New farming exhibit at Hands-on House

By on July 6, 2016

Hands-on House, Children’s Museum of Lancaster unveiled its new interactive “Little Valley Farm” anchor exhibit on June 24. The imaginative play exhibit, designed to teach children ages 2 to 7 about the connection between farms and food in a fun way, will include play farm animals, a barn, silo, hayloft, farm machinery and tractor.

Conceived by Seth Cluley, the museum’s in-house designer, the new exhibit features a whimsical look and activities designed to teach young children basic seed-to-feed and farming concepts through role playing, according to Hands-on House Executive Director Lynne Morrison.

Children will be able to collect and sort free-range play eggs in a hen house, pick pretend apples off a tree, climb aboard a real tractor, feed and care for play farm animals, discover what it takes to milk a dairy cow, and use a pulley system in a two-story hayloft where they can learn about the difference between straw and hay.

The exhibit is age-appropriate and designed around the social and emotional learning styles of preschoolers, according to Morrison. In addition to learning where the food they eat comes from and how it’s grown, the hands-on exhibit also helps children develop critical thinking, math, technology, literacy and social skills.

A primary goal of the new exhibit is to help young children understand and appreciate the importance of farming in the county, explained Morrison. When designing the exhibit, the museum sought input and suggestions from the Lancaster County Agriculture Council.

According to the council, Lancaster County is ranked No. 1 in the United States in terms of land dedicated to farming. More than 99 percent of Lancaster County farms are family owned, according to the council’s website.

The museum is located at 721 Landis Valley Road in Lancaster. Visit handsonhouse.org for more information.

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