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Exploring the Matatu in Kenya’s Kids

Exploring the Matatu in Kenya's Kids

Kenya’s Kids, open until January 4, 2020 at the Discovery Center, is a collaborative effort designed to recreate some of the lived experiences of children living in Kenya today by emphasizing both the longtime cultural traditions of the country and its modern technological advances. The exhibit is divided into five different environments that replicate some of the common places children see and experience in Kenya. Each space provides activities and hands-on learning that encourage visitors to use their imagination and to ask questions in order to gain a better understanding of life and culture in Kenya today.

A Matatu By Jociku - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=40493613

What is a matatu?

Since most people do not own their own vehicles in Kenya, matatus are a popular means of public transportation. Matatus transport people and goods from one place to another and are known for their varying designs and loud music.

What can kids do at the matatu in Kenya's Kids?

  • Take a pretend ride on the Matatu on your way to the school, the duka and back home again!
  • Listen to music and take in the view from the streets of Nairobi.
  • Pretend to be the driver and barter the fare.

What can kids learn at the matatu?

  • Matatus are an important form of transportation that families rely on to get around.
  • Bargaining is also common here on a matatu where the price of the ride will vary on a number of factors including distance, weather, and occupancy.
  • Although Kenya has been an independent country for over 50 years, evidence of British colonialism is present in transportation around Kenya as all vehicles drive on the left side of the road.

Kenya’s Kids is part of a cultural exhibit series created by The Magic House, St. Louis Children’s Museum with a goal of introducing children to cultures from around the world. This immersive exhibit is designed for children 3 to 12 years and was created in partnership with the St. Louis Kenyan community. Kenya’s Kids is generously made possible by the Crawford Taylor Foundation and The Dana Brown Charitable Trust, U.S. Bank Trustee. Locally sponsored by the Redbud Foundation, Kenya’s Kids will be on display at The Kansas Children’s Discovery Center from September 13, 2019 to January 4, 2020 and is included in regular admission.