Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Saturday Morning Outing: Science and Tech with Toddlers?

"Mama, I don't want to listen to any boring talks!" proclaimed my five-year old, Rainman. "Mama, where's da popcorn?" asked my two year old, Red. Welcome to Saturday morning and my kids getting antsy just before Bill Nye the Science Guy gave his presentation at San Jose's Tech Museum of Innovation

Wrangling a two and five-year old by myself at a museum was not exactly what I had in mind for Saturday. This was supposed to be a family outing with Daddy solidly at the center of our group. Instead, he stayed home -- sidelined by the one-two punch of strep throat and pinkeye. 

After a week of Daddy being ill while my mother-in-law visited us from Canada and my own Dad's chronic illness took a turn for the worse, I was desperate for an outing. So I packed up the kids, remembered to pack some Goldfish to quell any whining or hunger pangs, and off we went. Despite the rocky start ("No, there's no popcorn here. It's not a movie." and "Don't worry, it will be fun!"), the kids and I loved our day. 

This was an event for SVMoms sponsored by a company that makes a green cleaning product called the ActiveIon Pro. The real lure for me was not the swag bag with science-y gifts for my kids and my own $300 water-based cleaning system (though that turned out to be an AMAZING perk), but the chance to see Bill Nye, the Science Guy. He was witty, smart and lively and managed to make all the science concepts he taught us about soap, fluid dynamics and how to make rings of air "poof" out of a modified garbage can fun. Rainman laughed at all of Nye's jokes and probably didn't get much of the science. Red sat on my lap and had a successful potty-training session at the museum (yay!). 

An unexpected highlight of the day turned out to be exploring the Tech Museum. I had only been there to see IMAX films and didn't realize how many interesting interactive exhibits they have. I would never have thought to take my preschoolers there (alone! while pottytraining!) but they had a ball and would have stayed all day. 

I walked away from the outing with three great takeaway lessons: 

1. Taking the kids on excursions by myself on a Saturday is not nearly as lonely or difficult when you have all your blogging friends there to play with. 

2. We should rent Bill Nye the Science Guy DVD's so my kids can continue learning and thinking science is fun. 

3. Giving my five-year old our new ActiveIon Pro and turning him loose to spray and wipe all the hard surfaces in our house (with magically electrified water and no cleaning chemicals) is his idea of a rocking good time. And any free child labor I can get to clean my house is just the icing on the cake!