No doubt about it, kids are fascinated by their bodies.
How they move, what they are capable of, what is going on inside of them and even, or maybe even especially, what comes out of them.
Until May 5, the Ontario Science Centre is hosting Sesame Street Presents: The Body, an interactive exhibit aimed at children aged two to eight featuring favourite muppet characters like Oscar the Grouch, Elmo, Ernie and Bert, the Count and Kermit the Frog.
Six-year-old Shianna Jackson, who visited the exhibit with her Grade 1 class from Crescent Town Elementary School on Tuesday Jan. 28, was having a blast learning about the digestive system.
“It (the exhibit) is fantastic because they have lots of games that I really love,” she said as she spun a wheel that showed stomach acid turning food to mush.
At Elmo’s World, Yamlak Tibebu, also a Grade 1 student at Crescent Town, was busy dressing a picture of Elmo in winter clothing.
“I like it (the exhibit) ’cause it’s really fun and they have good activities,” the six-year-old boy said.
Meanwhile, their classmates darted from station to station trying out the interactive displays.
For example, they stood under a huge plastic nose connected to a sinus cavity filled with “mucous” to get sneezed on.
They used a scanner to help muppet Telly find the groceries he needed for a meal that included a salad, spaghetti, meat and a “sometimes food” cookie.
They learned their hands are good for all kinds of things like tickling, holding hands, making shadow puppets, spelling out their names in American Sign Language and reading in Braille.
They stood in front of a huge organ and hit the keys to hear songs about what different organs like their stomach, liver, kidneys, lungs, bladder and intestines do.
They learned the importance of keeping your body clean at Ernie’s Rub a Dub Tub.
At the locomotion station, they raced each other on a screen by running in place, working a rowing machine or operating a wheelchair.
“It’s a really nice, simplified approach to the body, mirrored on the way, I think, that children think about their body,” Science Centre acting Kidspark co-ordinator Kira Webb said.
“They have outsides and they have insides and there are sections (in the exhibit) that deal with that. What can you do with your feet? Why are your hands amazing? What can you do with your hands? We also talk about the insides. We have information about all the different kinds of systems, the digestive system, the skeletal system. You really can’t have one without the other. They really work in concert. How do you keep them all together?”
The exhibit also gets kids involved in learning about healthy habits such as exercise, good nutrition and cleanliness, all needed to keep their bodies working well, Webb said.
The Science Centre is happy to be hosting the exhibit, Webb said.
“It’s Sesame Street, two words that stand alone and say it all, and the Science Centre. I think these are two institutions that have a lot of resonance with people and a lot of history,” she said.
Entrance to the exhibit is free with admission to the Science Centre, which is located at 770 Don Mills Rd. at Eglinton Avenue.
Admission to the centre is $22 for adults, $16 for youth and seniors and $13 for children aged three to 12.
For more information, visit www.ontariosciencecentre.ca or call 416-696-1000.