Grandpa’s Farm at Sandcastles Children’s Museum
The rich agricultural history of Mason County is reflected in Grandpa’s Farm Exhibit at Sandcastles Children’s Museum. From the child size, timber frame barn to the Jersey cow named Buttercup, children get a hands-on way to experience life on a farm. They can try their hand at milking Buttercup, picking corn from stalks in the fields, and collecting eggs from the chickens inside the big red barn. The children can turn a big crank to operate the conveyor belt that takes the corn to the top of the silo which then dumps it down to the back of a wagon inside the barn. Here they collect the corn and start all over again.
Just beyond the bright orange tractor that kids can pretend to drive, there is a nearby apple tree where apples can be harvested. The apples are picked from the tree and then dumped into a bucket which is connected to a pulley system that brings the apples back up into the tree.
Our youngest farmers have fun picking the pretend root vegetables out of the small garden at Grandpa’s Farm. They can pull up carrots, turnips, and onions, put them in a small wheelbarrow to take them to the barn.
The farm even has a special bird house that is home to many Michigan birds that are displayed around the exhibit. The children can not only learn about the habits of these birds through informative signs, they can crawl into the bird house and pretend they themselves are in the nest.
During the summer season, Grandpa’s Farm features planting boxes with real vegetables growing outside on the deck. The children can see the plants growing, help with watering the soil, and even pick a cherry tomato or a green bean.
Interaction with adults is so important while the kids explore Grandpa’s Farm. Many informative signs are intended for the visiting adult to use as cues for providing information to their child at just the right time in their play. We also have animal puppets to play act the role that animals have on a farm. Our donkey and rooster, sheep and goat can take on a life of their own.
Grandpa’s Farm at Sandcastles Children’s Museum is a special place for children to learn through play and their imagination.