New Toddler Town is Just Right for Little Learners

Toddler Town is Just Right for Little Learners

Let’s face it - the world is designed for adults. Whether it’s using a step stool to wash their hands or sitting in chairs that require booster seats, toddlers typically interact with a world that is either "too hot" or "too cold."

Welcome to Toddler Town - an immersive play environment designed just for toddlers. When they step into Toddler Town, children get to experience a world that fits them just right.

Toddler Town, now officially open at the Discovery Center, was built with support from the Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas Foundation, Vaughn Pediatric Dentistry, Security Benefit and private donors.

Experience Toddler Town

Discovery and creativity are at the heart of Toddler Town. Elevate a game of house by stepping into the Nook - a tiny house perfect for imaginative role-playing. Listen for the doorbell to greet friends and family. Hear the bells chiming outside the open window. Sit at the picnic table and practice the fine motor skills involved in sliding the knobs on the tabletop.

Just down the road stands the Loft, known for the best views in town. Climb the stairs to the top to see Toddler Town from above, play a game of Find-It, or zip down the slide. Crawl through the tunnel to discover the lower level lookout.

Visit the music corner to make a melody on the metallophone or build your own beats on the drums. To practice your balance or go for a spin, stop at the Boddle Rider and the Saddle Spinner just down the way.

As you travel the roads of Toddler Town, you will find opportunities to make music, move your body, practice communication with others, and step into your imagination.

Play and the Scientific Process

During play, children naturally engage in the foundations of the scientific process. Observation is the first step in that process. Children use the sensory input they receive from their environment to make observations.

In Toddler Town, each structure is designed to provide a variety of sensory experiences. Vestibular input is gathered when spinning on the Saddle Spinner or rocking on the Boddle Rider. Tactile and visual input are collected while exploring the twisting gears or spinning leaves. Auditory input is received through the beating of drums or chiming of the metallophone. All of these sensory experiences teach children to be natural observers of the world around them.

These observations lead children to take the next steps in the scientific process - asking questions and forming hypotheses. Toddler Town provides a developmentally-appropriate space for toddlers to engage in experimentation prompted by their curiosities. What happens when a gear is twisted? How does sound travel through one end of the talk tube to the other? How much force does it take to push a sliding knob? These are the types of questions that guide discovery in Toddler Town.

Supporting Discovery

Learning opportunities are built into each and every structure in Toddler Town. Many of these features are intended to spark natural curiosity about concepts such as counting, telling time, recognizing shapes, the letters of the alphabet, and even color theory. Adults can support discovery by embracing the sense of wonder that Toddler Town fosters.

  • Make space for curiosity by asking, "Which part would you like to explore first?"
  • Immerse yourself in the role-playing scenario and take cues from your child on how they want you to participate: Ring the doorbell as a visitor to their house. Collect mail as they act the part of the mailman. Play the metallophone as they conduct their very own symphony.
  • Introduce descriptive ways to make observations: What colors, shapes, patterns, etc., do you see? What sounds do you hear?
  • Ask "What if" questions to facilitate the scientific process. What would happen if we slide this knob? What if we talk through this tube? Make a hypothesis, then test it!

Thank you to Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas Foundation, Bartlett & West, Vaughn Pediatric Dentistry, Security Benefit and private donors for making Toddler Town an amazing experience for families!