Creativity Jam – Imagine Minnesota Children’s Museum January 17, 2015 – May 10, 2015
There is a great story going around the free range parenting groups about a playground in the UK that is essentially a minimally supervised junkyard. Children entertain themselves for hours in an ever-changing landscape of open-ended “toys” such as discarded tires. (I’ve included a video at the bottom of this post). This is what the Imagine Room of Creativity Jam brought to mind when we had the opportunity to get a sneak peak on Friday afternoon.
Walking into the room, I was underwhelmed. It was a low-lit room full of random stuff. It felt unfinished. However, my kids did not feel the same way. They were off the minute we stepped through the door. The younger kids started by chasing around exercise balls while the older one joined the group building kid-sized structures with Styrofoam arches. Those arches continued to morph into new forms during the entire hour we visited the exhibit.
Other kids played with toy lanterns and a tee pee in the center of the room. Or sometimes those lanterns became part of the Styrofoam building. Various sized exercise balls and inner tubes bounced and rolled around the room, joined the Styrofoam building blocks or were used as seating. My favorite activity was bending a nylon column down as low as I could pull it and then letting it bounce back up to hit my husband in a game of chicken we invented. We had an hour to check out both portions of Creativity Jam, but we never left this room because there was no end to the games that could be invented in this magical room.
My four children range from newborn to 9 years old. The exhibit was ideally suited for the three and five year old with the younger mostly playing on his own and the older collaborating with other children. The oldest claimed she was bored after half an hour, but after I taught her the game of chicken with the nylon columns, she was back to inventing games or directing her brothers for the rest of the visit.
The baby wasn’t interested in any of this, obviously, but there were fluffy floor pillows where she could enjoy new tummy time sensations. However things were a little crazy during our visit, and this activity would be better suited to quieter times at the museum.
Despite the low, blue lighting and muted pallet of the room, the kids were absolutely wild. A child who is easily over-stimulated or has difficulty changing gears may also want to seek out quieter times to visit this exhibit.