Toddler & Preschooler Program

Bring your toddler or preschooler to the Museum on Saturdays to participate in activities and traditions associated with different cultural heritages.

Activities will vary each week. Please check the calendar for specific program details.  Many activities will be outdoors, so please dress accordingly.

Museum admission is included, so feel free to enjoy the Museum’s exhibits after the program concludes.

Advance Registration is Required: Space is limited. Please call our Welcome Center at 540-332-7850 to secure your child’s space in each Saturday program.  Registration is FREE for Annual Pass Holders.

Date:  Saturday Mornings
Session Times:  10:00 am & 11:00 am
Ages:  2-5 Years Old (a parent must accompany each child)
Program Structure:  30 – 45 minutes of structured activity. Weather permitting, we will utilize the Museum’s exhibits.
Location:  Meet and sign in at the Museum’s Welcome Center.
Cost:  $5 per child (no charge for parent); FREE to annual pass holders

If you plan to come often, we recommend purchasing a “Family Annual Pass“.

2018 Schedule. .

  • June 30: Independence Day and Toddler Garden (1850s American Farm).  In the 1800’s, toys were often homemade with leftover materials. Come to the 1850’s American Farm to make a patriotic pinwheel. Enjoy playing with toys and games out in the front yard of our farmhouse. After creating your pinwheel, venture to the toddler garden to see how big the plants have grown.
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  • August 4: Gardening and Toddler Garden (Ganatastwi – Native American Site).  Growing corn, beans, and squash was a vital part of surviving for the Native Americans. Taking care of growing plants is hard work! There is weeding, watering, and composting to be done on our Native American Exhibit. After helping us in our garden, we will help you work in the toddler garden.
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  • August 18: Fieldwork and Toddler Garden (1740s American Settlement).  Gardens aren’t the only place to grow food in the summer! Fields are just as important and have many more plants growing in them. It is important to check on the field crops to water and compost them as well. After visiting our 1740’s settlement site, we will travel to work in the toddler garden to see how many different plants are growing.
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  • September 15: Games From All Over The World and Toddler Garden (Field between Ireland and Germany).  What is a better way to celebrate family and friends than to play games? There isn’t one! Come join museum staff as we play games from England, Ireland, Germany, West Africa, and Early America. Be sure to have your running shoes on.
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  • October 6: Storytelling (Oktoberfest) and Toddler Garden (German Farm).  One form of entertainment for children and adults is telling stories. Join Museum staff on a day of celebration to listen to stories from long ago. It’s almost time to harvest the plants in the toddler garden; some might even be ready today! Let’s all work together to harvest what is ready in the garden.
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  • October 27: Folklore, Games & Treats (Old World Trick or Treating).  It’s Halloween at the museum! Come wearing your favorite costume and carrying your trick-or-treat bag or bucket. Walk around the Old World and trick-or-treat at each of the farms while learning a little bit about how they might have celebrated the holiday.
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  • November 24: Basket Making (Ganatastwi – Native American Site).  Native Americans wove baskets that could be used to gather and store food. In the fall, they would be harvesting squash, corn, and pumpkins. Toddlers will weave a paper basket and then go harvest some pumpkins and squash.
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Prior Activities

  • January 6: Drumming & Dancing (West African Farm). Drumming and dancing was a way to celebrate in many West African villages. Different dance moves represented various aspects of daily life.  Toddlers will perform a variety of dance moves, following instruction from an interpreter. Toddlers will explore playing new instruments including different types of drums.
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  • January 13: Making Egg Noodles (German Farm). Eggs are a good source of protein. Long ago, people used eggs to make noodles as a way to get protein in their diet. Making noodles and then drying them was also a good way to keep food from going bad.  Toddlers will make egg noodles with direction from interpreters. They will explore different food groups, and work with each other, sharing materials to create a final product.
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  • January 20: Clothing & Fashion (1820’s American Farm). Clothing is a basic need. Oftentimes, families would choose to make their clothing instead of buying it. Clothing looks different today but still serves the same purpose. Toddlers will explore fashion from the 1700’s and 1800’s. They will learn differences between Old World and American fashion, and will role play making decisions regarding making clothes versus buying clothes.
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  • January 27: Games in Daily Life (Native American Site). Games helped children to learn teamwork and skills that they would need as adults. Hand-eye coordination was important for hunters and warriors to be successful. Toddlers will learn how to play various Native American games.
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  • February 3 – Making Cheese Fritters (English Farm). Do you ever wonder what people ate during the 1630’s? The dairy industry was an important part of daily life for English women. Making cheese fritters was a way to cook with cheese.
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  • February 10 – Storytelling (Irish Farm). Storytelling was a way to pass down information from one generation to the next, but also a way to entertain children. Visit our Irish farm to listen to some stories that would have been told to people of various ages.
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  • February 17 – Preparing he Gardens for Spring Planting (1740’s Settlement). Planting season is right around the corner. We need all the help we can get to prepare the gardens for spring planting. Toddlers will help prepare garden beds and learn about the different plants growing on the frontier.
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  • February 24 – Decorating with Adinkra (West African Farm). Adinkra is a West African art form that uses symbols to represent items from daily life. It was traditionally made when someone was leaving the village. Toddlers will create their own Adinkra pattern using paint and construction paper.
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  • March 3:  Pottery (Native American Site*).  Pottery was used for a variety of purposes including food and water storage, cooking, and decorative uses. Come and learn how to make a basic type of pot called a pinch pot. You will get to design and take home your own pinch pot.  *Rain location is the education room.
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  • March 10:  Making Quark / Soft Cheese (German Farm). Cheese is one product that can be made from milk. Dairying in Germany was an important part of daily life. Quark is a soft cheese that can be made easily. Our staff will help you make quark cheese on our German Farm.   *This will take place on the German farm regardless of weather.
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  • March 17:  Planting Potatoes and Toddler Garden (Ireland).  Potatoes were a staple crop in Ireland a long time ago. In the early 1700’s they were even used as livestock feed. Come help us plant out potatoes and plant some plants in a garden set-up just for participants in our toddler program.
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  • March 24:  Life Cycle of a Chick  (1740’s American Settlement).  Baby chicks are cute and make such sweet cheep cheeps. Toddlers will learn about the life cycle of a chick from egg to full grown chicken. After making a life cycle chain, we will travel to the 1740’s settlement farm to visit with our chicken friends.
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  • March 31: Dyeing Easter Eggs and Toddler Garden (1820s American Farm).  Come join us for some Easter fun on the 1820’s American Farm!  We will be dyeing eggs with onion skins. We will also check on the plants that we started for our garden. Making sure our plants have enough water and light is important to help them grow.
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  • April 28: Lambs and Wool Processing (English Farm). Selling wool from sheep was one way to make money a long time ago in England. Come meet our lambs and discover how to get wool ready to be spun into yarn. There will even be a sheep getting a giant haircut!
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  • May 26: Climate and Weather (West African Farm) Even though it’s hard to picture it, our West African compound is in a rainforest climate zone. To help create that image, we are going to make rainforest vines. Toddlers will listen to a story and craft a rainforest vine that they can take home.
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