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  • Elizabeth Everett

Playful Learning: Books and Beyond!

By: Elizabeth Everett, Author of This Is the Sun


How many ways can you think of to bring books to life?


A great place to start is by inviting children to explore and learn through play. But, playful learning isn't just about having a blast—it's about sparking curiosity and imagination, empowering children to take charge of their educational journey.


This approach to making learning engaging can take many forms, but one fantastic gateway is through books!


For example, after reading a bubble book, a kid can dive into soapy spheres using different-shaped bubble wands! Or, if they've just finished a book about the sun, they can explore shadows indoors with flashlights or outdoors with sidewalk chalk.


Credit: Salmon Public Library Credit: Go Science Kids Credit: Adventure Science Center


Another great way to engage in playful learning is by visiting your local children's museum. There are countless opportunities for learning through play at museums. My family and I particularly love visiting our local children’s museum in Lafayette, Colorado:



Imagine yourself stepping into the WOW! Children’s Museum in Colorado, where every corner invites young minds to explore through interactive exhibits. From a replica bank with a drive-up window to a health and wellness clinic waiting to be explored, or pulley chairs ready for hands-on physics lessons, the museum fosters playful learning experiences.


Over the years, my son's favorite exhibits have ranged from the sensory room and wind room to the giant bubble maker, each visit sparking new excitement and curiosity!


Sensory room (left), giant bubble maker (middle), wind room (right) at Wow! Children's Museum in Colorado


And now, among these wonders is a special addition: a vibrant summer bug exhibit featuring my very own book  This Is the Sun! Having spent so much of my personal time there, you can imagine my excitement when the museum asked to feature my book.

I was beyond delighted and loved watching it all come together.


          Cover of "This Is the Sun"   Books displayed for purchase at Wow! Children's Museum



 The museum team beautifully enlarged the main scene from the book into a striking backdrop measuring four feet by six feet. On top of that, they created movable magnets featuring animals and bugs from the scene (plus some scat!), encouraging children to interact with the story elements and craft their unique narratives.


Magnets featured in the display at Wow! Children's Museum Backdrop of "This Is the Sun"


The final product far exceeds my expectations! It’s vibrant, dynamic, and immediately evokes wonder and excitement. The exhibit celebrates the illustrations and storyline of the book, while playfully promoting literacy and exploration. I adore how interactive it is, letting kids delve into food chains (and bugs!) in a fun, hands-on way.


   Wow! Children's Museum's "Create Space" in Colorado Author's son, Jalen, building his own narrative!


Beyond the museum walls, the excitement continues as kids explore their

neighborhoods, observing and sketching bugs—an activity that could lead

to their creations being featured in future exhibits!


"BUG" exhibit featuring the light board and instructions at the WOW! Children's Museum in Colorado


This celebration of curiosity and creativity will be on display through September 2024, closing with the museum’s annual fundraiser. If you know of any little learners eager to bring books to life through playful learning, I urge you to seek out your local children’s museum(s) and support the incredible work they do.



Whether you’re in Lafayette or

browsing online, don’t miss the chance to visit wowchildrensmuseum.org and discover how playful learning can foster lifelong skills and unforgettable memories! You can check out more of Science, Naturally books, HERE.








     Author posing by her book display

 

About Elizabeth Everett

read aloud volunteer program reading literacy early childhood worthy cause crystal merrill

Elizabeth Everett spent 16 years as a classroom teacher before venturing into writing. Inspired by her energetic youngster, Jalen, and his love for books, she took her background in education and meshed it with childhood interests. The result was edu-tainment in the form of children’s books! She currently lives in Colorado with her family where they love spending time outdoors in the Western sun.

 





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2 Comments


Colby Adkins
Colby Adkins
2 days ago

This approach to making learning engaging can take many forms doodle games

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Lester Foreman
Lester Foreman
5 days ago

Wow! Children's Museum sounds incredible. I can see why your son loves it so much! The interactive exhibits and your book feature make it a fantastic place for playful learning.

geometry dash

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