We hope everyone is having a wonderful spring so far. Starting today, let’s reopen the flood gates of communication, education, laughing, loving, and learning!

Here at KidsQuest Children’s Museum, it has always been our belief that children thrive in an environment that balances co play with independent play, and allows for safe risk and exploration. This post is inspired by these core beliefs and the powerful reminder to continue moving in that direction, along with the positive impact it will have on our children.  Last week several of our staff attended the Association of Children’s Museums (ACM) Interactivity conference in Denver, where Gever Tulley gave a powerful keynote address.

The theme of this years conference was FEARLESS.  Tulley’s captivating presentation inspired us to continue providing children with experiences that encourage tinkering, creativity, and problem-solving while giving them the time, tools and autonomy to create and take risks! Gever Tulley is an American writer, speaker, educator, entrepreneur, and computer scientist.  He has delivered multiple TED talks on his work, published the book 50 Dangerous Things (You Should Let Your Children Do), and has contributed articles for many online media outlets.

Tulley’s book, 50 Dangerous Things (You Should Let Your Children Do), discusses the notion that NOT doing dangerous things might be causing more damage to our children and ourselves than doing them.These same beliefs are why, when designing the museum, the first thing you see when you walk through the front door is the Atrium Climber. Rising two stories above the ground, it symbolizes part of our mission, to gives children the opportunity to learn safe risk through the power of play and exploration. In allowing children to climb high and take risks, they practice independent thinking and self-reflection, improve strength, safety awareness, develop social skills, and cultivate confidence. During Tulley’s presentation, he truly defined what it means to be a Children’s Museum. The power we have as a hands on museum is to create environments for the children in our communities and beyond, that spur children to experience and explore on their own, is truly invaluable.  We provide this type of freedom of play through our exhibits as well as programming.

Recycle Rebuild is an exhibit space for multi-disciplinary creativity from woodworking to electronics and everything in between, and combines it all with real tools and experienced educators. Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math (STEAM) is the basis of this space. In having hammers out and available in this space every day, we encourage children to use tools to facilitate their independence and cognitive growth. Cognitive growth is shown by progressive maturation of thought, reasoning, and intellect, esp. in school-aged children.

Using a hammer to pound a nail into a board gives children an appreciation for the people who do it, and highlights the difference between knowing what something is, and knowing how to do it. With safety goggles and hammer in hand, children strengthen their fine motor skills, reasoning and improve their safety awareness. In Recycle Rebuild we also offer several programs that encourages building perseverance and new skills as the children tinker with recycled materials and tools. In Quest Club children take part in a STEAM based lab that allows the development of their scientific knowledge through hands-on experiments and technical challenges. At Tool Time Tuesday children learn about tool safety and practice building with real tools, often times having the opportunity to engineer and create.

We designed our exhibits and programming to continue to give children from all walks of life, the opportunity to take a risk, play, and explore the world around them through open-ended, purposeful, and flexible play.

So the next time you visit the museum and your child ducks under the two story climber and climbs a little bit higher than the last time they tried, and smiles down at you full of pride, know that all is right with the world and they will continue to climb high!