‘New ‘Mega Making’ exhibit opens at Stepping Stones Museum for Children
Published 12:00 am, Thursday, October 5, 2017
When it comes to interactive experiences where you can learn and let your imagination go wild, it doesn’t get much better than “Mega Making,” the new exhibit at Stepping Stones Museum for Children in Norwalk.
“The real meat of ‘Mega Making’ is that children and adults get to use all kinds of materials and real tools to come up with ideas about things they can make, and then put those ideas into practice,” said Kimberly Kuta Dring, director of learning and experience at the museum.
“It’s about self-directed learning through play, and the process of making,” she said of the exhibit, geared toward ages 2 and older.
“Mega Making” has stations with different focal points, such as art, textiles, woodworking and construction. For example, the textiles area includes items from sewing needles and thread, to sewing machines.
“Children and families can make a decision on what to create and practice using a machine,” she said. “You might create a beanbag or stitch your name in different colors or make a skirt.” Another option is hoop weaving, where you weave yarn or strips of material within a hoop. Staff members, called “play makers,” lend a hand when needed.
Stepping Stones Museum for Children, Mathews Park, 303 West Ave., Norwalk. “Mega Making” runs through Labor Day. Labor Day through Memorial Day, Tuesday-Sunday and holiday Mondays 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Memorial Day through Labor Day, Monday-Sunday 10 a.m.-5 p.m. $15 adults and children, $10 seniors. Children under 1 free. 203-899-0606, steppingstonesmuseum.org
“We don’t have a specific project in mind; we provide materials, tools and some guidance and creative questioning,” Kuta Dring said. “We hear adults say, ‘Oh, I remember when I learned how to do this’ or ‘Why don’t you try this?’ They love to share stories about things they’ve done or what they remember doing with grandma or grandpa.”
The woodworking construction area has such tools as hand-powered drills that are like egg beaters in that you use one hand to crank them into action. There are levels, hammers and screwdrivers, too. “Sometimes the exhibit team brings out power tools and handsaws. A boat is always an interesting thing for kids to make.”
Kuta Dring said it’s cool to see all the ideas kids come up with as they tinker. “Sometimes it’s a surprising thing that they decide to make, like a doll or robot out of wood — things we wouldn’t think of.”
While some families come and stay a short time, others stay hours, doing everything from taking apart old computers to using batteries and circuitry to get lights and buzzers working.
“Adults like it because it’s fun and it might remind them of their childhood. For children, it’s learning about creativity, collaboration, problem solving and communication — all skills that are so important for growth and development.”
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