Children are natural inventors and scientists…they learn through exploration, discovery and through trial and error. Stacking blocks until they fall…building chutes that carry a ball through endless curves and hills…building towers with moats and turrets…teaches creativity, patience, self-reliance, innovation, and persistence. And, in free play with others teaches socialization and acceptance. Through playful exploration and discovery, children learn to try, to fail, to try again and again, to make revisions and to finally succeed. The reward is in the journey…in the active participation and the experimentation of hands-on play. When my children were toddlers, I loved watching them play. Their persistence and flourishing imagination in self-directed play has always inspired me.
This weekend the Grand Forks Children’s Museum lent their Imagination Playground Blocks to the Artwise Student Art Fair at the Columbia Mall. Many area children participated in both the Artwise Student Art Fair as well as played with the Imagination Playground Blocks. It was fun to watch children build towers, create forts, and design chutes and channels. These blocks not only provided endless hours of fun, but they allowed the children the opportunity for hands-on creative play.
Participants were surveyed (children and adults participated in separate surveys). The preliminary results showed distressing news. The majority of children had never been to a Children’s Museum. It bears repeating…most of the children surveyed had never been to a Children’s Museum. The few that had been to a Children’s Museum traveled to Winnepeg or Minneapolis. After watching the children play this weekend and with fond memories of my children and the fun they have had, my resolve is even stronger to get the funding needed to build the Grand Forks Children’s Museum. I hope you will join me.