This weekend at the Franklin Institute is a special opportunity to bring out the budding engineer in your child. Giant Tinker Toys, 16 times bigger than the original, are set out in a large play area for kids to build, experiment and most of all, use their imaginations.
Our family paid a visit to the Franklin Institute yesterday and the Tinker Toy exhibit was certainly the highlight of the trip. I watched children build everything from towers to tunnels, windmills to cars, and of course lots of abstract sculptures. There were plenty of bins around the perimeter of the playspace filled with different shapes and sizes of building pieces so that kids didn’t need to wait for a turn to play. We’ve always had tins of Tinker Toys in our house to play with, so my kids were delighted to experiment with a giant version of this classic toy.
The continuing exhibits at the Franklin Institute are also an endless source of fun for curious children. Whether they are learning about conducting electricity, launching a paper airplane through a wind tunnel, or exploring the giant heart, science has never been more enjoyable.
Despite the crowds on the Thanksgiving weekend, there are so many hands-on stations throughout the museum that little ones never had to wait long to play anything. On my first visit to the Franklin Institute, I was surprised at how much this is for even the younger kids to do. While they may not understand the science behind most exhibits they have plenty of opportunity to push buttons, create sounds, marvel at a giant locomotive, control flying machines, laugh in distorted mirrors and truly have fun while learning.
If you go, the Giant Tinker Toy exhibit is running through Sunday, November 28. Museum hours are from 9:30am – 5:00pm. We have a family membership, so tend to focus on just a few attractions each visit. However, if you wanted to explore the entire museum, you could easily spend the day there. Food is available for purchase at the cafeteria-style dining area, or you can pack your own and eat in the lunch room. The museum is stroller-friendly. Regular admission prices are $15.50 for an adult and $12 for children ages 4-11. Kids under 4 are free.
The Franklin Institute
222 North 20th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103