2022 PLAY report

Dear Friends,

Thank you for being part of our Lincoln Children’s Museum family and for helping us continue to be a staple in our community, inspiring a love of learning in children.

This past year, we ramped up our efforts to expand our reach in the community. Almost 90,000 guests benefited from our exhibits, programs and outreach that included after-school programs in 12 Lincoln Public schools along with a new Little Learners program for children two to four years old.  That wouldn’t have been possible without your support.

This year, we are excited for new updates and changes that will continue to invite children and their families to create, discover and learn through play. We are so grateful for the support you’ve provided and look forward to having you along for the ride this year and many more to come.

Tara Knuth
Executive Director

board of directors

Thank you to our dedicated board members, who each contribute their time and talents to help ensure the Lincoln Children’s Museum meets the needs of our ever-growing community.

let’s cheer for a great year!

Individuals came through our doors

items were purchased from the Museum Toy Store

members of the Have A Heart Program received income-qualified, free, or reduced-cost memberships

children participated in camps

children were involved in after school programs

learning through PLAY

Our programs and events make us shout “hooray” every day!

Little Learners

We recognize the importance of providing educational opportunities designed specifically for children ages two to four years old. Little Learners is a weekly education program that is rooted in play.

These educator-led sessions are an opportunity to strengthen each little one’s fine and gross motor skills as well as expose them to new experiences with children similar in age.

“What a great program this has been for our girl. She has loved every moment, grown so much, and been so proud and excited to come home and show me her projects/tell me what she learned. I thank you so much for everything that you’ve done for her – I appreciate you welcoming her with open arms.” 

-Becka W.

Kindergarten Ready

Offered at the end of summer, our Kindergarten Ready program was created to help children sharpen their hard-earned preschool skills as they complete a specially-designed learning path, incorporating the Museum’s exhibits.

Participants completed various “assignments” created with Nebraska State Education Standards and Early Learning Guidelines. With the help from our friends at Rooted in Relationships – Lancaster County, this program was free with paid admission to the Museum.

Day and Summer Camps

Our day and summer camp program has once again been a highlight for the Museum. Focusing on STEAM inspired concepts, we serve kindergarten through fourth grade. Campers spend the day getting their hands messy with creative activities, discovering new fun and friends along the way.

Thanks to generous sponsors, scholarships were available to make our camps an option to those that otherwise might not be able to attend.

Game Day Play Dates

This program gave parents and caregivers the opportunity for a staff-led play date at the Museum while parents and caregivers were at Memorial Stadium to cheer on the Huskers.

With the Museum located in downtown Lincoln, the convenience and atmosphere go hand-in-hand. The Museum’s Director of Operations and Engagement Mandy Haase-Thomas said, “this program is a great opportunity for kids to grow up within the Husker fan base, which is such an exciting part about living in Lincoln.”

Fans can look forward to Game Day Play Dates again for the 2023 Husker football season.

Make Believe Midnight

Children and their families rang in the new year during Make Believe Midnight, our daytime New Year’s Eve celebration.

Guests enjoyed playing in the exhibits along with added entertainment featuring a dance party, bubble wrap stomp, and a unique countdown featuring a bubble drop and pop that encompassed both the upper and lower levels of the Museum.

It was all topped off with party favors, a fun photo booth experience, and make-and-take activities for kiddos to enjoy.

LCM + LPS = a formula for fun

The Lincoln Children’s Museum and Lincoln Public Schools work together to provide fun and learning for all.

Community Learning Centers

Our education team leads learning opportunities throughout the community with hands-on, minds-on interactive activities designed to expand brains and ignite the sense of wonder. Outreach and education activities have been a big hit for Lincoln Public Schools’ after-school programs, serving kindergarten through fifth grade.

Kindergarten Field Trips

Each year, we get the opportunity to see every Lincoln Public Schools’ kindergartner when they enjoy a field trip to the Lincoln Children’s Museum. Together with their teachers and chaperones, kindergartners get to make lasting memories when they create, discover, learn, and play throughout the exhibits.

Family Literacy Nights

The Lincoln Children’s Museum is always delighted to host families from the Family Literacy program for a special night of play several times throughout the school year.

Together, families participate in hands-on activities, play in exhibits, and interactive displays for a fun, meaningful experience.

“For many families new to the U.S., such an experience doesn’t just help them learn about family-friendly places to go in Lincoln, but also about the importance of play for healthy child development and family functioning.”

– Monica Asher, Family Engagement Coordinator

    for Lincoln Public Schools

CLC Kids


the power of community


Serving up play for families of those who serve.

Through a unique partnership with the Nebraska National Guard, we worked together to provide fun and learning opportunities to military families. Space in our educational programming was made available for military families to be involved in on an ‘as-needs’ basis. We also worked together to provide 60 Candy House Take-Home Kits for families to enjoy during the holiday season.

For over 30 years, we’ve committed to being a place where every family and child feels like they belong. Thank you to all who help make Lincoln a caring, sharing, welcoming community!

adventures through reading

The Gift of Storytime

Past storytime volunteer, Reva Moser, recently passed away and directed a memorial gift to the Lincoln Children’s Museum. Together with her family, we chose to honor Reva’s memory by using the funds to purchase books to give as a “surprise and delight” to children when they visit the Museum as well as using the dollars to help subsidize the expense of supplies in our Tinker Theater.

Reva’s gift will be a lasting reminder of her kindness and generosity and inspire a love of reading and creativity for years to come.

Reading Around Town

Lincoln Public Libraries hosted ‘Around Town Storytime’ at the Museum, featuring stories, movement, music, and more.

These storytimes are a great way to show that learning through reading, singing, and dancing can happen anywhere!

We will host ‘Around Town Storytime’ again with Lincoln City Libraries on

April 14th from 11:00 – 11:30 am.

working together to open doors

Partnership with the Nebraska Commission for the Blind

Together with the Nebraska Commission for the Blind, we coordinated work-experience opportunities for blind and low-vision high school and college students.

Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor, Jeff Scheer was grateful for this partnership; “The Lincoln Children’s Museum has been an ideal partner as a place for blind adolescents to gain confidence in a workplace setting. The most recent participant, who is now an LCM employee, has demonstrated tremendous growth over the past year in both independence and confidence and couldn’t be more proud.”

Through this partnership, individuals assisted with custodial and educational program work. A special thanks to Lincoln Children’s Museum Facilities Manager, Brian Harpham, who helped make this partnership a success.

Opportunities for all with Nebraska VR

Nebraska VR’s mission is to help people with disabilities prepare for, obtain, and maintain employment while helping businesses recruit, train, and retain employees with disabilities.

The partnership was of great benefit for both organizations. The employee matched to the Museum was a rising high school senior with an interest in education and working with children.

the power of PLAY

see what’s new in 2023!

sensory sundays

A morning of play the third Sunday of every month offered to families with kiddos who would benefit from a sensory-friendly experience and quieter setting at the Museum.

Families will enjoy time to connect and make memories in exhibit spaces with softer music, lower lights, and sensory-friendly activities. Sensory kits are available for check-out that include noise-reducing, headphones, fidgets and more.

Sensory Sundays at LCM are 9:00am – 11:00am the third Sunday of each month.

Admission is free for members and half-price for non-members during this time.

50% off admission after 4pm

Offered every day the Museum is open, enjoy 50% off admission after 4pm.

super saturdays

Fall into a story, party like a paleontologist, get ready for back to school, and blast off into space with Super Saturdays at the Museum! Each Super Saturday is jam-packed with specially-themed crafts, STEM-inspired activities, special guests, giveaways, and more. Enjoy the added fun along with plenty of play in all the exhibits.

Super Saturdays are free for members and included with regular paid admission!

The Orchard exhibit

Coming soon…The Orchard!

Our treehouse on the upper level of the Museum will soon become ‘The Orchard’! Kiddos can look forward to harvesting apples, making and selling apple products, learning about pollinators, and more.

Opening April 2023

Here We Grow exhibit

Coming soon…Here We Grow!

Guests can look forward to a playful, immersive experience in agriculture.

Children can discover the world of agriculture through exploration and play as they climb to the clouds, fish in the pond, combine corn, and care for livestock.

Here We Grow exhibit

Exhibit Features:

  • Enclosed climbing structure and slide extended vertically throughout all three levels of the Museum

  • Water table which includes an aqueduct, irrigation components, water cycle simulation, and fishing pond

  • Animal Husbandry section featuring a life-size cow, pig, and chickens

  • Seed and soil section, agriculture export map, corn maze, combine cab, and more

Learn how you or your business can become part of the excitement by supporting the Lincoln Children’s Museum in 2023!

Contact Ken Dobbs at kdobbs@lincolnchildrensmuseum.org or call 402-477-4000.