You know what they say about March: In like a lion, out like a caged-up-for-four-months lion.
If you go
Chicago Childrens Museum, 700 E. Grand Ave. at Navy Pier, Chicago
Free with museum admission
Through April 19
Spring may officially arrive this month, but kids won’t be able to run around outside for a while.
So get their wiggles out at Chicago Children’s Museum’s new Move It! exhibit, which encourages kids to run, crawl, twist, climb and hang – all in a warm and dry indoor space.
Move It! emphasizes active play with three main components. Kids can create their own playground using oversized pieces they can move by themselves, allowing for greater creativity in terms of building whatever they can imagine, from tunnels to obstacle courses.
“It looks different one hour to the next,” says Katie Slivovsky, director of exhibit development. “They’re creating their own playspace.”
The museum also designed and created the “Wavy Net Climber” that can be combined with the modular pieces for enhanced creative play. Finally, there are “big body play pads,” extra-thick cushioning that allow kids to – literally – bounce off the walls. Trained facilitators are on hand to make sure kids won’t get hurt.
Slivovsky says the open-ended exhibit lends itself to kids with mobility impairments (the plans were reviewed by therapists at the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago), as well as babies and toddlers. But if you want to avoid the field-trip rush, come before 11 a.m. or later in the afternoon.
And while an exhibit focused on active play might not seem like the most natural fit for the museum, Slivovsky says it pairs well with the museum’s Kovler Family Climbing Schooner and the climbing wall in Treehouse Tales. Move It! also fits CCM’s overall philosophy that exhibits should help children develop powerful bodies, strong minds and healthy emotions.
“We have this very strong belief in health and wellness and the value of active play,” she says. “Active play is easy when it’s fun.”