Madison Children's Museum Blog

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Big Door, Little Door

By Joyce Hemphill (Queen of Play)

Bldg Point from Cap 2012On a recent visit to the Children’s Museum I overheard the following conversation:

Child: “Mom! I have a joke for you. Why is there a little door and a big door at the Children’s Museum?”

Mom: “I don’t know, why?”

Child: “So everyone can come in.”

I love the jokes children tell. It’s fascinating how a child’s sense of humor changes as they mature. When my sons first started telling jokes it didn’t matter what the joke was about, but what did matter was that it included the words stinky diapers. Whenever stinky diapers was uttered their uncontrollable laughter was sure to follow. Within a year or so they moved on to knock-knock jokes. And not long after they were finding comedy in the playful use of language by taking certain words and swapping them with their phonetic twins. “Why was six afraid of seven?” Answer: “Because seven ATE nine.”

So when I heard the joke about the museum doors it reminded me of those times my sons used humor to find fun in the world around them. Sometimes these jokes ended on silly punchlines obvious to the listener even before they were revealed. And sometimes this obviousness hinted at something more meaningful.

After a while it struck me how insightful this young comedian was. The museum is a place where everyone can come in. There are a variety of programs aimed at lowering any barriers that prevent families from visiting. These programs include Free Family Night and Family Access rates for both daily admission and annual memberships, providing families of all income levels with an opportunity to come through those doors and experience playful learning.

Play brings kids together. When families walk through those doors they enter a space where they can make new connections. From the Wildernest to the Rooftop Ramble, there are always possibilities for interactive and open-ended play. The more opportunities children have to meet and get to know one another, the stronger their social skills become. Through collaboration they learn to better express themselves creatively while becoming empathetic listeners. And these skills are critical for future success.

So the next time you see the little door and big door, take your pick, go inside and experience the benefits of play … and that is no joke.

YiP! (Yours in Play)



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This entry was posted on April 8, 2017 by in Access, Museum Happenings, Play and learning.

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