Note: This article was originally published in The Link magazine.
With each trip to the Children’s Museum of South Dakota, families find new and different ways to explore — especially in the summer, when our outdoor prairie comes to life in a whole new way, sprouting from snow-covered prairie grasses filled with bunny tracks and chattery birds, to green grass and sand pits surrounded by playful, squealing children. The land that was once quiet, muffled by a thick blanket of snow, transitions to open space for running and exploring.
Children see summers as a time to play without the worry of schedules and school work. Somehow as adults, we don’t experience it that way but that doesn’t mean we can’t pretend. After all, everyone who sets foot into the Children’s Museum is invited to travel back to childhood and play along, letting their imagination swoop them away from the worries of the day.
Here are some of the ways we’re letting our imaginations soar this summer (summer 2018):
- It’s our second summer with Tangle Town, an outdoor installation built by artist Patrick Dougherty with help from volunteers and museum staff. Featuring six tons of saplings, it’s a space to create a home, play hide and seek, or just touch, feel, and explore.
- Our stream is filled with water, allowing children a place to fish, splash, or build dams.
- New this summer is a science, technology, engineering, art and math (STEAM) Camp for children age 5-12. The all-day camp offers two (similar) sessions, June 18-22, 2018 and July 23-27, 2018, with opportunities for activities such as doodling robots, science and technology challenges and saving the city from toxic popcorn. (You’ll have to attend to figure out what that last one means!)
- The second floor of the museum will be abuzz with a variety of programming ranging from Mini Maker Studios featuring play-dough, finger paint, and fizzy bubbles, to Make-n-Takes with the pottery wheel, screen printing, and canvas painting.
- Additionally, weekdays from 1-4 p.m. we feature bonus programming, offering people a chance to make, tinker, and play in our Maker Studio or explore exhibits from days gone by. Even the blue blocks!
As summer changes routines in your life it’s a great reminder to see play everywhere, and anywhere. You don’t have to be in Tangle Town to imagine what you can make out of sticks. You don’t even have to be in our Maker Studio to start creating. Whatever experience you take out of the Children’s Museum of South Dakota can follow you wherever you go.
Take time to come and play with us this summer. Then, bring that play to the world: we invite you to share how you play. What can you make out of sticks? What can you find near a stream?
Make those things. Find those things. And if you are so inclined, share those things with us! Find us on social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram), tag us, and use #PlayAlongSD.
We can’t wait to see how you explore!