Friday, February 28, 2014

Grown-Ups at Play!

We love it when parents and caregivers have a great time at the Museum – playing with or without their kids! Staff and volunteers shared these stories of "big kids" at play.

A father sat by himself making a kaleidoscopic design in ThinkSpace, stacking and restacking tiles.  Referring to one of the challenge cards, he turned a tile and changed the order of the stack.  After a few tries, he checked the design he made against the original.  He then lifted his head, turned around and looked – perhaps for his family.  Finding no one, he put his completed design on the show-off shelf and selected a new challenge to try.  More than 20 minutes later, he was still in the same spot, working on another design, this time with a kid at his side.
Robin, Director of Exhibits

I like to engage adult visitors and give them an invitation to play.  A dad and his three girls came into Discovery Studio and I showed them a ball-in-a-cup toy and challenged him to try it. It turned into a family competition, and dad won! I saw them again the next week and he said, “Remember me? I’m the champion!” 
Wendy, Play Guide
A dad does some SERIOUS block building!

I was in Water Ways and started “seeding” the area with fun surprises.  I was inspired to do one of my favorites when I saw a young visitor using a watering can.  I set up three waterwheels on top of one another and set a watering can down next to them. When I walked by a few minutes later, a mother was pouring water into the wheels. She noticed me, grinned sheepishly and said, "I am such a kid sometimes."   I responded, "Who do you think put it there?"  We laughed together, creating a moment of emphasis on ageless fun.
Meg, AmeriCorps Museum Educator

Children were playing with homemade play dough in Discovery Studio. A dad with two children (daughter about 5 years old and son about 2) sat at the end of the table and started to work with the dough. “Is that a monkey or a dog?” I asked him. “I don’t know yet,” he replied. When I looked back 10 minutes later, he’d created a dinosaur, three ducks, a dog and a cat and had his beautiful creations all lined up!
Olga, Early Childhood Programs Developer

Friday, February 21, 2014

PlayWatch: The Things Kids Say…

When you work at a children’s museum, you get to have a lot of wonderful conversations with kids! Here are some great child comments shared by our staff.

There were a few kids playing on Estrella (the Museum’s Super Chairwoman) and one of them was sitting up high saying, "I'm a king! I'm a king!"  He was very excited and seemed to be having a great time playing with his friends.  On my way into Discovery Studio, I smiled at him and asked him if he was having fun.  He smiled back at me, wiped his brow and said, "I always have fun when I sweat."  I knew just what he meant.
Valerie, Graphic Designer

We were in Fefa's market one afternoon examining a component that needed a little fixing.  We were so focused on the component that we hardly noticed the visitors playing all around us.  One little girl at the cafe counter looked right at us and exclaimed, "Hey, are you going to order something or what?"  We immediately snapped to and ordered something off the menu.  She made us some delicious papaya shakes.
Robin, Exhibits Director

A 9-year-old was in Coming to Rhode Island with a heap of plastic apples, clams, onions, etc. in her arms, heading toward the Colonial gallery.  "Those French people took the Pilgrims' food!," she said.
Janice, Executive Director

A 4-year-old boy named Caleb and I were playing in Water Ways, making a road for a dragon from sand bags and the maze tubes. Towards the end of our building adventure, Caleb's mom wanted him to try making a boat move through the maze. Caleb looked up and said, "Kids are smarter than grown-ups because kids know how to play better." His mother and I shared a big laugh and she looked at him and said, "You're right!"
Megan B., Experience Coordinator

Click here for more clever kid conversations.

Monday, February 10, 2014


Discover Winter-saurs!, playful scenes in the atrium walkway window boxes featuring curious dinosaurs enjoying a wealth of winter adventures – skiing, sledding, building snowmen and warming up with some cozy indoor activities as well.

Inspired by the hilarious Dinovember’s mischievous dinos and created by Natalie Hodson (a RISD work-study student graduating this year with a degree in Industrial Design), the display is packed with funny and charming details that also give a nod to the winter Olympics.

These daring dinos are on display through March, so don’t miss their adventurous antics!

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

A Head Start Story

This story was shared by AmeriCorps Museum Educator Jack Read.

The Head Start team visits each classroom before their Museum field trip and reads a book we created that describes the many fun things the children will do at the Museum.  There is a moment in the book where Nori, the Museum dragon, bellows.  This is a big word for 3- to 5-year-olds, so we always ask if they know what it means; we take the opportunity to teach literacy when we can.  We describe it as speaking with a loud, deep voice and ask them to say the word with us that way.  “Belllllowwwwwwwwww!” we say in unison.

A week after we visited Carter Head Start Center, it was time for the children to come play in the Museum, some for the very first time.  I was in Play Power with my group when a 4-year-old girl climbed onto the platform under the dome and said “Hellooooo!  I just bellowed, like in the book!”  I was so happy to see that something we taught them had stuck like that!