Connecticut Families

Mega Making: Museum exhibit offers creative alternative to kids' obsession with screens

NORWALK, Conn. (WTNH) - Is it tough to tear your kids away from video games? 

Well, Stepping Stones Museum for Children in Norwalk has a creative solution: an exhibit you'll want to add to your summer schedule.

Cutting, pasting, pounding!  It's all about "innovating" at the Mega Making exhibit which is ramping up for the busy summer. 

"It all stems from the maker movement and the idea of getting kids to do things hands-on, getting them inspired in careers in math, science and things like that," explained Andrea Hance Collins of Stepping Stones Museum for Children.

Seems parents have one common complaint these days. 

"Everything now is iPads and YouTube," said LaTia Kyer of Mount Vernon, New York, a mom to a 5 year old kindergartner. 

So, the exhibit provides an alternative to "tech obsession" and suggests a new way to view screens. 

"We really encourage kids here to not look at a screen but look inside a screen - we really want them to start tinkering with things, discovering how things work, really build that curiosity," said Hance Collins.

Every Thursday, exhibit staff works with kids during a special time called Tools Rule. They lead kids in using actual drills and saws. It’s an effort to teach safety skills while also inspiring kids to work with their hands. 

"Open ended play like this really does help them become critical thinkers," said Hance Collins.

The entire museum makes learning a process, encouraging experimentation and perseverance. 

The Energy Lab, or the water room, is the museum's most popular exhibit. 

Seeing a child think "outside the box" is thrilling. 

"They’re having fun playing with random things, things they wouldn't’t normally play with," said Kyer.  "It’s fun to watch them - they’re building things, making things, cutting things up - just to cut them up!" 

The museum aims to inspire parents to come up with their own creative projects to enjoy with the kids...all summer long. 

"Stepping Stones is definitely a place where we want everyone to be excited, having fun, really learning without even realizing it, that's what Stepping Stones is all about," said Hance Collins.


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