, and so we could get really inventive in our water play without fear of going home soaked.
Just outside of the wet room was an Evinrude boat motor, cut in half and behind glass to reveal the inner workings of the motor. When Ben pushed the simple button outside the glass display, he would rejoice at how this is what made “Grandpa Wayne’s boat go!!!” Ben was sure to study this motor each time he switched from the art room to the wet room and back.
Ben also spent a considerable amount of time building roads in a room filled with simple foam rubber shavings and Tonka trucks. Ben the Builder quickly went to work making roads and piles and creating a parking lot. This seemed so simple, yet Ben was completely enthralled when we walked into this room. This was the only room he was reluctant to play with me, and so I just sat back and enjoyed the show, as he made truck noises and talked construction.
I tried hard to get Ben to consider playing dress up in the big dress up room, or to play gas station in the city square… (Literally, there’s a room has a mini grocery store, gas station, doctor’s office, etc, with roads and small scooters to drive around within the city.) But Ben had found a better idea…
Ben feel in love with the airplane exhibit. He sat in the control tower and tracked storms. He figured out where the other planes in the skies were. He played pilot, co-pilot, steward and passenger on this plane. He pushed every button, sat in every seat, and turned on and off every light. He sang “High or low, fast or slow, up in the air and away we go…” over and over again.. (which is the song from his Little People airplane). He made crash landing sound effects. He gave me jobs to do also, so that I wouldn’t miss the fun.
Eventually, it was finally time to pick Jacob up from school. At the end of the day, I’m not quite sure who had more fun. Firefighter Ben, Captain Ben (of air or sea) or me. All in all, we had experienced many adventures, and it was a day that I’ll not soon forget.