Toddler Book Club: Dragons and Friends
Readings of classic children’s tales at 10:30 a.m., 11:30 a.m., and 12:30 p.m. followed by music and movement activities. This month: Dragons and Friends. Included with general museum admission fees.
At the National Museum of Play® at The Strong, students and educators alike have fun while learning amid dynamic, hands-on exhibits and world-renowned collections.
Programs for students and educators
The museum's play-based programs encourage learning, creativity, and discovery:
- Woodbury Preschool
- Enriching school lessons for students in pre-K through grade 12
- Professional development opportunities for pre- and in-service teachers, administrators, and parents
- Customizable programs for students with special needs
- Educational opportunities for homeschooled students
Play sharpens minds and boosts creativity. It helps people grow and keeps them healthy. When children play, they learn to solve problems, make decisions, express ideas, and recognize boundaries. Children who play do better in school and become more successful adults. Learn more
The National Museum of Play is situated at The Strong, a highly interactive, collections-based educational institution devoted to the study and exploration of play. The Strong offers play resources such as studies and reports, book reviews, links, and play quotes on its website; provides insights about play and artifacts of play in its blogs; and publishes material in its scholarly quarterly, the American Journal of Play, that synthesizes and puts into perspective major themes of play scholarship, new and emerging areas of play research, and more.
Keep up-to-date on The Strong’s education offerings, articles, and analyses connecting play and education. Sign up for the museum’s free educator e-newsletter.
The Grada Hopeman Gelser Library
The National Museum of Play is one of only a handful of museums in the nation to have a special public library partnership. Our child-focused library is a mini-branch of the Rochester Public Library. Teachers and students (who have Monroe County Library cards) are welcome to check out books for classroom use and return them to any public library branch in the system.
Fun & Games
Things to See & Do
You’re never too big for this much fun! With more than 150,000 square feet of dynamic interactive exhibit space; the world’s largest collection of toys, dolls, games, and other items that celebrate play; a wide range of programs and activities; and family-friendly amenities, the National Museum of Play® provides educational, entertaining, and unforgettable intergenerational fun.
Spend a few hours or an entire day!
The National Museum of Play is recognized as one of the nation’s most engaging museums for families and children:
- Stroll among the butterflies in Dancing Wings Butterfly Garden or take a walk through the outdoor Discovery Garden.
- Step onto Sesame Street, journey Down a Sunny Dirt Road with the Berenstain Bears®, and follow the Yellow Brick Road into Reading Adventureland—a life-size pop-up book.
- Grab a cape and leap into the world of American Comic Book Heroes, shop until you drop at Wegmans Super Kids Market, and challenge your perspective on play at the Field of Play.
- Sing, dance, explore, create, and discover at programs and events designed by museum educators.
- Discover the thousands of playthings on display from the museum’s world-class collections, including the iconic toys of the National Toy Hall of Fame.
- Marvel at a 1,700-gallon coral reef aquarium—one of the largest living aquarium reefs in the Northeast.
- Hop aboard the Strong Express Train or take a spin on the Elaine Wilson Carousel.
- Check out a book or get your first library card at the Grada Hopeman Gelser Library desk.
The National Museum of Play® offers a wide range of educational programs for students in pre-K through grade 12 amid dynamic, hands-on exhibits and world-renowned collections. The museum also offers Theme Day and Monday Kicks programs, and an annual Advanced Placement History Conference.
Make reservations by calling 585-263-2700.
Keep up-to-date on The Strong’s education offerings, articles, and analyses connecting play and education. Sign up for the museum’s educator e-newsletter.
All National Museum of Play® experiences reflect the many ways students learn. The Theory of Multiple Intelligences describes eight intelligences (featured below) that we all have and use in various combinations to know, understand, and learn about our world.
In his book, Multiple Intelligences in the Classroom, Thomas Armstrong describes the eight intelligences this way:
Linguistic Intelligence: The ability to use words effectively, whether orally (e.g., as a storyteller, orator, or politician) or in writing (e.g., as a poet, playwright, editor, or journalist). Logical-Mathematical Intelligence: The ability to use numbers effectively (e.g., as a mathematician, tax accountant, or statistician) and to reason well (e.g., as a scientist, computer programmer, or logician). Spatial Intelligence: The ability to perceive the visual-spatial world accurately (e.g., as a hunter, scout, or guide) and to perform transformations upon those perceptions (e.g., as an interior decorator, architect, artist, or inventor). Bodily-Kinesthetic Intelligence: Expertise in using one's whole body to express ideas and feelings (e.g., as an actor, a mime, an athlete, or a dancer) and facility in using one's hands to produce or transform things (e.g., as a craftsperson, sculptor, mechanic, or surgeon). Musical Intelligence: The capacity to perceive (e.g., as a music aficionado), discriminate (e.g., as a music critic), transform (e.g., as a composer), and express (e.g., as a performer) musical forms. Interpersonal Intelligence: The ability to perceive and make distinctions in the moods, intentions, motivations, and feelings of other people. Intrapersonal Intelligence: Self-knowledge and the ability to act adaptively on the basis of that knowledge. Naturalistic Intelligence: The ability to easily recognize and classify plants, animals, and other things in nature.
Key Points in Multiple Intelligences Theory
Beyond the descriptions of the eight intelligences and their theoretical underpinnings, certain points of the model are important to remember:
- Each person possesses all eight intelligences. Of course, the intelligences function together in ways unique to each person. Most people fall somewhere in between two poles—being highly developed in some intelligences, modestly developed in others, and relatively underdeveloped in the rest.
- Most people can develop each intelligence to an adequate level of competency. Although an individual may complain about his deficiencies in a given area and consider his problems innate and intractable, Howard Gardner suggests that virtually everyone has the capacity to develop all eight intelligences to a reasonably high level of performance if given the appropriate encouragement, enrichment, and instruction.
- Intelligences usually work together in complex ways. Gardner points out that no intelligence exists by itself in life (except perhaps in very rare instances in savants and brain-injured individuals). Intelligences are always interacting with each other. To cook a meal, one must read the recipe (linguistic), possibly divide the recipe in half (logical-mathematical), develop a menu that satisfies all members of a family (interpersonal), and placate one's own appetite as well (intrapersonal). Similarly, when a child plays a game of kickball, he needs bodily-kinesthetic intelligence (to run, kick, and catch), spatial intelligence (to orient himself to the playing field and to anticipate the trajectories of flying balls), and linguistic and interpersonal intelligences (to successfully argue a point during a dispute in the game).
- There are many ways to be intelligent within each category. A person may not be able to read, yet be highly linguistic because he can tell a terrific story or has a large oral vocabulary. Similarly, a person may be quite awkward on the playing field, yet possess superior bodily-kinesthetic intelligence when she weaves a carpet or creates an inlaid chess table. The Theory of Multiple Intelligences emphasizes the rich diversity of ways in which people show their gifts within intelligences as well as between intelligences.
Thomas Armstrong, Multiple Intelligences in the Classroom
Plan Your School Visit
Educational experiences at the National Museum of Play® are available for students in pre-K through grade 12. See individual lesson descriptions or Theme Day options for specific dates and times. School visits to the museum are by reservation only.
Call 585-263-2700 Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m.–4:30 p.m. to register or inquire about your school visit.
- Funding assistance
- Adult chaperons required
- Lunch reservations
- Before your trip
- Museum guidelines
- Special needs
- Homeschool students
- In case of emergency
Students in pre-K through grade 12 can learn ALL DAY for one great low fee!
- $5 per student ............. School lesson only (does not include full-day museum admission and excludes Theme Days, Monday Kicks, and the Advanced Placement History Conference)
- $7 per student ............. Theme Day or Monday Kicks program with full-day museum admission
- $8 per student ............. School lesson or Advanced Placement History Conference with full-day museum admission
- $9 per student ............. Independent Study with full-day museum admission
Add $1 per student if you add a train or carousel ride.
Chaperons beyond those required in the 1:3 (pre-K), 1:5 (kindergarten through grade eight), and 1:8 (grades nine through 12) adult-to-student ratio pay full admission.
Transportation arrangements are the responsibility of the visiting school. The museum is close to many downtown bus routes.
There are three ways to apply for funding assistance:
- Transportation funding of $125 per bus is available to a limited number of classes in Monroe County through the Ruth D. Maurer Memorial Fund, established in memory of long-time museum volunteer Ruth Maurer. Demonstration of need is required. Complete the funding request form online or call 585-263-2700 for more information.
- If your school participates in the BOCES Arts in Education program, your lesson costs may be eligible for state aid. Please contact Young Audiences of Rochester at 585-530-2060 for more information.
- Schools with a Title I schoolwide program may be eligible for a 20% discount on school lesson fees. Call 585-263-2700 for more information.
Adult chaperons are required to accompany students on museum visits. Adult chaperons must be at least 18 years of age. Pre-K classes may bring one chaperon for every three students (1:3 adult-to-child ratio). For kindergarten through grade eight, one adult chaperon is required for every five students (1:5 adult-to-child ratio). High school classes may have one chaperon for every eight students (1:8 adult-to-child ratio). Classroom teachers are admitted free with each class. Chaperons fulfilling the required adult-to-child ratios are admitted to the museum free of charge and may enter the butterfly garden with the students if the class is scheduled for a butterfly lesson.
Adults beyond the required 1:3, 1:5, and 1:8 ratios, who are not members, pay full admission. Both member and nonmember adults beyond the 1:3, 1:5, and 1:8 ratios have the option of entering the butterfly garden with students for an additional fee.
Chaperons may not bring children other than the students they are supervising on the school visit. While in the museum, chaperons are responsible for the behavior of the children in their care.
Join us for lunch! Advance reservations for lunch seating are required for all school groups planning to eat at the museum. Lunches may be brought by students or ordered in advance from food court vendors on a menu designed specifically for school groups. Lunches ordered from the food court will be delivered to a space reserved for your students in the school lunch room. Groups of 10 or more planning to order from the food court must preorder their lunches at least two weeks prior to their scheduled visit. Please note that groups not registered for a school program may not reserve lunch space.
Download a lunch menu or call 585-263-2700 for more information.
Cash, check (made payable to The Strong), money order, or credit card (VISA, MasterCard, American Express, or Discover Card) may be used to pay for the entire group when you arrive for your lesson. Please consolidate payments for lessons into a single transaction. If you prefer to be billed, you must provide the museum with a copy of your purchase order.
Payment for pre-ordered school lunches must be made separately from payment for school lesson fees and may not be billed. If not paying with cash, please consolidate payment for your group’s lunch order into a single check or charge transaction. Please put lunch payment into a separate transaction and submit with lunch order form; do not combine with lesson payment.
- Discuss your plans and schedule with all chaperons and students prior to your visit. This helps everyone know what to expect.
- Create name tags. This will help personalize your visit.
- Review museum guidelines.
Please review these guidelines before your visit.
- Chaperons must stay with their group of children while at the museum and are responsible for the safety and behavior of those children.
- Chaperons must immediately report any emergency or child separated from their group to a museum staff member.
- Be considerate of other guests in the museum.
- Food and drink are not allowed in the exhibits. They can damage exhibits and artifacts.
The museum encourages requests from schools and organizations serving individuals with special needs. Museum educators will adapt lessons to create a tailored experience for students. For more information, please call 585-263-2700 x335.
Homeschool students are encouraged to register for school lessons, Theme Days, and independent study programs. Museum educators will adapt educational offerings to suit homeschool student needs. For more information, please call 585-263-2700.
All school buses must enter the museum campus through the school group entrance located off Pitkin Street. After unloading, buses will be directed to the designated bus parking area. Parking is free.
All school groups arriving by car or on foot must enter the museum through the main public entrance. Parking is free.
Please print out a map with driving directions.
Museum security staff is certified in First Aid and CPR. If you need assistance, please notify a host (identified by their guest relations shirts, black pants, and museum name tags) or a security officer.
Apply now for the 2013–2014 school year!
Applications for enrollment in Woodbury Preschool are taken on an ongoing basis and enrollment is offered on a first-come, first-served basis. Notification of new student placement begins on February 14, 2013. Students requesting placements in classes that are already at capacity will be placed on a waiting list. Applications for Woodbury Preschool will be accepted until all slots for the 2013–2014 school year are filled.
About the preschool
Woodbury Preschool at the National Museum of Play® is Reggio Emilia-inspired and is therefore responsive to the interests of the children in the class. This approach uses an "emergent" curriculum philosophy that encourages teachers and students to work together to plan the curriculum and create projects. Guided by teachers who facilitate their explorations, children delve deeply into topics that fascinate and stimulate learning.
Children at Woodbury Preschool learn and develop in playful activities set among the museum's hands-on exhibits. Small and large group activities involve art, music, cooperative games, movement, pre-reading, math, and other age-appropriate experiences.
The preschool is named in honor of the museum founder, Margaret Woodbury Strong, whose parents, John and Alice Woodbury, made the world Margaret's classroom and encouraged her to play outdoors in countless ways.
School begins September 9, 2013, and ends June 5, 2014.
Days, times, ages, and fees
Tuesday and Thursday Three-year-old Program*
9–11:30 a.m., $1,824 per year.
Child must be three years old by December 1, 2013 to be eligible to enroll.
Monday, Wednesday, and Friday Four-year-old Program*
9–11:30 a.m., $2,599 per year.
Child must be four years old by December 1, 2013 to be eligible to enroll.
Tuesday and Thursday Mixed-age Program
1–3:30 p.m. $1,824 per year.
Child must be three years old by December 1, 2013 to be eligible to enroll.
Monday, Wednesday and Friday Mixed-age Program
1–3:30 p.m. $2,599 per year.
Child must be three years old by December 1, 2013 to be eligible to enroll.
* Early drop off at 8:30 a.m. for morning students is available for an additional yearly fee: $300 for Tuesday and Thursday students; $450 for Monday, Wednesday, and Friday students. Please call 585-263-2700 for more information.
Limited openings are still available for the 2012–2013 school year. Please call 585-263-2700 for more information.
Small classes enable children to build confidence as they explore their world under the close supervision of early childhood teachers.
Specially designed classrooms serve as the children's homeroom. These colorful spaces, set apart from the museum galleries, provide a familiar, comfortable, and manageable environment for preschoolers.
Supervised by their teachers, children also experience the colorful, imaginative museum environment including the museum's signature exhibits Reading Adventureland and Field of Play. If the weather permits, children enjoy experiences in a secure outdoor play space designed for the exclusive use of the preschool.
The preschool staff consider parents to be school partners and encourage classroom visits and parental involvement in class projects. Parents may arrange to observe their children through a two-way mirror in the classroom's observation area. A get-acquainted play date at the museum kicks off the program each year, and parent-teacher conferences are held regularly throughout the school year.
The preschool follows Rochester City School District school closures for holidays and inclement weather as announced on radio and television.
The National Museum of Play® at The Strong offers professional development experiences for teachers, administrators, and curriculum development professionals. These experiences may be hosted in the museum or at your school.
Professional development experiences can be offered as described or modified to suit the needs of specific teachers or administrators. Museum educators can also create custom professional development experiences to uniquely suit the educational needs of your school, district, or group.
Topics of particular specialty are listed below; however museum educators offer professional development experiences in a variety of subject areas.
For more information and cost, please call 585-410-6387.
Creating Playful Early Childhood Classrooms
How do teachers incorporate play in preschool and primary classrooms while meeting standards? How can teachers maximize the potential for playful learning with classroom environments, routines, and materials? Explore the answers to these questions and examine current research related to the outcomes of a play-based approach to learning in this interactive workshop.
Play and the Common Core
Learn firsthand how to create meaningful, play-based learning experiences connected to the Common Core Standards. Work with museum educators and colleagues to design activities based on best practices for 21st-century learning that will enhance curriculum, delight students, and inspire teaching practice.
STEAM in Action for Teachers: Explore New Ways to Meet State and Common Core Standards
Learn how to teach math and science concepts through the arts with inspiration from everyday surroundings. This workshop is ideal preparation for bringing students to a STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics) in Action Theme Day.
The Reggio Emilia Approach in Action
Learn how Woodbury Preschool at the National Museum of Play at The Strong implements the Reggio Emilia approach to early childhood education. Explore ways that student interest leads to emergent projects, and examine the role of the teachers, documentation, the environment, and parent involvement in this interactive experience. Participants will visit the preschool spaces and discuss how the Reggio principles can be applied in a variety of settings.
Keep up-to-date on The Strong’s educational offerings, articles, and analyses connecting play and education. Sign up for the museum’s free educator e-newsletter.
Hours & Admission Fees
The National Museum of Play® is open 362 days a year. In 2013, the museum is closed only on September 20 (The Play Ball gala), November 28 (Thanksgiving Day), and December 25 (Christmas Day).
Monday–Thursday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Friday & Saturday, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Sunday, noon to 5 p.m.
General museum admission
Age 2 and older: $13 Under age 2: FREE Members: Always FREE* ACM reciprocal members: 50% general admission discount for up to six people
All children ages 15 and under must be accompanied by an adult.
The museum accepts Visa, MasterCard, American Express, and Discover Card. Museum admission fees do not include admission to Dancing Wings Butterfly Garden.
*Both named members must show photo ID to receive free member admission.
The museum offers matinee pricing on general admission from 3 to 5 p.m. Monday through Thursday during the school year with some exceptions. Matinee admission is not available on Fridays, weekends, holidays, or during school breaks. Matinee pricing is not available from July 1 through Labor Day and may not be combined with any other discount.
Age 2 and older: $8
Under age 2: FREE
College student discount
The museum offers two-for-one general admission to students with current college ID. (Both students must present valid ID.)
Active-duty military discount
The museum offers a $2 discount on general admission fees to active-duty military personnel (Air Force, Army, Coast Guard, Marines, and Navy) and his or her immediate family members who present appropriate and valid identification.
Dancing Wings Butterfly Garden admission
Through the museum’s participation in the ACM Reciprocal Network, the National Museum of Play provides a 50% general admission discount for up to six people to guests who show a valid membership card with the ACM Reciprocal Network logo and a photo ID.
May not be combined with any other discount and does not apply to Dancing Wings Butterfly Garden admission.
For more information and a list of participating museums, please visit www.childrensmuseums.org then click Search Now.
The museum cannot refund admission for guests that do not have a valid membership card with ACM Reciprocal Network logo at the time of admission.