Bethany Lynn Corey is the Thinkery’s Early Learners Manager. Baby Bloomers in the Park is a free event hosted at Mueller Lake Park every Monday 9-11am through the end of November 2013.
Young children have incredible imaginations. Throughout the course of a single day preschool age children often shift between a variety of characters. They may become a puppy dog while eating their snack, a parent as they care for their doll, a firefighter while riding their bike and a monster as they knock down a block tower. For children, pretend play allows them to try on different roles and practice using new words in the safe space of becoming someone or something else. Within pretend play young children become resourceful, repurposing an item they have to become something their character ‘needs’ as they fully commit to entering the imaginary world of their character.
On Monday October 21, I watched young children and their caregivers step into role as engineers, architects, artists and even a few puppies and knights during Baby Bloomers in the Park’s Big Build. I modeled the idea after Polyglot Theatre Company’s We Built This City, putting aside some of the hundreds of boxes the Thinkery has used as we moved into our new museum then bringing them out to the park for a special edition of Baby Bloomer’s in the Park. It was my hope that children and adults would enjoy working together to explore all the possibilities for creative play that can be found in cardboard boxes and roles of tape.
I loved seeing all the smiles as adults and children worked together to create tall towers, using scissors to turn boxes into tunnels and spiraling tape to decorate flags, swords and suitcases! Some of our youngest friends, who are not yet walking, enjoyed playing peek-a-boo through the flaps of boxes or being taken for a ride inside a big box as their parents pulled them along. During our sing-along, we turned our boxes into drums making the sounds of loud thunder and soft quiet raindrops. It is so important to remember that young children learn through play. To know that as a one-year-old topples over a tower of boxes they are exploring cause and effect, that a two-year-old covering a box with tape is practicing her fine motor skills and learning about colors while a three-year-old who asks to use the scissors so he can turn the closed box into a tunnel is acting as a young engineer and using his creative problem-solving skills.
I love seeing the youngest Austinites learn through play and feel lucky to be a part of a community that values creating unique hands-on experiences for children to create, learn and grow. This past Monday I saw everyone, big and small, working as a community to create, decorate and innovate together! I look forward to seeing more young Austinities, their families and caregivers this Monday for our Pumpkin Party (Costumes encouraged) from 9-11am at Mueller Lake Park! Don’t worry if you can’t make it this Monday we have more creative, educational and unique activities planned for future Baby Bloomers events!
Baby Bloomers in the Park is a free event hosted at Mueller Lake Park every Monday 9-11am through the end of November 2013. It features storytime, sing-alongs and early learning activities designed for children 0-3. On December 9, 2013 Baby Bloomers will move into its new home at the Thinkery every Monday 9am-12pm and Saturday 9-10am. The Thinkery will open during these times exclusively for children ages 0-3. Discover the exhibits in a relaxed atmosphere with other families with small children. Enjoy special programming and performances specially designed for the youngest learners!
Baby Bloomers Admission: $4.50 or $2.50 (Members) per person