Playing with technology in a safe, creative and encouraging environment, like the one found at the Children’s Museum Fredericksburg, can have lasting positive benefits for children.
The benefits of technology aren’t hard to find in the daily life of a parent, whether they be derived from the convenience of immediate access to a global range of information or simply being in contact with the babysitter to answer a quick question.
But how does technology benefit children? And more specifically, how can play that’s technology-focused be a productive part of helping children learn and grow?
These are the kinds of questions that are answered every day at the Children’s Museum Fredericksburg—and the answers are as unique and varied as the children who come here to play.
Through play, children are able to enhance both their physical and mental development in healthy and productive ways—ways that can even help them perform better in school. As they say at the Children’s Museum, when children play ahead, they get ahead.
As such, technology-based play can be a powerful part of promoting learning in early childhood and beyond, especially as children start to explore past their earliest forms of play and as technology becomes a more prevalent part of children’s lives.
Education in the areas commonly abbreviated as STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math) is of growing importance for early learners and, by extension, their families. At the Children’s Museum Fredericksburg, the entire family is encouraged to engage in the power of play, knowing that everyone can learn more—and learn better—when they play together.
Several current Children’s Museum exhibits focus directly on technology and innovation, including Fantastic Future Me, a fun, interactive activity that’s designed to encourage and inspire children by allowing them to picture themselves taking on a positive, professional role in the future. Using a large touch screen and camera, children take a photo of their face and then drag and drop elements that represent different careers and grown-up roles onto their own picture, mixing and matching their own personal interests and future aspirations to create a one-of-a-kind “Future Me.” Once they’ve finalized their “Future Me,” it can then be sent via email, or shared on Facebook and on Twitter. When the child’s image arrives in the recipient’s inbox, it also includes extra information and tips on how to keep the child involved in the subjects and careers in which they’ve expressed an interest.
Meanwhile, in the Children’s Museum Fredericksburg Dentist’s Office (sponsored by Rappahannock Orthodontics), children can explore more than simply the proper way to use a toothbrush (although they can do that, too!). Using a 3-D printer, the museum’s exhibit team has created several oversize versions of demonstration teeth that children can interact with and manipulate. It’s just one example of how new technology (such as 3-D printing) can help maintain and improve exhibits at the Children’s Museum.
An active construction zone called the Construction House (sponsored by Atlantic Builders)—with children safely swinging hammers, building brick walls and investigating electrical wiring—can be found at the Children’s Museum Fredericksburg as well. It’s an exhibit that can prompt children’s conversations about architecture, home technology and much more, while making comparisons to the places where they live. Finding similarities and differences helps children make sense of the world around them.
Of course, children may be too busy having fun to notice all that they are learning from technology! Visit the Children’s Museum Fredericksburg today to see more exciting ways that technology can encourage learning through play.