Monday, August 31, 2009

Play at Home

The Museum is closed August 31 through September 13 for facility deep cleaning and new exhibit installation. We will reopen on September 14th. Next week, we'll post pictures of some of the activities happening here during our annual shutdown.

In the meantime...learning never goes away. There are many Play at Home activities that support your child's growing brain. Here's some useful information about boosting brain power and some Play at Home activities to try, no matter what your age.

When you come back to visit us after September 13th, check out these two related brain-based learning exhibits in the Museum.

For our younger visitors, explore the Trace Around Exhibit in Build It Young Explorers or the Mini Rollways exhibit in Make it Move.

Both of these exhibits provide experiences for eye-hand coordination, visual tracking and crossing the midline; useful brain-boosting activities that support later skills needed for reading and writing.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Why Pretend Play?

One way children learn is by imagining and doing. Have you ever seen a child pick up a block and pretend it's a phone? Young children are just beginning to understand the difference between the two.

Pretend play gives children opportunities to realize the differences between reality and fantasy. When children pretend to be someone else, they have the experience of "walking in someone else's shoes." Through these repeated pretend opportunities and maturation, children will begin to see their world from another's point of view. It's the way we as humans can develop empathy.

Children delight in the adult's perception of or participation in their pretend play. Through these repeated pretend opportunities, they begin to see the power of language. Recognizing what language can do is an important pre-reading skill. Children learn that words create the story. They begin to see the connection between written words and the spoken word.

From playing "make believe" to making plays, children will take center stage with a new exhibit at DCM, The Play's the Thing, which opens Monday, September 14.

Click here for more information about our new exhibit, The Play's the Thing.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Did You Guess Right?

Did you guess where this is in the Museum? It's the fan in the Wind Tunnel in the AirWorks Neighborhood. Have you ever explored properties of air in the Wind Tunnel?

The Wind Tunnel allows children the opportunity to experience the force of moving air. The large fan allows children time to "research" where air comes from and how wind forces objects to move. In the Wind Tunnel you might see a child:

  • Standing inside to feel the moving air blow against him

  • Flying a parachute

  • Holding streamers in the wind and observing which way they blow

    • As your child's play partner, take time to enjoy your young scientist's discoveries. As she shows delight with the way the ribbons are blowing, offer a comment such as, The wind is blowing all of the ribbons towards the middle. Add to her discovery by suggesting a challenge. You might say, What happens when the balls are down on the ground? Which way are the ribbons blowing now?

      Your child's discoveries about air are derived from self-directed interactions with the objects in the Wind Tunnel and the connections she makes with you, as her play partner!

      Thursday, August 6, 2009

      Can You Find this in the Museum?

      Here's something to do next time you visit the Museum. Look around and see if you can discover where this object is located? Stay tuned! I'll share the location in our next post, as well as some learning opportunities and facilitation tips with this object.