Take an excursion to investigate the sights, sounds, and textures of city life.

Put on firefighting gear and hop aboard the full-sized fire truck to save the city. Help generate energy to make the plane fly overhead. Jump in the back of an ambulance and save a life.

From changing stop lights to power lines and power poles, unravel the complex systems that keep the modern world humming – from traffic control to city support services. Just be sure to wait for the green lights and use the crosswalks safely.

Explore a Child-friendly Version of a Working City

Children interact and explore what makes a city tick, observing how systems like stoplights and electrical power work and roleplaying as emergency responders such as firefighters and medics. Pretending allows children to transform life from how things really are to how they want them to be.

When children improvise together, they practice taking another’s perspective, cooperating as they share ideas and negotiating roles and material use. The treadle, for example, moves only when two or more people balance their movements with one another. Each time children repeat their role play, subtle variations occur, leading to endless opportunities to learn and expand their understanding of the world. By roleplaying with others, including adult caregivers, children develop problem solving strategies that translate from their imaginary play to settings in the real world.

Practice generating power by cranking gears, working a pulley, and turning a treadle. The harnessed power lights a playhouse and moves toy engines. This helps make connections about how electricity is generated, how it is distributed, and how it is ultimately converted to other forms of energy. By using people-power to generate electricity, children can appreciate how much work is needed to supply a small amount of power.

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