Nature once again takes center stage at Kidspace Museum in Pasadena. A few weeks ago, Kidspace opened its latest exhibit called the Greenhouse. In keeping with the overall feel of museum, the Greenhouse is learning-oriented, tactile, interactive, and fun.
The minute the first guests, (adorable pre-schoolers) entered the space they had ladybugs placed in their palms. They loved it, some thinking they had new pets while others took them to the gardens beds to free them. Thus the beginning of an adventure that includes a variety of hands-on art and science activities that included clay play and pot making, stained glass projects, compost projects and lots of garden interaction.
And that’s the big idea behind the Greenhouse — it is designed to be the test platform for program ideas, exhibits and experiences that will be part of the new renovated Kidspace Gardens, which is scheduled to debut this fall. Both these exhibits are about giving young kids big experiences with the natural world: how things grow, the role of insects, compost, water. As Tim Scheidler, Marketing and IT manager for Kidspave said, “It’s never too early for kids to learn about conserving water. “ The same can be said for composting, understanding erosion, learning about plants that are native to different environments.
These outdoor exhibits also allow kids to get messy and dirty and have real tactile sensory experiences, in ways that aren’t dependent on screens. Although, Tim points out they “sneak” a little technology in. There is a moss / water garden that when played with, creates music that you can hear in the green house.
What’s fun about the Greenhouse and the Kidspace Museum in general is the informal, kid-driven feel of the place. Like they did with their Imagination Workshop, which is an area of the museum that does focus on technology, Kidspace encourages kids to help curate the exhibit through the projects they invent, complete and then are put out on display. Kids creations line the glass walls of the Imagination exhibit and it likely won’t be long before the similar work is featured both in the Greenhouse and the larger exhibit coming this fall.
The Greenhouse which is geared towards kids ages 4 to 10 is open from 10:00am to 3:00 pm and located in the Central Courtyard.
Written by Cary Bickley