Wishing you an inspiring new year
full of FUN and plenty of PLAY!
|(We especially love this one!)|
|RISD intern Kirsten cut out stacks of magnetic shapes.|
|Exhibit Designer Chris and Exhibit Technician Hillel installed the magnet wall|
|and then tested it out by making some amazing designs!|
|The geoboards in place.|
To prepare for The Power to Play: From Trash to Treasure – a display of toys handmade by children from around the world – we collected stories of toy making from our friends, staff and members of our international community.
Here are the ones chosen to accompany the toys, and to inspire visitors to share their own stories:
“In the real world, life is filled with risks… and reasonable risks are essential for children’s healthy development.”At Providence Children’s Museum, we witness wonderful moments of learning through play all around us, every day: from discovering how to use a popsicle stick as a clay cutting tool to learning that Pilgrim children didn’t use forks, and that engineering a giant fountain with two friends is much easier than constructing alone. But some of the most inspiring learning moments, often the most intense and real, involve taking a risk. When children (and grown-ups) take risks or, as Tim Gill said, “actively seek out uncertainty,” they explore their own limits and learn about the world. Risk is the ingredient that keeps us engaged and it helps make play more meaningful.
– Dr. Joe Frost
"Every week, my students and I look forward to our time in the Mind Lab. With the generous help of Museum visitors, we have been exploring the development of pretend play in preschoolers. One project we recently completed had some really intriguing results!
All of my research is focused on discovering how people are able to pretend and figuring out in what ways pretending is beneficial. One way I do this is to find what other important abilities are related to pretending. In this project, I looked at an ability called inhibitory control, which we all use to control our minds and bodies. And we use it all the time! Every time you stop yourself from saying something you know you shouldn’t, or wait until after dinner to eat dessert, you are using your inhibitory control.
After measuring the inhibitory control and pretending abilities in a lot of different ways, I discovered that 3- and 4-year-olds who have the most inhibitory control are also the best pretenders. I also found that playing a particular type of game – games just like “Simon Says” – caused better pretending! This type of game is special because it requires a certain kind of inhibitory control that helps you switch back and forth between two different rules (like when Simon says to do something versus when he doesn’t). Other types of games, like waiting games or follow-the-leader games, did not have the same effect.
This project revealed quite a bit about pretend play that we did not know before. Now we know how important inhibitory control is for children’s pretend play, and we know that exercising children’s inhibitory control can help them to be better pretenders. This new information can now be used by people who work with children – like the staff at Providence Children’s Museum."
|Dr. Van Reet models an activity from one of her studies.|