Friday, March 12, 2010

Making Discoveries through Repeated Play Experiences

Repeated play experiences support a child's intrinsic motivation to learn. In a previous post we had the opportunity read about a visit at DuPage Children's Museum from a parent's perspective. "Every time we go there (DCM), there is something new we haven't explored," commented this parent blogger. "Taking the kids to the children's museum allows me to see what they are drawn to."

How fortunate we are to have daily opportunities to watch children make new discoveries and explore new interests every day. It's intriguing to listen to what children have to say when they visit our Museum. Here are a few comments overheard by some of our Play Facilitators this week:

A boy, age 9 or 10, said to his grown-up as they were approaching the Bubbles, "Behold, the Bubble Room." Who hasn't been fascinated by bubbles? Whether we're young or old, bubbles can easily hold our interest as we explore surface tension, diffraction and color.

A boy, age 6 or 7, was observed putting Interstar Links together to form a square. Then he said, "Look, if you want a diamond you just push it together like this. Then if you want a square you push it back like this." These building pieces offer endless possibilities for creativity and spatial reasoning. They can be found in our Creativity Connections Neighborhood and purchased in our Explorer Store.

A boy, age 6 or 7, walked into Math Connections and exclaimed, "Hey this is just like school but more fun." Almost everything we do involves math, yet most of us think of math as math facts learned in a classroom. Our Math Connections Neighborhood is a place where visitors can investigate and reflect on concepts at their own pace.

And grown-up visitors continue to watch their children in amazement. A parent visiting the Art Studio told one of our Facilitators how amazed she was that her daughter, age 2, used scissors for the first time during one of our Studio Drop-in programs. In the Studio children can explore and experiment with plenty of materials. Studio activities are free with Museum admission. The Art Studio is open daily from 10-12 and1-3 (unless superseded by a Creativity Class©).

Researchers are just beginning to understand some of the interactive influences in forming the brain architecture for learning and memory. Repeated play and exploration experiences, like exhibits and programs found at DCM, support the growing brain. For more information about some of this research, visit the Center on the Developing Child at Harvard University. Visit our Web site to learn more about the value of repeat visits at DuPage Children's Museum.

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