There's a kid-sized grocery store and Potbelly's that kids can play in, pretending to be employees and customers, which I thought was pretty great. That was way over Mia's head though, so we looked for activities that should could enjoy. For some perspective, Mia is 13 months old - and thankfully she's walking, because it was too crowded to push a stroller around.
We found quite a few activities that Mia was able to enjoy, and we can see that she's going to grow into many of the other areas. She's not quite old enough to do a lot of the things at this museum that make things happen - like pull a lever, push a bar, etc - but she was able to enjoy watching what happened when we did those parts for her.
The Water Works area let kids explore water, and the tables where lots of the water flowed was just low enough for Mia to check it out and enjoy it. She liked the simple things - like just pulling balls out of the water or watching bubbles moving. I can see how she's going to really enjoy this room when she gets older!
We spent a lot of time in the Music Makers area, since Mia's pretty musically / rhythmically inclined, and it was very noisy which was a bit overwhelming for her. There was one small room off to the side in that area where we were able to play with just a few little drums at one time and it wasn't so crowded. She loved this, and it was nice to have a little space that wasn't so overwhelming to her. She really liked banging on some funky xylophones too.
We ended up finding activities that she liked and that worked for her age throughout the museum. There were quite a few things that caught her attention in the temporary Color Play exhibit. A globe full of colorful feathers that blew all around; patterned wheels that she could spin and watch; and even big spotlights of color on the wall were pretty exciting for her!
I was really impressed by how much kids can actually learn, once they're old enough to understand. This is all lost on Mia now, but there's so much hands on learning about how things actually work, like color, water, and light. Overall, even for a one-year-old, this was a really fun museum and it kept Mia very entertained for an hour. We could have spent more time exploring, but Mia was starting to get tired. We'll definitely be going back, and my parents were kind enough to get Mia a membership (this also ensures that we bring Mia up to their place to visit more often!) The membership which will also get us into the Chicago Children's Museum at Navy Pier, which I'm very excited to check out!
Here's Mia peering out at us from inside the hollowed out trunk of a big plastic tree. She has no idea where she's supposed to be, but since it was quite conducive to Peek-a-Boo, she loved it.