The Providence Children’s Museum offered Kidoinfo a sneak peak on Monday of the soon-to-open Imagination Playground. I invited a crew of kids age 4-11 to play and test out the new exhibit. The big foam shapes were a huge hit. Kids flopped on and explored the shapes individually before breaking off into groups to pursue their interests. A fort for chatting in, a group bridge build with a grand finale, and a game of horseshoes were a few of the temporary ever-changing things constructed and de-constructed by the kids. The museum has exciting plans for the Imagination Playground. It opens to the public starting Monday, April 16th. Check the museum website for updates! – Anisa
By Megan Fischer, Director of Communications, Providence Children’s Museum
Imagine dozens of excited kids turned loose in a room filled with big blue foam blocks of all shapes and sizes.Â Using oversized cogs, wheels, spools and tubes, they create whimsical sculptures, construct castles and forts, and design vibrant vehicles that move.Â Joining curvy blocks with grooves, they form elaborate ramps and tracks and send balls rolling through.Â They stack, connect, design, configure and play — the possibilities are endless!
That’s exactly what visitors will discover during April school vacation, when Providence Children’s Museum debuts Imagination Playground, a breakthrough playspace concept conceived and designed by renowned architect David Rockwell.Â Imagination Playground was developed to inspire unstructured, child-directed play — the kind of free play that experts say is critical to children’s healthy development, and that the Museum advocates for and promotes in its interactive play and learning environments.
With a focus on “loose parts” — an assortment of open-ended, movable objects — Imagination Playground stimulates kids’ creativity and inspires them to invent their own ways to play.Â Children can shape their environment, move props around, work together to create imaginative structures, and make up their own stories, rules and games.
Educators and child development experts have long recognized that block play builds serious skills — hand-eye coordination and fine motor development, spatial awareness, foundational math and science thinking.Â What’s unique about Imagination Playground is how naturally it invites collaboration.Â The big foam pieces encourage kids and families to work together to construct elaborate structures, creating an active, social play experience.Â Children’s Museum educators will supplement the blocks with other fun loose parts like fabric, balls and wooden figures to inspire even more ways to play.
Museum visitors can join a week-long block party in celebration of Imagination Playground, all day Monday, April 16 to Sunday, April 22.Â Then look for the blocks on weekends through June; summer schedule will vary. Â Imagination Playground is free with $8.50 Museum admission; always free for Museum members.Â For more information, visit www.ChildrenMuseum.org.
Two boys laughing: KaBOOM! Â© 2010
Bottom: Blandon Belushin Â© 2010