Forces at Play in the 3M Gallery is an exciting new exhibit that allows children to explore their imagination through practical everyday tasks.

Nichole Polifka, Director of Learning & Impact at Minnesota Children’s Museum, talks us through the first of 10 brand new gallery experiences here at Minnesota Children’s Museum.

Nichole is part of the team of dreamers whose task is  creating places for children and adults to utilize their body and minds through play. Forces at Play is the first exhibit of the newly renovated museum to execute this mission. The idea behind the exhibit was to use two of the elements, air and water, in new ways every time someone plays. There are no rules; there is no “right” or “wrong” way to play at the museum, especially in Forces. The child is essentially at the center of it all; they can consider every possibility and make playing what they want.

As Nichole explains, there is a mind and body connection, it’s open-ended, and child driven. Personal motivation prompts the play, which is very powerful because these children will be able to use these skills for the rest of their lives and practice these actions in the real world.

All of the galleries display what the museum believes are 7 vital skills for children to learn when they’re young. Nichole describes one of these skills as critical thinking which is the evaluation of an issue or task at hand and discerning it so you are able to use it effectively. Forces at Play proposes many opportunities for critical thinking to shine. Whether you’re pumping bubbles through hoses, pulling a lever to release water, or connecting pipes together to shoot ping-pong balls, you can find an opportunity to identify an object’s purpose, make predictions and adjustments and finally draw conclusions.

The new exhibits coming after the renovation will come with these same fantastic opportunities. Children and adults are going to be able to let their minds and bodies go on new adventures and explore endless possibilities here at Minnesota Children’s Museum.

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