This story was shared by Experience Coordinator Meg Sullivan.
During the hustle and bustle of daily life at a children’s museum, it's nice to take a break every now and then and remind myself why I’m here in the first place. Recently in Water Ways, I watched a young girl – about 4 years old – actively engage in in pretend play with “loose parts” that typically have other functions.
One of the many cool aspects of Water Ways is an array of different sized pipe pieces that allow children to construct various fountains, and it's amazing what some kids create. While at first the girl started playing with the fountain parts the “right” way, soon her imagination took hold.
A fountain top first became a cup that contained a hot beverage. She walked around blowing on it and offered some to her father, cautioning him first how hot it was. Then she took some of the little pipe pieces, filled those with water, and poured them back into the large fountain top. As she stirred it with a smaller piece, she muttered to herself about her concoction. Once she tired of pretending it was a beverage, she started using the fountain head in other ways. She emptied it into the waterfall, into the plastic boats, and finally into the water table itself. She stirred her mixture again in the water table with a little pipe piece.
This pretending went on for the full hour I was there and I rather wished I knew what she was picturing. Working at a children’s museum allows me to relive the imagination and wonderment that we all felt as children!