The Original Playhouse is a children’s museum that encourages children to use their imaginations and learn through play. It is designed primarily for children ages 3-10 and offers an opportunity for cognitive and social growth. It is located in a charming 2-story house in the quaint downtown area of New Market, MD. It’s about a 40 minute drive north of Washington, DC but we discovered it is well worth the trip!
The museum has six different rooms, each with a different theme to promote various areas of learning. Here is what you need to know about each room:
Wonders of Water
This is the first area that my girls were immediately drawn to once we arrived at the playhouse. They loved the large water table where they could experiment with various water toys. There are mini nets and fishing poles and an assortment of toys to use with discovering what floats and what sinks.
Also, located in this room is a fun bubble station where the child can create a giant bubble surrounding their whole body. This was a big hit with Clara!
This room is full of hands on equipment and toys designed to encourage the children to build, experiment, and solve problems. There are tools, legos, marble ramps, blocks, and magnetic toys all to help children discover how things work. My girls spent a lot of time building their own little city with wooden blocks.
Children can use their creativity and make their own masterpiece in the art studio. It is stocked with all kinds of art supplies including feathers, beads, tissue paper, googly eyes, markers, paint, and lots more. Each child receives tokens that are used to “pay” for their crafting materials and supplies. If your kids need a little guidance on where to start, there are ideas of projects to make hanging on the wall. Or they are free to come up with their own design. My girls loved making their craft and were excited to have something to take home with them.
The Reader’s Theater is a fun room where children can act out stories that are provided to them or make up their own. There is a wall full of costume and accessory options for both boys and girls – from princesses, to clowns, to superheroes. And lots of different props are available to help the children tell their story. In the corner of the room is a small stage where the children can perform. Clara and Mae are in the midst of the dress-up and imaginative play stage so we spent a lot of time in this room trying on costumes and acting out various characters.
This room is filled with animal-centered activities. There are lots of stuffed animals and a veterinarian station where children can role play. In one corner of the room is a pet hamster that the kids enjoy observing.
Village Market and Home
Children are transported to a foreign land in the Village Market and Home. The exhibits change regularly and are designed to teach children about different areas of our world. My girls loved shopping at the market and taking the food back to the village home next door to cook and eat.
The last area to explore is the backyard garden. Children will enjoy the castle where they can continue their imaginary play. There is also a small bridge they can walk over and stop to look for the Koi fish in the pond below. There are a few other fun things to do in the backyard area: go down the slide next to the bridge, play in the sand box, explore the fairy garden, and try walking across the tight rope.
Good to Know:
• Admission: Adult $5, Toddlers 18 months – 2 years $5, Children ages 3 and up $10
• Hours: Sunday 11am-5pm, Closed Monday, Tuesday-Friday 8:30am – 4:00pm* (Wednesdays they close at 3:30), Saturday Open Only for Birthday Parties
• There is limited street parking in front of the museum. Additional parking is located behind the playhouse in the neighboring restaurant’s (Vintage) lot.
• It is a shoes-off playhouse, so bring your socks.
• Food and drinks are not allowed in the building.
• The playhouse strongly encourages a maximum ratio of 3 children per 1 adult.
• There is no reentry once you exit the playhouse, so save the backyard garden play area for last.