A child’s brain develops very rapidly in the first few years of life. DCM has set aside special places for the youngest explorers (children under age two) to cozy up to an adult and exercise their minds and bodies. Explore three Young Explorers areas in different areas of the Museum: Creativity Connections Young Explorers, Make It Move Young Explorers, and Math Connections Young Explorers.
While the spaces were thoughtfully designed for children birth – 24 months, older siblings and friends are welcome.
“The Museum wanted to create beautiful spaces full of wonder and awe for our youngest visitors. Our goal was to get babies out of strollers to experience the wonder and joy their older siblings do in the rest of the Museum and to help inspire deeper connections between caregivers and their children.”Kimberly Stull, Director of Exhibits and Operations, DuPage Children’s Museum
Creativity Connections Young Explorers focuses on beauty, wonder, color, light, shadow, and texture. Infants and toddlers will be able to explore light and shadow, enjoy some tummy time on the new Tummy Time Circle, and explore Seek & Find Drawers alongside their caregiver. It has the same feel as the space did before with some similar wall activities. Now, there is greater emphasis on the light and shadow activities to be more reflective of the Creativity Connections neighborhood, where the older kids play. There’s a good mix of both active gross motor play and quiet activities that can spur conversation between caregivers and children.
Make It Move Young Explorers is all about movement. As a reflection of the exhibits around this space, the youngest explorers will be able to experiment with air, balls, and physical movement. In this area infants will have a “cozy corner,” where they can explore loose parts; there is a wave mat and baby ball pit, where infants can feel secure while they explore. The Climber allows crawlers and toddlers to meet their caregivers eye to eye when they peek out windows at the surrounding areas; they can hoist a bucket full of balls to the top of The Climber, where they can then watch the balls roll down a ball run just to go back to the bottom and start all over again. Infants and toddlers will practice important developmental behaviors such as: object permanence, grasping and reaching, independence and attachment, and trial and error leading to mastery.
“The intentionality and the thoughtfulness surrounding how to create experiences and stimulate interactions that will naturally support the development of infants and toddlers is really special. Each and every little detail of these spaces - the graphics, the textures, the manipulatives, the larger exhibit pieces - the intention behind them and how they come together to create the entirety of the space - were all carefully selected with children from birth to 24 months in mind.”
In Math Connections Young Explorers, infants and toddlers play with patterns and sorting and spatial awareness. They can play on the Peek a Boo Bridge or see multiples of themselves in cornering reflections. A great place for tummy time and play with other toddlers, this is the quietest of the Young Explorer spaces.