The Importance of Play

Here at The Woodlands Children’s Museum, we take play seriously! We believe play is the key to life-long learning that empowers children and their families. Rather than being “just fun,” we recognize its role in helping children achieve success as adults. Play fosters early childhood development in the following ways:

• Physical skills – Movements like walking, crawling, climbing, and dancing during our weekly Boogie Bash involve the whole body to strengthen large muscle groups. Hands-on activities, such as using tools, making art, and manipulating elements, promote smaller muscle coordination. We also support physical exercise as part of ACM’s Let’s Move! Museums & Gardens and Good to Grow! leadership initiatives.

• Communication skills – Talking, listening, reading, and writing are all ways to communicate with others. Practicing these abilities from an early age contributes to social and emotional development as well.

• Social and Emotional skills – Learning how to get along with others through collaboration, negotiation, and respect builds excellent teamwork skills. Through play, one has more opportunities outside the classroom to resolve conflict, increase resilience, and exercise self-control not only with one’s self but also others.

• Critical thinking – Abilities such as problem solving, spatial reasoning, and decision making promote cognitive development in children. They gather information through different activities, like matching shapes or finding patterns, to understand the world around them. Asking open-ended questions and brainstorming solutions is the foundation for this kind of higher level thinking, which they can do at one of our many science-related programs such as E.A.R.L.Y. Robotics.

• Creativity – From science experiments to art making, creativity leads to all kinds of new discoveries. We provide many opportunities to inspire the imagination from our resident art bar to our wide offering of workshops. In addition, early childhood development experts cannot stress the importance of “playing pretend” enough. This type of play involves an imagined setting where children can safely explore real world situations to develop their skills.

• Cultural awareness – Experiencing other traditions, languages, and beliefs from around the world create a more culturally literate adult. The ability to step outside one’s own perspective to understand another is invaluable to celebrating cultural diversity while gaining a sense of place in the world. We support the diverse cultures represented in the community around us on both a small scale, such as making Latin-American inspired art projects in the Muse, to large events like our annual Chinese New Year celebration.

These skills help provide a foundation for children to reach one’s full potential as an adult. Our museum’s exhibits, educational programming, and special events are designed not just to excite but also educate young, curious minds. We welcome you to experience your own journey of discovery at The Woodlands Children’s Museum.

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