Monday, October 28, 2013

Cardboard Challenge, part 2

A young boy (about 6 years old) entered the space and decided that, like many other participants, he was going to build a house – however his plans quickly evolved into constructing a spacecraft. He gave me detailed instructions on how he'd like his door and window cut; there was a definite sense of ownership over the project.
He drew out plans for his steering wheel and column and asked me to cut an impossibly thick tube. When I told him we'd have to use something else he scoured the room and decided that our basket for chalk would be the perfect thing to stand in for the column. He was persistent yet flexible, and it was really interesting to watch him peruse all of the materials available and decide, in the end, that what he really needed was something that we hadn't originally intended as a building supply! Upon completion, the spaceship was fully equipped with a safety sign (that indicated only the pilot should enter), wings and steering wheel. He was ready to fly!
Sarah, AmeriCorps Museum Educator

I observed adults who spent a long time helping and facilitating their children's play. I was happy to see that these grown-ups stepped back when it was time to show off their creations, to let the children explain what they have done and the reason/engineering behind it. For example, an aunt worked with her young niece and nephew to build an elaborate castle. When I asked them about details, the woman did not say a word and let the girl explain that she built the castle for "rainbow fairies, and these fairies were chased by bad guys." The castle included a drawbridge, a dangerous octopus and towers with cannons. When I asked how the cannons work, the boy demonstrated. He placed a ball in a large tube and stuck a smaller tube inside, which caused the ball to shoot out.
Olga, Early Childhood Learning Programs Developer

A girl, about 7 years old, found a sheet of cardboard with pre-cut circles (obviously some packaging leftover).  She inserted a cardboard cone in each of the circular holes and decorated them with ribbon and markers.  She asked if she could take it home as the cones were houses for fairies. She said that she had "a lot of fairies at home" and had made them a village.
Janice, Executive Director

A mom, dad and their 7 kids all busied themselves with their own projects, individually or in teams.  Parents and 11-year-old Alvin got to work building a drive-up coffee shop – a tall structure that required dad’s help to attach the roof and stabilize the building. They added a box to serve as the drive through window, and mom got to work illustrating the storefront.

Alvin himself labored over the food preparation, creating delicious donuts and M & M cookies from colorful foam shapes, which he served with coffee in small cardboard cylinders. And “Alvin's Coffee Shop” was born!

After offering free samples to rave reviews, Alvin created a menu to post by the window. When everything was ready, he took his station and provided stellar service in a structure that mom was amazed to find that they'd spent over an hour and a half building. Upon watching this wonderful moment unfold, I was struck that Alvin’s Coffee Shop might just be our own version of Caine’s Arcade!
Megan, Communications Director


Unknown said...

I would love to buy a coffee from Alvin's Coffee shop! Thank you for sharing all of these great observations of your community at play!

Megan Fischer, Providence Children's Museum said...

Thanks for your comment - it was truly a magical and inspiring day!