Things you might hear after a trip the the Children’s Museum of Findlay: “Mom! I jumped in the 8-1-1 swimming pool, and then we went to Great Scot and I pretended to help Daddy check-out our groceries. We had to take all of the groceries to our house and, don’t worry, I helped Daddy put them away and do the dishes with the Whirlpool dishwasher.”
Our global pandemic has not just been an isolating experience for adults, but it’s truly made it challenging for our children. Childhood development comes from everything they get to experience: conversations with their peers, interactions with their elders, time spent at school, sports they may play, and how involved they become within their communities.
“Look! I can still go to school even though I don’t usually go on Thursdays and Fridays…” Thanks to the University of Findlay School House exhibit, preschoolers and all children can remain familiar with the classroom setting and enjoy role playing with other children or siblings.
Up until recently, the Children’s Museum of Findlay has been a safe place for our local children to learn through active and imaginary play. There are countless studies as to why free play matters for a child’s cognitive, physical, social, and emotional well-being. I’m not going to talk about that, though. What I want to talk about are these smiles from our children. These smiles say it all! Think of your children, your grandchildren, and the children of your closest family and friends. Their development comes from a culmination of everything they get to experience, and it matters for their future. Yes, some of their well-being is thanks to you, but the community where we choose to raise our children stands as a key factor in their educational opportunities as well as reinforcement for what kind of human they will become. By making opportunities like the Museum available to them, we are assisting in the development of future community partisans and leaders and, most importantly, we are bringing smiles to their faces. We are spreading childhood joy.
We are so fortunate to have the Children’s Museum of Findlay. The museum offers free play exhibits for exploration, pretend play, S.T.E.M activities, general children’s programming, and opportunities to refine gross and fine motor skills. A child and their family may play for hours and learn a little bit more about their immediate communities through sponsored exhibits.
However, the pandemic has caused memberships to drop and attendees to stay away. In fact, the museum is working at only 15% of capacity. A recent survey conducted by the museum with their opt-in email audience suggests that as many as 50% of respondents don’t feel comfortable in indoor public spaces due to COVID-19.
What could this mean for the museum? It may mean that our community loses a resource that has captivated the hearts of more than 40,000 visitors, annually. It could mean that our children have one less safe space to play. But, we all have a choice. Just as many of us have discovered we can work from anywhere, our children are learning how to be flexible and play from anywhere, too!
So, how can you help? If the museum has had an impact on you or your family, consider giving back or continuing your membership. If you have kids or grandkids who have enjoyed the museum at one point or another, come visit soon! The museum has been open under CDC guidelines and has incorporated a cleaning regimen that includes UVC disinfecting light and electrostatic sanitizing. Did you know, you can even host a private party for your family or friends?
If you do not feel comfortable coming to visit, then take the museum home with you! You can purchase a Play at Home themed box. Through September 30, 2020 you can purchase a Halloween themed Play at Home box and watch that playful smile return to your kiddos faces! If I feel safer staying away from indoor spaces at this time, at least my boys can have little parts of the museum at home. And, I can tell you that as it starts getting colder and darker earlier in the day, we are going to need an energy-outlet sooner rather than later. I can’t wait to go back to our museum!