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Feed Your child’s natural curiosity and love for play

Your young child can safely climb, slide, build, splash, imagine, and pretend in COSI’s little kidspace®. Designed and staffed by early education experts for children from birth through first grade, little kidspace promotes learning in a colorful and engaging atmosphere for little hands and growing minds. Once you experience little kidspace, you’ll be hard-pressed to convince your smallest scientists it’s time to go home.


Each exhibit has ideas for little scientists. Look for icons throughout our exhibits to find new ways to engage your youngsters at all levels of development.

Explore a farm, play in a tree, drive an ambulance

kidspace3A tree house, health clinic, light and shadow workshop, and farm-to-table themed area inspire imaginative play, while a controlled, staffed entryway ensures that little ones don’t wander off on their own. COSI’s little kidspace includes a lunch area, vending machines stocked with childcare essentials, a private nursing room, and family-friendly restrooms. An adjacent classroom space is also home to COSI’s hands-on early childhood workshops.

Splish, splash, splosh

Water wheels, bells, and ramps await your child’s imagination in little kidspace’s hands-on water play area. Young children can experiment with the properties of water through trial and error, learning by observation and interaction.


Why Do Young Children Need little kidspace?

Studies have shown that young, developing minds think differently than older minds. Young children need opportunities to explore without the fear of competition from older, stronger children. little kidspace® is designed just for them! It is a separate, developmentally appropriate area that allows safe exploration, while supporting the emerging sensory-motor, social-emotional, and cognitive capabilities of COSI’s youngest visitors and the grown-ups who nurture them. The little kidspace® team will help facilitate these interactions, and serve as resources on early childhood development.

As children age, they learn different things about themselves and the world around them using the same objects or situations used when younger. This is called layering, and can be found in little kidspace® when they return over time to explore the farm, play in the tree, build a house, and drive an ambulance.

Role of Play in Development

Play is vital in the lives of young children. Children begin pretending when they are around one year old, and the role-playing becomes more complex as they get older. Pretend play is the way young children bring the world to themselves on their own terms – the way they “try on” the lives of others.

Pretending is also the way they talk through and make sense of their life experiences. Don’t be surprised if you hear your own words repeated in their play! This pretend play is the first step toward developing empathy and an appreciation for the feelings of others.

Big KidLab

What about the older siblings? The Big KidLab is designed for the older children within your group to enjoy while your younger children are busy in little kidspace®. Big KidLab offers cool, engaging activities that are appropriate for their developmental levels in a safe, monitored atmosphere.

Older children in second grade through age eleven who are accompanying little kidspace guests may use Big KidLab, but are not permitted in little kidspace.