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The Children's Creativity Museum: Inspiring Invention

By Robert Dellamano

The Children's Creativity Museum inspires children to learn through play, to create their experience, and to share their ideas through their own invention. Located in San Francisco's Yerba Buena Gardens, the Children's Creativity Museum is a 21st century museum where youth and families from all backgrounds have the opportunity to explore their changing world together in a dynamic learning environment.

Cathy Barragan, the Museum's Marketing and Public Relations Manager, explains how the museum's exhibits facilitate invention. "One example is our Mystery Box Challenge in our Innovation Lab. Here, kids are faced with a number of different problems in which they need to create a solution. The challenges range from things like 'Build a ladder for a fish' to 'Your school has flooded with JELLO...Invent something that can help clean it up.' They are given a random 'Mystery Box' full of materials, a pair of scissors and rolls of tape. They are then free to create prototypes for the solution based on whatever ideas they have."

The forward-thinking mission of the museum is to nurture the three Cs- Creativity, Collaboration, and Communication. The Children's Creativity Museum believes that a 21st century education requires the ability to think critically, collaborate broadly, communicate effectively, and generate and prototype multiple solutions.

The museum offers something for every age, including Early Childhood Education workshops, a theater, and art galleries displaying collaborations between community artists and young visitors to the museum. "Our Imagination Playground entertains toddlers and grandparents alike," says Barragan. "Our Animation Studio is definitely a favorite among our visitors, where families learn how to make a stop-motion animation movie. For older visitors, it's a great way to build upon storytelling and communication skills, and for younger kids it builds fine motor skills. It's also the perfect space to work collaboratively as a family, on a school field trip, or by meeting other visitors from all around the world."

The museum embraces technology- and does not shy away from advanced concepts. Barragan tells us, "Lately our more popular workshops have involved computer coding. We recently hosted a workshop with one of our featured innovators Natalie Freed. She taught kids how to write code that would design clothing for paper dolls. In real time, the kids could see how their designs would change when they altered their code. It was a great way for this somewhat abstract concept to become so tangible and relatable for kids (and grown-ups!) The best part is when you see kids teaching other kids at the end of the workshop."

The Children's Creativity Museum recognizes the importance of instilling a love of learning and building creative confidence at a young age. The museum achieves this through educational programs that are designed to engage kids throughout their development, starting in preschool and continuing through high school. The museum believes that the success of the next generation will hinge not only on what they know, but also on their ability to think and act creatively as global citizens.

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Robert Dellamano received a B.S. in Biology from Southern Illinois University,...

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