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Our goal at the museum was simple – to create a series of videos that bring to life tips that parents can use to enhance the learning that happens when their kids play. We wanted to do something different than we have in the past. We wanted to get away from a talking head-type video and get more creative and more engaging. Enter Pixel Farm, an award-winning creative studio based in Minneapolis.
Our children give us a gazillion reasons to capture moments with pictures on a daily basis. And when we snap that pic, what is often the very first thing they say? “Let me see!” Or, if not talking yet they likely just stomp right over and snatch the camera out of your hand to take a look-see for themselves. While today’s societal standard of “instant gratification” is appreciated on one hand, it also can mean a more uphill battle for learning how to persevere when things take a little longer or don’t go as expected on the other.
Everyone enjoys a dose of fun, but did you know that kids tend to absorb information, both simple and complex, easier when they are engaged in some form of play. When they play it’s fun, but it’s also a key opportunity for learning. Studies show that while play can appear purposeless, it produces pleasure and joy; and there’s intrinsic motivation when activities are freely chosen and directed, especially by kids.
In his book, Making is Connecting, David Gauntlet argues that the process of making connects us as humans to each other and to the world around us. Gauntlet juxtaposes making with passive consumerism, and argues that human beings are able to know the world more intimately when they create things rather than simply receive them. Gauntlet suggests that “small acts of creativity can change the world” and that what people need is platforms for creativity to help them along, give them a nudge.
Do you remember transforming into your favorite superhero as a child to save the day or draping blankets across the living room to build forts? Well research links pretend play now to future innovative thinkers.
The museum’s Learning Innovation Division led the design and production of the exhibits. Barbara Hahn, the museum’s vice president for learning innovation, provides more detail about how the museum tackled this big task.
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