Henry, 3 years old, walks into the playspace and looks up at a shelf containing various sensory materials. “I need that white stuff,” he says. I ask him to clarify. “You know, it’s sticky and I need to stick things.” I bring down the container of flour he was pointing at, and we open it up. He looks down and says, “No, that’s not it.” I ask him if what he is describing is glue. He said, “Yes, I need glue!”
I grab some glue out of the back cabinet. Henry declares, “Now I need something to stick things to.” I find a large piece of cardboard that was used as a painting surface the day before. He looks at the flax seeds in the sensory tub and says, “I need to glue them.” We spent the afternoon gluing flax seeds onto a board, squeezing the glue bottle into both small and large glue piles and spreading it around with the paint brush.
In Pritzker Playspace, CCM’s exhibit created exclusively for babies, toddlers and preschoolers, a majority of available materials are displayed. The environment is designed to be flexible, allowing visitors like Henry to follow his interest of the day.
Too often, the world of the young child is full of responses such as “No, that’s not for you,” “Please don’t,” or “Not now.” Chicago Children’s Museum plays a critical role to counterbalance a world full of “No.” By saying “YES!” we empower children to choose what to play, where to play and how to play.