There are ongoing studies that show how daily movement can aid a child’s physical health and brain development. Regular activity is essential for physical and mental awareness, from memory retention and language development to decision-making and emotional regulation.
If you’re looking for ways to help keep your child active while learning this year, Canada has some of the best interactive museums to visit. Finding a facility that piques their interest while keeping them moving and engaged can help benefit kids on multiple levels of health and wellness. Plus, these museums are a lot of fun! Here are a few options for you to explore.
Alberta Sports Hall of Fame and Museum, Red Deer
The Alberta Sports Hall of Fame and Museum is home to over 16,000 artifacts that tell the story of sports history in the province. There are many permanent exhibits and changing featured displays that bring something new to explore throughout the year.
Not only will your child learn about the history of many sports in Alberta and across Canada, but they can also participate in some interactive games, including:
- Virtual basketball, baseball, football, soccer, and hockey with real equipment
- Treadmill climbing wall
- Golf putting
- Wheelchair racing
- Disc golf
- Ladder ball
- Larger-than-life Snakes and Ladders board game
The current featured exhibit is called “When Sports Stopped,” focusing on times in history when world events prevented playing sports. You and your child can learn how people worked through these situations, from the Spanish flu through the World Wars and up to the more recent COVID-19 pandemic.
The museum is open to the public seven days a week, closing at 5 p.m. There are hand sanitization stations throughout, and it’s recommended to keep six feet away from other visitors.
Telus World of Science, Edmonton
The Telus World of Science is more than just a science museum for kids. It partners interactive play and learning to keep your child active and engaged. It’s got something for kids of any age!
Some of the more intriguing exhibits include:
- Nature Exchange Scavenger Hunt
- Health Gallery
- Science Garage
There’s ongoing construction as the Telus World of Science expands to bring even more education and movement to your children. Periodic displays are open to the public and offer virtual and physical outreach programs until the upgrading is complete.
The museum is open Wednesday to Sunday with limited capacity due to COVID-19 restrictions.
Creative Kids Museum, Calgary
The Creative Kids Museum is located within the Telus Spark Science Centre in Calgary, and it’s ideal for children 0 to 8 years old. The over 10,000 square feet of space will help engage your child’s mind and body as they learn through activity.
The many STEM exhibits help build functional brain and body movement through water play, climbing structures, activity tables, and more. In addition, as part of the Telus Spark Science Centre, there’s an accessible year-round outdoor playground to burn off that excess energy.
The museum is open seven days a week with varying hours. Masks are strongly recommended but not mandatory. There are increased handwashing stations and sanitizer on-site.
Science World, Vancouver
Science World brings the wonders of science and technology to your child through many interactive indoor and outdoor exhibits, live demonstrations, and feature exhibitions. Igniting curiosity and promoting imaginative exploration, Science World helps children grow through active learning.
Enhance your child’s cognitive development with the Living Lab exhibit, or allow them the opportunity to explore lights, water, and sound through the Eureka! Energy gallery. Here they can dance on drums, launch parachutes, or make music with their hand movements.
Science World is open seven days a week, with timed entry visits to ensure limited capacity for provincial health restrictions. Masks are mandatory for all visitors, and everyone is encouraged to follow proper social distancing guidelines.
Nutrien Wonderhub, Saskatoon
The Wonderhub helps bridge the gap between educational learning and hands-on play as Saskatchewan’s children’s museum. This not-for-profit is located in Saskatoon, giving residents and visitors of all ages and abilities the chance to learn and explore the world around them.
Focusing on creativity and innovation for the on-site exhibits, programming, and outreach activities, Wonderhub provides a safe space for everyone to play and use independent discovery. It helps children and adults alike celebrate Saskatchewan’s arts, science, technology, and cultural fabrics.
The Wonderhub is open Tuesday to Sunday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on a first-come, first-serve basis due to COVID-19. It’s strongly recommended that children under 12 wear masks. All visitors must fill out a waiver for contact tracing. There are increased handwashing and sanitization stations in place.
Children’s Museum, Winnipeg
Unlike other museums, the Children’s Museum focuses on providing 12 exciting and interactive exhibits that your child can touch and explore for creative learning. The innovative environments—including a Splash Lab, Tumble Zone, Tot Spot, and more—encourage hands-on play to boost creative knowledge.
All of the museum’s permanent exhibits include a Partners in Play prompt to encourage your child’s learning experience. Let your child use their imagination while actively exploring the world around them.
As per provincial health guidelines, there are temporary restrictive hours to ensure enough time for proper cleaning. You can visit the Children’s Museum from Friday to Sunday, between 9:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m.
London Children’s Museum, London
The London Children’s Museum helps provide a hands-on learning environment for over 88,000 children each year in its child-centred environment. With stimulating exhibits and extensive learning experiences, your child can explore the beauty in art and culture, the complexities of science and social relationships, and history and heritage.
It houses three floors of interactive and intriguing exhibits specifically with your child’s learning in mind. The museum is continuously updating and improving the quality of their hands-on exhibits to provide the best educational resources for active children.
It’s open with reduced hours throughout the week, following provincial health guidelines, and visitors must book their trips in advance. Masks are mandatory for visitors over the age of two. In addition, there are increased hand sanitization stations at each exhibit.
Science East, Fredericton
Much more than a science centre, Science East encourages interactive play learning with more than 150 hands-on science-based interactive exhibits. The meaningful and engaging workshops, programs, and presentations help inspire learning through activity in children of all ages and abilities.
Science East houses Canada’s only outdoor science playground, giving active children a chance to learn through movement. They can explore the climbing wall, water exhibits, the human gyroscope, and more. By including innovative activities, Science East helps provide the next generation with skills they need, including problem-solving, critical thinking, and creativity.
The centre is open Tuesday to Saturday with varying hours. Visitors over the age of two years old must wear a mask. In addition, it’s recommended that visitors follow social-distancing guidelines.
Johnson GEO Centre, St. John’s
The Johnson GEO Centre is a terrific place to bring your child and learn everything you can about the world around them. Focusing on the importance of local geology and fostering curiosity in the world, your child can actively work through the permanent and travelling exhibits and hands-on programs.
By engaging your child with 14 fun, interactive learning experiences, the Johnson GEO Center fosters a love of science and exploration. From the solar system to the Gardens of the Deep and everything in between, you and your child will find a host of active learning opportunities.
The centre is open from May to December with limited capacity Wednesday to Sunday between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. In July and August, it’s open seven days per week, and from January to April, by appointment only. All visitors are to wear masks and social distance.
Discovery Centre, Halifax
The Discovery Centre is home to numerous interactive and innovative learning experiences for children. Your child can experience first-hand how the human body works, the forces of flight, dive deep into the ocean, and explore how energy helps the world around them.
The centre also houses the RBC Someday Street immersive exhibit, specifically for toddlers and young children to explore. Your child can actively learn about their five senses, building and construction, and more with various interactive settings. Parents can jump in and join the fun or sit back and watch their child’s imagination grow.
The Discovery Centre is open Wednesday to Sunday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., and closed for lunch between 12 and 1 p.m. You must book a time slot to ensure all provincial health regulations around capacity are followed. Masks are mandatory, and there are increased hand sanitization stations throughout the building.
Take some time this year and find an interactive museum near you to foster a love of learning with activity in your child.