Be Kind to All Kinds--Madison Children’s Museum Theme Spreading Kindness

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At Madison Children’s Museum there are plenty of attractions that take center stage. But perhaps no stars shine more brightly than the rooftop chickens. And never have those famous fowl been happier than they are these days thanks to the new initiative “Be Kind to All Kinds.”

“It really has to do with how we approach each other--all living things and what our society would be like if we all really embraced that idea and together we move forward in our world,” said Deborah Gilpin, President and CEO of Madison Children’s Museum.

Ironically, one of the places this is taught is on the rooftop where the museum’s chickens recently got a new dreamhouse.

“We did an assessment of our chicken coop and we identified that they need more enrichment! So, they have some swings, a xylophone to play and lots of things that will make happier chickens,” Gilpin said. “It gets noticed and will be the kind of thing that the chickens over time show different behaviors that will be fun to observe.”

Like all the learning going on behind the fun, this lesson happens quietly with the idea that the enrichment will encourage discussion among guests and families.

For children, play is their work, literally. The American Academy of Pediatrics says play time is crucial learning time for children. When children play they have no idea they are actually learning too. Playful learning generally happens with no instructions or defined rules, and is a process the Madison Children’s Museum promotes

“The museum is laid out very strategically,” Gilpin said. “Sometimes it’s artsy ways, sometimes it’s science or math or it’s using objects to build things. All of these things attract different children in different ways. So no matter who you are we want you to find a different way into that experimentation and playing.”

The rooftop is open year round so make plans to see the chicken’s new living quarters. Learn more about special events, schedules and tickets at

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