Review: The Magic School Bus

Kick Up a Storm

What kind of cloud is that? Why does it rain or snow? If you want answers to such questions, and especially if your kids enjoy The Magic School Bus series, the new hands-on exhibit downtown at The Children’s Museum of Atlanta is the place to go. “The Magic School Bus Kicks Up a Storm” uses characters and other features from the Scholastic book series to whisk visitors into the world of a weather observatory. Kids –
as well as parents who might like to brush up on their weather knowledge – can visit 11 different stations to learn about various aspects of weather science.
My friend and I took our four kids (all ages 4-6) to experience “Kicks Up a Storm” shortly after it opened. Our kids eagerly went from station to station to see what cool things were in store. The first hit for the kids was Carlos’ Air Blasters, where visitors can direct bursts of air to help them learn about air mass and how it impacts things, such as the “clouds” dangling overhead. 
Next, the kids enjoyed Phoebe’s Climate Puzzle, where they put together a jigsaw puzzle of the United States to learn about different climate zones. At another station, they got to make their own snowflakes, using a puzzle piece as a pattern.
The Keesha’s Wind Globe area teaches about wind patterns and how wind is created. Kids can stick their heads in an opening to experience such things as wind speed, temperature, and sounds of a hurricane; while doing so, they watch a screen that depicts hurricane winds blowing trees. Arnold’s Cloud Cover Window allows kids the chance to measure cloud cover and learn how the types of clouds they see in the sky give us clues to the sort of weather coming.
After speeding through some of the learning stations, our kids wanted plenty of time at the Walkerville Weather Center. Here, they got to role-play as meteorologists. Our “junior reporters” had the opportunity to observe weather data and post it on the weather board with magnets that symbolized sunshine, rain or cloud. Next was the chance to dress up in various weather attire and “go live” from the Frizzle News Network studio to report on the weather. While your child acts the role, the parent can shine the camera on the youngster and also watch the live shot on the TV screen right above the young reporter’s head. This was definitely where we spent the most time. 
The kids had a lot of fun, and my friend and I thoroughly enjoyed the exhibit ourselves (it brought back memories of our own elementary school days). We both felt that this show
– created by the Children’s Museum of Houston –
was an especially strong learning experience for kids who are already reading, as there are lengthy lessons to read at some stations. Our own kids especially liked the many interactive opportunities. “Storm” was certainly a fun-filled outing. We encourage all families to check it out – rain or shine!
  – Krissy Williams

If You Go

The Magic School Bus Kicks Up a Storm
The Children’s Museum of Atlanta
275 Centennial Olympic Park Dr. NW,
404-659-5437,
childrensmuseumatlanta.org
When: Through Jan. 27. Mon.-Fri., 10 a.m.-4 p.m.; Sat.-Sun., 10 a.m.-5 p.m.
Cost: $12.75 ages 2 and up; children younger than 2, free. Admission is free from 1-7 p.m. on “Target Tuesdays,” always the second Tuesday of each month.