Wheelock Student Observations at Boston Children’s Museum: Interactions in PlaySpace

PS 4This post is part of our series of articles by Wheelock College students documenting their observations of the many different kinds of learning and adult-child interactions taking place at Boston Children’s Museum every day.  This post was written by Wheelock Student Researchers Ashley Domaldo, Amanda Kalander, Braelan Martin, and Katlyn-Rose D’Errico.

As student researchers from Wheelock College, we observed children playing in PlaySpace. PlaySpace is an exhibit specifically designed for children three and younger. During our observation, we focused on two main questions:

  • How do caregivers and children interact in the space?
  • How do children play with other children?

Watch Me Spin

PS 1There were two spinning chairs (called Bilibos) in the middle of the exhibit. One particular mother walked over with her son to a Bilibo and her child sat down in the small chair. His mother sat down on the floor with him. The mother began to spin her son on the Bilibo using her hands to spin the chair. As she did, she said things such as “wheeeee”. While he was spinning, she also maintained eye contact during their play. Both the mother and her child were smiling the whole time.

Let’s Color

PS 7A mother and grandmother were playing with their child in PlaySpace’s Messy Sensory Area. The Messy Sensory Area focuses on children‘s open ended sensory play and exploration. The activity of the day was scribbling with large crayons. The mother held her child, while the grandmother guided the child’s hand while they colored. This family was bilingual, so they were able to point to the supplies and give the names in both English and Italian. The Messy Sensory Area provided them with bonding time and a learning opportunity simultaneously.

Where Do You Want To Go?

PS 8 HeaderThese two little boys, ages 2 and 3 had not met before they entered PlaySpace. Without using any words, the two began to play in the large car together. They took turns driving the car, pushing the buttons on the dash board, and being the passenger. PS 9The boys stood on the seats of the car and turned and looked back at their moms who were quietly sitting and watching their sons. The mother of the blonde boy said, “Give your new friend a hug!” The young blonde boy then leaned over and decided to give his new friend a kiss instead!

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