Where Learning and Play Collide: 5 Reasons to Purchase a Play Pack from The Iowa Children’s Museum
Looking for screen-free activities over spring break? The Iowa Children’s Museum in Coralville has you covered! Our activity kits, called Play Packs, were designed by museum educators (like me!) to have everything you need for hands-on learning at home.
Play Packs are for everyone
The different themes for our activity kits encourage imagination and discovery for every kid. If your child likes space, check out our “Out of this World” pack. Are they a wizard in training? Grab a “Magical Mysteries” pack. Maybe they like to build things and tear them down? Our “Crash Course in Engineering” pack is for you.
Play Packs encourage open-ended play
Encouraging play and imagination is the main goal of each Play Pack. The activities provide a structure for creativity and curiosity, but the learning is child-led. For example, in our “Out of this World” Play Pack, kids create a flight deck to complete their space mission. The functions of the flight deck are solely up to them! Should this gauge measure temperature or speed? Is this dial for fuel or turning up the music in your rocketship? By setting goals in activities like “make a flight deck that allows you to go to Mars” children are better prepared to handle changes in their environment.
Multiple activities mean hours of play and learning
Our education team designed Play Pack activities to build upon each other. They offer different ways of approaching a concept and materials that allow the activities to withstand play. In our “Crash Course in Engineering” Play Pack, for example, there are multiple ways to build a marble run roller coaster so kids can create their own structures rather than follow a set of step-by-step instructions. This allows for more fun while encouraging resiliency, critical thinking, and problem-solving—key skills for any engineer!
Our Play Packs promote focus and self-control
Life is stressful and paying attention is hard, even for grown-ups. These Play Packs allow children to practice skills like working memory (remembering what we need to know in order to do something) and cognitive flexibility (being flexible in our response to the environment and circumstances around us).
Extra ways to play during spring break
Although the ICM Play Packs are designed to be screen-free, we are offering Online FunLABs with ICM educators during spring break for a deeper dive into the play! Join us on Zoom to build mazes, create a magical book, and more! Access to these FunLAB workshops is included with a Play Pack purchase.
Are you ready to play? Visit theicm.org/playpacks to learn more!
About the Author
Rebekah Domayer is an education program coordinator for the Iowa Children’s Museum. She creates programming for school-age children which includes field trips, drops off programming, community outreach, and after-school programming. She specializes in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) programs and has a bachelor’s degree in Science Education.