It’s finally here! On Saturday, August 31 the museum’s beloved Playscape gallery will be ready for early learners—infants through the preschool years—and their adults to play and learn together! But what makes the new Playscape different? Read on to learn how the re-envisioned space will be just what you’ve been waiting for.
The original Playscape—the museum’s signature early childhood learning gallery—opened in 1981, making the museum one of the first in the nation to offer a dedicated early learning space for infants, toddlers, and preschool children. From the start, we set the pace! But in the years since Playscape was last updated in 1992, our knowledge of how and when children learn early science, math, and language concepts has grown dramatically.
We know that young children learn through play. It’s how they make sense of the world around them. And young children have an incredible capacity to observe, explore, experiment, and wonder—always building on their prior experiences. Activities and programs in the new Playscape use object-based learning and visual literacy to encourage children to notice details about the objects around them. The design of the gallery is inspired by the Reggio Emilia educational philosophy which considers the environment to be the third teacher, provoking curiosity and learning. To encourage this open-ended experience, Playscape provides endless opportunities for children to express themselves.
Since August 2012, we've been hard at work
enlarging the gallery, carving out windows to let in natural light, and creating new interactive elements that allow families to participate in the experiences alongside their children. Activities that you've always loved—such as water- and sand-play—are part of the new Playscape
, reinvented in a beautiful, nature inspired setting. Babyscape
is a sensory space with special areas for infants and toddlers to explore. We've also added a spectacular new climber, Art and Music Studios with authentic materials and instruments, and interactive elements like Blockopolis and the Reaction Contraption, which engage children in play that teaches foundation concepts of science, math, and engineering.
There’s so much to see and discover in the new Playscape! Make the most of your experience with these Playscape Tips:
Remember! Playscape isn’t just for kids—every area of the gallery is designed for you to participate with your little one.
On busy days avoid waiting in line by asking the Playscape Greeter about a “QuickTick.” Come back at a later time and skip the line! “QuickTicks” are not available in advance and can only be picked up at the entrance to the Playscape gallery.
Due to the risk of serious food allergies no food or drink will be allowed inside of Playscape.
Preschool groups visit Playscape on Tuesday and Wednesday mornings. Avoid these times if you are looking for a quieter experience.
Remind children over 5 that they can be good helpers and watchers by standing back and using their eyes and ears to observe and watch out for younger children.
Learn even more about Playscape's top 10 elements: Babyscape, The Climber, The Creek, The Sandbox, Art Studio, Music Studio, Whirly Twirly Tower, Reaction Contraption, Mothers' Rooms, and the Environment.
We love seeing how your children are learning and growing in Playscape. Feel free to share your discoveries on our Facebook wall or by using the #Playscape hashtag on Instagram and Twitter.
Playscape is made possible through lead gift support of PNC Foundation, with additional support provided by The Efroymson Family Fund, a CICF Fund, W.B. Fortune, the Joseph F. and G. Marlyne Sexton Family, The Children’s Museum Guild, the Harlan Family Foundation, the Ruth Lilly Philanthropic Foundation, Jane and Steve Marmon, Jerry and Elsie Martin, Randall and Deborah Tobias, and Peyton Manning Children’s Hospital at St.Vincent.