Play in an educational museum or interactive playground gives children a chance to use their creativity. In the process, they start developing their physical, emotional, and cognitive skills. Their dexterity, coordination, and imagination also grow significantly. In short, childhood play offers a number of benefits to growing kids. Not only does it foster brain and physical development, but it also teaches children social skills. Through play, children learn how to interact with others and their environment.
Undirected play among children teaches them how to work in teams while sharing, negotiating, and resolving conflicts amicably. If you permit child-driven play, your child learns decision-making skills and independent thinking. Play also assists children in developing new competencies.
In fact, play can help in orienting children towards desirable careers such as those in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM). This can be beneficial to the children’s future because findings by the U.S Department of Commerce show that STEM careers are increasing by 17%. Non-STEM careers are growing at a measly 9.8%. If you want to promote a love of science, technology, and math in your little ones, then there are simple things you can do to inspire their active imagination. For obvious reasons, one of our favorite recommendations is to bring your family to an interactive children’s museum.
Why Visit A Children’s Play Museum?
A children’s educational museum is a fun place where children play outdoors and indoors alongside their peers and family. A museum for children is not only a fun place; it’s also a great learning environment. Researchers and education professionals agree that early literacy and numeracy experiences are essential for your child’s development of language, cognitive, and numeracy skills. Research also shows that play impacts a child’s academic performance positively. Children are capable STEM learners even in early childhood because they have great curiosity and they love to explore. Educational museums for children are specifically designed to create age-appropriate learning opportunities for kids. Through interactive exhibits, your children will have fun while learning about the world they inhabit.
To get the most out of your visit, here are five things to do when visiting an educational museum.
1. Encourage your child to be descriptive
You should ask your child to give descriptions of the features and attributes of what they hear and see. For instance, if a child sees an insect, ask the child to describe the size, color, and shape of the bug. In turn, you should restate and expand on their descriptions so as to increase their knowledge of STEM-related language.
2. Ask your child ‘why’ instead of ‘what’ questions
Ask queries that promote age-appropriate learning. For instance, asking: “What is happening to the bubbles?” is an easy question to answer. You should rather ask: “Why do the bubbles stick together?” The later question promotes a discussion between you and the child and it also elicits further probing of the phenomenon.
3. Urge your child to think about the space surrounding them
Encourage your child to think about where they are in time and space. If you’re looking at your educational museum map, ask your child where s/he is in relation to the main exit or play area. If you’re driving there, you can ask your child to give directions and estimate how long it might take to get there. This is important because research shows that there is a correlation between spatial orientation skills and STEM skills.
4. Encourage your child to notice features around them
You could ask your child questions that can help them notice things in their environment such as the plants, weather, seasons, the feeding of animals and the budding and blooming of flowers – just to mention, but a few. Such actions will make your child more observant and observation is a core scientific skill necessary for the development of STEM skills.
5. Engage your child in games that involve counting
Look for things to do with children that involve counting so as to help your child in building their numeracy skills, which are an essential part of the STEM skills. Board games are ideal in this area.
The educational museum is an ideal place for your child to develop physically, emotionally, and cognitively, while also growing their STEM skills. Play is the primary way that children learn new social and interpersonal skills, and children’s museums are designed for active play. Encourage the use of such educational play areas so that the entire family can keep learning through play.