|Testing battery connections and outcomes
|Building circuits, floating magnets, and learning it all from a diverse group of video taped kids in the exhibit display
|Discovering how water flow makes the propeller shift speed
|Playing a game of 'tip the table'
We started on the top floors and had fun with the alphabet robot, inventions to assist the third world, and a simulated bobsled. But the engagement really deepened on the lower levels where kid-friendly exhibits were abundant. In one room, there were hands on science experiments with videos of children talking you through the demo. We built circuits, split light into different colors, and connected gears. In the "Invention at Play" area, we balanced weights on a tippy table and adjusted water flow to power a propeller.
Usually my favorite part of a museum is to observe the kids as they explore and experiment. However, this time my favorite part was watching a video about the value of Play. I was actually trying to take notes on my iPhone until my battery died (thank you golf pencils and scratch paper for contributing to this blog post).
Some key points:
- Real world hobbies help us become inventive (we need to get a feel for the shape of the world)
- Don't underestimate the capacity of a child, and give them the freedom to invent
- Play is a conduit for understanding the world
- Technology should not be a substitute for physical play
- Beware of toys where you consume fantasy rather than create fantasy (i.e., over-engineered toys that pre-package the narrative and limit the child's ability to create)
- The very best educational toy for a child is another person
Delicious Baby's Photo Friday!