Experts At Play

Mary Sue Reese, Early Learning Program Manager at Chicago Children’s Museum, describes one visitor’s exploration of the Pritzker Playspace’s many materials. 

“EEEEEEEEE…” Conner, almost 3 years old, makes a drilling sound as he pretends to drill holes into blocks with a stacking ring stick and a dust pan.   “CHSHHHHHHH…” Now he’s hosing me down with his fire hose made of a stacking ring stick and a dust pan. “Chicachicachica…” Conner takes my picture using a stacking ring stick and, you guessed it, a dust pan. Before Conner and his dust pan went on this adventure, he had arranged a tea party using large soft blocks, a rain stick, cups and tiles that he gathered throughout the Pritzker Playspace.


I observe scenarios such as Conner’s every day because Chicago Children’s Museum gives children the opportunity to transform what appears to be nothing, into something magical and unique. Young children may not know how to tie their shoes, prepare a meal or drive a car, but when it comes to play children are the true experts. 

It is out of respect and deep appreciation for children’s innate ability and need to act out their own experiences and express their own ideas, that the Playspace routinely offers open-ended objects and materials, such as sticks, rocks, caps, bowls and buttons so that children can do what they do best… use their imaginations to create a world all their own.


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