“I can see the whole entire city from up here.” “We can spy on people.” “I want to stay up here forever!” These are just some of the comments that staff members at Providence Children’s Museum have overheard from kids playing on The Climber, a new 24-foot climbing structure in the museum’s Children’s Garden that also doubles as a work of public art.
The Climber challenges kids to reach new heights as they crawl through a labyrinth of undulating platforms. This time-lapse video shows how it was constructed and how kids play on it:
Kids can also explore below-ground in Underland (which just won "Best Outdoor Playspace" in RI Monthly), where they scuttle through tunnels; dig in a sand pit; and play with natural loose parts, like acorns, pinecones, and sticks.
We have long promoted the importance of child-directed free play, and Museum Executive Director Janice O’Donnell is clearly a kindred spirit. She says of The Children’s Garden, “We set out to create environments to inspire and encourage play, but where play would be directed by the kids. Kids would make the stories, determine the possibilities, push the limits, invent new uses for whatever we provided. And they do. To me, that means total success.”
Photos courtesy of Providence Children’s Museum.