News From Terre Haute, Indiana

Local & Bistate

February 26, 2013

Children's Museum debuts Imagination Station today

TERRE HAUTE — The Terre Haute Children¹s Museum today will debut Imagination Station, a fun new exhibit area designed to inspire open-ended, creative play.

The centerpiece of the area is a new exhibit called Imagination Playground. The components of the exhibit itself are simple ­ big blue foam blocks of all shapes and sizes ­ but when they are combined with the imagination and creativity of children, these components can be transformed into a variety of amazing things. They can create animals, robots, and houses, or they can even invent games to play.

Imagination Playground is a breakthrough playspace concept conceived and designed by renowned architect David Rockwell. It was developed to encourage child-directed, unstructured play, ­ the kind of free play that experts say is critical to a child¹s healthy development.

With a focus on "loose parts," ­ an assortment of open-ended, movable objects, ­ Imagination Playground stimulates kids¹ creativity and inspires them to invent their own ways to play. Children can shape their environment, move props around, work together to create imaginative structures, and make up their own stories, rules and games.

Educators and child development experts have long recognized that block play builds serious skills ­ hand-eye coordination and fine motor development, spatial awareness, and foundational math and science thinking. Imagination Playground blocks also invite collaboration. The big foam pieces encourage kids and families to work together to construct elaborate structures, creating an active, social play experience.

"We are so excited to introduce Imagination Playground to our guests," said Lynn Hughes, executive director of the Museum. "This is a unique exhibit because it allows our guests to, literally, make their own open-ended fun. There¹s no right or wrong way to play with the pieces. We can¹t wait to see what our guests will create!"

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