|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!
I love visiting science museum with my kids. It's so good to have many options in your area.
Thanks for taking note and I totally agree. My kids play well together when we eliminate TV and electronic toys and leave them with just building block, bears and cardboard box. I'm surprised at many things they have created themselves even though sometimes I wish they will clean up afterward. :)
The point about consuming the fantasy vs. creating it reminds me of the type of building sets I had as a kid (mostly just a box of blocks and pieces) vs. the sets I see now where the pieces seem like they're always presented to be built in a particular configuration. I always thought my box of mis-matched blocks and pieces were probably a lot more fun to play with :)
It sounds like you are really blessed with a lot of really great outing opportunities in your area - and you know how to find them! I'm with you 100% on play being the entry point to gaining an understanding of how the world works.
I always really loved the play my kids experimented with in the water at bath time - you can learn all sorts of things about volume, displacement, heat exchange, gravity, etc. all while playing (and getting clean - maybe!)
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