By Hannah Motl Gimpel, The University of Montana spectrUM Discovery Area Associate Director
Today, a small group of Missoulians visited The National Museum of Science and Technology in Stockholm. This dynamic museum housed numerous exhibitions related to science and technology as well as makerspaces, but what stuck out the most to me was the kinetic play area housed in the MegaMind exhibit hall.
Similar to Missoula, Stockholm experiences long, dark, and cold winters which means there is limited times throughout the year that children and families can explore and play outside. Stockholm’s solution to this problem has been to create numerous indoor play and exploration areas which allow children to learn, play, and burn energy all at the same time. The indoor play arena in the science museum was large, dynamic, and colorful. It offered fun, approachable, physical challenges for the children and also offered tips on how to approve their fitness. For example, there was a tightrope that children had to try and walk across and at the end there were three tips on how to improve their balance. This area was jam-packed the entire time we were at the museum and you could hear the giggles echoing from the space long after you left.
One of the aims for the children’s area in the All Under One Roof project is to offer Missoula families a fun, safe, indoor space to play, learn, and burn energy. The Stockholm Science Museum’s indoor play area definitely serves as a model worthy of drawing inspiration from.