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The Very First Children's Museum App

[[{"type":"media","view_mode":"media_large","fid":"39771","attributes":{"class":"media-image","typeof":"foaf:Image","style":"","alt":"Playscape App"}}]]By Jennifer Messmer, Director of Digital Communications
 
Obvious statement of the day: Technology has changed a lot since 1981. That’s the year the original Playscape exhibit opened at the museum. At the time, it broke new ground as one of the first exhibits in the nation to offer a dedicated early learning space for infants, toddlers, and preschool children. But over the years, it was loved by millions of little visitors, and was ready for a make-over
 
As plans came together our teams talked a lot internally and with outside advisors about the use of technology in this new exhibit. We all know that most kids age 5 and under can pick up a smartphone and learn how to use it in minutes! But after long discussions, we decided that rather than incorporating tablet activities in the exhibit, we would use technology in a different way—to compliment the hands-on experience and continue the learning at home. 
 
The result? An app for phones and tablets that features four activities for children ages 5 and under that correspond to elements your child can experience in Playscape. If you are able to visit the exhibit, the app will enhance your child's learning experience and help solidify new skills learned while exploring at the museum.
 
Activities include:
  • Forest Finds—Create your own nature collage by dragging images of leaves, flowers, sticks, and more onto a canvas. This is reflective of the creations you can make using a variety of natural materials in the Art Studio.
  • Flutter Fly—Touch the fireflies before they flutter off the screen. This is perfect to build on skills like tracking objects and hand eye coordination that our littlest visitors practice in Babyscape. (And let’s be honest, it’s not just for babies! My coworkers and I have had a few contests to see who can get the most fireflies.)
  • Fish Friends—Help a fish swim down a stream by removing obstacles in its path. This activity allows toddlers to problem solve and investigate new ways to move the fish through the stream just like they can do at the Creek in Playscape.
  • Reaction Contraption—Construct a contraption and then release a ball to watch it navigate down the path. This is the digital version of the very popular interactive Rube Goldberg contraption.
There are a lot of ways to bring Playscape home with you, the app we created is just one more! It’s now available in the iTunes Store and Android Market for phones and tablets.
 
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.
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