The Children’s Museum of Green Bay is an interactive environment where children and adults can connect and where play inspires a passion for lifelong learning. We like to say, “it’s a place where children play to learn and parents learn to play.” Besides our interactive exhibits, we also offer daily drop-in programming, generally STEM and art related. Through these programs, children are able to explore and experiment in a non-threatening setting. Many times parents are just as enthralled and engaged as their children with the experimentation. It isn’t uncommon to hear a parent say, “We should do this more at home!” or “I actually learned something new today.” These are the golden moments for us because now something learned at the museum is being transferred to the home, fostering positive associations with STEM for the entire family.
The importance of these interactions comes with offering guidance instead of correction. It’s very easy to want to tell children how to do things so that they are immediately successful, but the learning comes in the problem solving. As a parent, good guidance can come in the form of questioning. Instead of telling your child, “Your tower will not balance because it’s too narrow at the bottom,” try “Which block shapes do you think will make the strongest base for your tower?” This encourages critical thinking, which is crucial in STEM career fields and is a skill that should be fostered at a very young age. The Children’s Museum is the perfect place for adults and children to have these kinds of interactions.
At The Children’s Museum of Green Bay, we put an emphasis on STEM learning. STEM isn’t just for older children, but should definitely be inclusive of our littlest learners as well. When our little visitors are going through the tunnels of our larger than life Digestive System, scooping and pouring water in the boat of our Water Gallery, building a tower in Under Construction, or searching for birds in our Mighty Oak Tree, they are learning STEM concepts through play. Curiosity and inquiry are a natural part of play. When nurtured, these traits grow into creativity and innovation, giving children valuable tools for their future.
Gina Anderson, Program Manager at The Children’s Museum of Green Bay