A favorite childhood summer activity, my sisters and I used to spend hot days filling a little green plastic pool from the backyard hose to keep cool. But so much of the fun was what was happening outside the pool; we loved to splash the water straight to the ground, making muddy puddles. I remember how sun-warmed and sensational the mud felt on my bare feet, creating suction as I pulled them up and down. A Children’s Museum colleague shared an accidental mud discovery she made with a group of preschool children. Playing with a homemade slip-and-slide on a hill, children were just as drawn to the mud they made in the process, noticing the fascinating downhill rivulets being formed as the water and soil met, the kids changing the directions of the paths.
By Mary Scott Hackman, Early Childhood Programs Coordinator, Providence Children’s Museum
“In childhood play, it is a safe assumption that kids need more than a two-dimensional screen to gain competency. Children need free, hands-on play that is kid-organized, to maximize their potential. Nothing lights up a child’s brain like play.” – Stuart Brown, M.D., founder of the National Institute for Play
Years ago, I attended a workshop given by an architect of children’s spaces. One remark that struck me that day and lingers still was, “Next to food, the element that is essential to the health and well-being of our children is light.” I remember thinking, “Well, we should close down all childcare centers housed in basements!” And now I think it’s just another reason to advocate for getting our children out of doors and into the natural light of day.
By Megan Fischer, Director of Communications, Providence Children’s Museum Shut down the video games, turn off the TV and step away from your screens – April 18-24 is Screen-Free Week! This national celebration, which coincides this year with school vacation, is presented by Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood and encourages children, families, schools and communities […]
More often than not, in response to “Hey guys, what happened at school today,” recess is my elementary school-aged kids’ number one topic. Their daily 10 minutes of recess often results in 10 minutes of real-time recess retelling. Eventually, until I found ways to ask the right questions about math, science, reading, art, library and other learning opportunities they might have experienced between 9:00 am and 3:00 pm, this apparent recess fixation troubled me. Was recess the only aspect their days (aside from gym, another topic discussed with wild enthusiasm) that my kids valued? However, I no longer interpret their passion for recess as a devaluation of the other 350 minutes of their school days. Quite the opposite: without those 10 minutes, they and their peers would likely get far less out of the rest of the school day. Their animated retelling of those action-packed minutes on the playground contrasts starkly with the larger reality of many schools, in which recess clings to a tenuous existence. In Providence and across urban school districts nationwide, recess has become a scare commodity that kids need more than ever.
One of our favorite winter time books is The Biggest, Best Snowman by Margery Cuyler. This is a story of a little girl who accomplishes big things. In this great read aloud book. “Big Mama, Big Sarah, and Big Lizzie” tell Little Nell she’s too small to be of help, so Little Nell spends her […]
By Elyse Major Right or wrong, my children currently have more toys than I owned in my entire childhood. I guess this fact shouldn’t perplex me, given the fact that my husband collects action figures and I am a “regular” at my local craft store. That being admitted, somehow, some days my boys still can […]
By Jeanine Silversmith Recently, I helped a few friends out by watching their children. As a mother, I am certain I’m not built for more than two, so I was a bit nervous adding some fairly young ones into the mix. But these are good friends, and I jumped at each chance to help them […]
By Janice O’Donnell, Executive Director, Providence Children’s Museum Elementary schools seem to be having an awful lot of trouble with recess lately. There are complaints that recess is a fertile ground for bullying, leads to misbehavior and injuries, is difficult to supervise, and takes away from class time needed for reading and math. As a […]
1) Dirt don’t hurt. As much as I love for my children to “get down and dirty,” I have to admit I’m very particular about stuff. I like things to be clean and organized. My tolerance for crud reached a new level this summer on one of our camping trips as my children played quietly […]
By Providence Children’s Museum Education Staff Back-to-school time often means leaving behind the carefree, active, unstructured play that children enjoy during the summer months. Providence Children’s Museum educators recommend the following resources, chock-full of creative ideas, to ensure your kids have plenty of imaginative, self-directed playtime during the school year. Carly Baumann, Exhibit & Program […]