Providence Children’s Museum reopens on Tuesday, October 28, after being closed for extensive renovations. Yesterday my boys and I got a sneak peak of Play Power, a major new exhibit celebrating the power of children’s play that will be the centerpiece at next week’s reopening at the museum. The exhibit encourages kids to experiment, explore, invent, and imagine as they investigate air, light, magnets, motion, and sound. The message? Play is powerful! Although there were many pieces still being built and installed when we visited, there were a few things ready-enough for the boys to play with and get an idea of what’s to come.
Boys explore the Light Wall which looks like a giant Lite Brite. (This one is my favorite.)
Boys build with translucent plexi blocks and shapes at the Light Table.
In addition to the new Play Power exhibit, the museum has all new windows (making for a warmer, brighter space), brand new carpets, and a fresh coat of paint throughout. We missed the museum while it was closed (like a good friend who takes a vacation) but look forward to being reunited once again. Many of the well-loved play spaces have not changed much–such as Antonio Coelho’s ship and the iWay exhibit–but they have been cleaned and repaired as needed.
One of the Museum’s core convictions is that play is vital for children’s healthy development. Through spontaneous, freely-chosen play, children develop confidence and learn problem solving, self-regulation, conflict resolution, and other significant skills. Many kids today lack adequate time and space to play. With school standards, crammed schedules, and parents’ safety concerns about outdoor play, children are spending more time in front of television and video screens–activities that do not offer the benefits of unstructured, child-directed play. Recently there’s been national attention paid to the importance of playtime, most notably in an American Academy of Pediatrics 2007 clinical report, which states that “Play is essential to the cognitive, physical, social, and emotional well-being of children and youth.”
So what do you say? It’s time to play!
Providence Children’s Museum – 100 South Street, Providence, RI. 401-273-5437 (KIDS)
Admission: $7.50 per person (free for children under 12 months). Become a Museum member and visit for free!
Photo Credit: Anisa Raoof