Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Get Out!

[Disclaimer: I have fallen behind on my blogging duties lately. I’d intended to write this post at the beginning of the month, so let’s all pretend that it’s early July and a whole month lies before us – with the promise of less rain!]
Summer in Rhode Island – time to get out and play! Unstructured, freely chosen play promotes children’s healthy growth and development, but often kids don’t have enough opportunities for play, especially outdoors.

The benefits of active, outdoor play are tremendous – far greater than those of television, video games and other electronic entertainment. Being outdoors both calms and challenges children while encouraging them to notice and appreciate the sheer wonder of the natural world. Navigating that world through play stimulates their imaginations and creativity and enhances their development of judgment, problem solving and self-esteem.

With these ideas in mind, we’ve recently screened the film “Where Do the Children Play?” to get people talking about the need for more unstructured play, indoors and out. And we decided that we should get kids out to play at the Museum this summer, too.

People might not think of the Children’s Museum as a place for outdoor play – but kids have plenty of powerful indoor and outdoor play experiences here. In The Children’s Garden, families can get outside and jump, stretch, climb and drum. Not to mention splash in the fountain, discover native plants – plus pack a picnic and play for awhile! More to come later about all of the above, including some amazing garden moments staff have seen recently.

Visitors can explore our great outdoors during active programs throughout the summer. Over the past few weeks, kids have blown giant bubbles, learned circus tricks, and gotten gooey investigating slime. Just yesterday, they used funnels and foam tubes to build channels to move water all around the garden – including up and down railings and into the trees. I was inspired by their creations – a true feat of engineering!

Coming up this month: go fly a kite, work with wood, weave with natural materials and more – check the calendar for details. And further down the road – two amazing new play environments opening in the garden next year! We’re so excited to add an artistic, one-of-a-kind Climber and Underland, a subterranean adventure that will have kids crawling through our cave in all new ways.

Stay tuned for more information. And GET OUT!

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