Play is a universal phenomenon. Through play, children learn about the ever changing world. 

By observing infants and toddlers, caregivers can see immense growth as children learn to use the same tools in different ways. The TotSpot bridge can be a child’s first encounter with a ramp, low incline slide, and pathway all in one. The slide for hatching hen eggs invite dropping and watching pretend eggs as they move through a maze. What may appear to be monotonous is actually repetition, critical to a child’s learning process. 

While a parent may be tempted to ask, “Did my child just play all day?” it is important to remember play is a child’s work. Brain research supports the importance of play during critical periods of brain growth during the preschool years. Our galleries, especially the early childhood gallery, TotSpot, support play for healthy development and learning.

For everyone's safety and enjoyment, this gallery has a limited capacity and is available on a first-come, first-serve basis.  

How to Guide Your Experience:

  • Observe your child. See which objects pique their curiosity and how they use them.
  • Demonstrate an activity utilizing the props in the play space.
  • Introduce new vocabulary.
  • Roleplay with older children using the community workspaces.

What You Learn:

  • Socialization skills
  • Gross motor skills of crawling, walking, climbing stairs
  • Counting and Sorting
  • Language skills
  • Role Play


Two girls playing inside a child-sized wooden digger.

Girls roleplay a job in the community using a digging machine. Other jobs our little visitors can roleplay are a postman or postwoman, lighthouse keeper or an LIRR conductor.

Where to Next?

Explore more of the Museum with toddler tips.

Continue the Fun at Home

When you are traveling around your neighborhood point out people working in your own community. When possible bring the kids on errands.  Keep the dialogue going on your next supermarket trip.