Littlewoods reopened today after a month-long renovation.
By Karen Lambe
Early Childhood Developer
The woods are alive with the sound of children! And they have been since Littlewoods, the beloved woodland environment created especially for the Museum’s youngest visitors, first opened in 1997. Designed to inspire active exploration and interaction with adults and other children, Littlewoods has welcomed thousands of young children and their caregivers and has hosted many magical learning moments over the last ten years.
In the Baby Nest, six-month-old Liam sits at the bottom of a wedge-shaped mat, watching as his mother rolls a colorful, squeezable ball into his outstretched hands. “Look at that!” I observe, “He tracked with his eyes and caught the ball. Good example of developing hand-eye coordination.” Mother beams and baby giggles as he picks up the ball.
Meanwhile, one-year-old Jennie pushes a sturdy wooden cart, stopping periodically to pick up a soft rubber rock or skunk puppet that needs transporting to the Cozy Cave. “Aren’t those carts a great help for the toddler who is working on new walking skills?” I ask. “Yes, they’re just the right size to support her, and Jennie loves that she can carry things around in them,” remarks her grandma.
Nearby, a couple of four-year-olds stage an elaborate feast for the stuffed bears. “You get the bowls ready for the fish soup. I’ll catch some fish and bring the bears over to sit at the table,” suggests Chris to Tommy. “I better climb the ladder into the tree and collect some acorns to put into the soup,” says Tommy. The boys are busy with their dramatic play, working together to create a story that springs from their imaginations, their interactions, and an environment that supports and encourages open-ended play.
“My son loves Littlewoods!” we hear frequently. “Littlewoods is a place where both my daughter and I feel comfortable. She makes new friends and so do I!” These and countless other supportive comments have shown us the importance of a thoughtfully designed space for very young children, one that is developmentally appropriate and cozy and that fosters a sense of community.
Littlewoods gets a fresh look this month, reopening today, June 17, 2008 with new play areas for infants and toddlers, an updated parent resource area, a comfortable chair for nursing moms, and more! New physical challenges and sensory experiences abound as children navigate a wavy floor, explore stepping logs at different heights, send balls traveling through a “root” system, and cross a balancing bridge. Parents and young children extend the fun during Play and Learn activities in the redesigned exhibit all week long. Come play, come learn!
News and Notes from Providence Children’s Museum: Occasional posts about things to do with our kids – from places to go, things to make, ideas to think about, and ways to explore.
Providence Children’s Museum – 100 South Street, Providence, RI. 401-273-5437 (KIDS)