If you live in Oklahoma, then I have got the field trip for you!
If you don’t live in Oklahoma then keep reading because the Tulsa Children’s Museum has inspired ideas that could be implemented in almost any home or classroom environment. The best part? All of their ideas are frugal and environmentally friendly.
One of our favorite parts of the museum was the slide!
An exerpt from the museum’s website says it best, “an amazing suspension bridge and 30 foot slide entirely made of packing tape. The innovative design, using principles of suspension bridge engineering, was developed by our staff—led by our resident physicist and Executive Director, Ray Vandiver, Ph.D. There are six layers of tape in each tunnel adding up to over 16 miles of tape! Kids, of all ages, love navigating the tunnels and bridges and are inspired by them to create their own extraordinary things out of ordinary materials.”
I know what you’re thinking, “Wouldn’t a slide made entirely of packaging tape be dangerous? It could break! The kids could fall!”
Not at all! Let me reassure you, this slide was tough. I went inside of it with my son (along with about a dozen other children) and the construction was obviously very solid.
Now, the slide itself was a ton of fun and by far our favorite part of the museum but there was a TON of other stuff to do there!
There was a workshop where children were given open-ended materials and encouraged to make whatever they wanted (LittleMan made a kite out of construction paper and washi tape, then flew it around the room).
There was a spot where you could put a ball in a tube, watch it be sucked up and it would fall out of the tube somewhere else in the room.
There was even a table with a sort of fan under neath of it blowing air out so you could suspend a ball above it in mid-air. (SunnyGirl really loved this!)
The one idea that I found that could be downsized and implemented in almost every home/classroom (without spending any money) was their block area.
The blocks were just plain cardboard boxes. When we were there, a group of children (pre-K – 2nd grade) had randomly decided to build a Parthenon out of the cardboard boxes. No input from the parents, no adult telling them what to make nor how to make it. Just a group of children working together, talking among themselves to create something they’d previously seen in a book or movie.
Think about how easily you could give your children that same opportunity to create. Even if you don’t have cardboard boxes on hand, most grocery stores have a ton of empty boxes in the back that they’d happily let you take off their hands. You could put together a block area in your basement, garage, or backyard and invite all your children’s friends over for an afternoon of building!
Our trip to the museum certainly left me feeling inspired. When we got home I started collecting plastic shopping bags to make something special for the kids, something I’ll be posting about very soon….
For more information about the Tulsa Children’s Museum visit http://tulsachildrensmuseum.org/