DCM has carefully chosen to limit exhibit subject matter to science, art, math, and where they intersect. These areas are ideal vehicles to encourage critical thinking because they are process oriented, relate to every day life, and naturally interest children.
DCM is committed to developing original exhibits to encourage self-directed exploration. Each exhibit is designed to be inviting and approachable without reliance on reading. Concepts are presented through multiple exhibit experiences grouped in themed areas to encourage young explorers to make connections.
“Play is the work of childhood.” | Jean Piaget
DuPage Children’s Museum believes learning occurs through real-world experiences with objects and people. The basic idea of learning-by-doing goes on at the Museum every day. This concept is what education specialists call “constructivism” based on research by renowned child development theorists such as Jean Piaget and Lev Vygotsky. While learning is not the goal of play, learning happens anyway.
- Creativity Connections
Sensory input from sight, sound and touch is continuously organized and integrated by our central nervous systems. Exhibits based on light, shadow, and texture provide opportunities for creative exploration and the growth of sensory integration.
- Make it Move
Basic physics concepts have never been so irresistible! Roll, bounce, slide and spin objects to discover the energy of motion and find out what factors create change.
Roll a ball down a ramp to explore gravity, movement, and cause and effect.
Use trial and error problem solving skills to create your own tube system for the balls to roll through.
- Build It
Doing real work with real tools builds lots of things. Self-confidence is one. The ability to problem solve is another. And there are even more: imagination, creativity, concentration, eye-hand coordination, small and large muscle skills, tactile discrimination, and more. In fact, Build It strengthens almost every area of development, including cognition.
Play with real wood and real tools in the Moser Construction House. At first, your child may only wish to explore the wood, the tools or the benches. Next, he or she may experiment using the hammer, screwdriver or saw, with no end-product in mind. Finally, given time and experience, real building begins!
Create a structure and discover math concepts such as rotation, size, diameter, matching intersection and change of direction with your child. Suggest a challenge by asking, I wonder how you can connect these two pieces together?
- AWEsome Air
This exciting, cutting-edge neighborhood will bring to life a decade of learning and research here at the Museum. Children will be able to gain hands-on knowledge of the cause and effect of air through awesome new exhibits.
Visitors of all ages can use our stomp launchers, whirligigs, new air tunnel and much more to explore the power of AWEsome Air.
Visitors can capture, redirect, understand and control water. With multiple approaches and a myriad of solutions to any challenge, Waterways is discovery learning at its best.
New water experience coming in 2017: AWEsome Water! AWEsome Water will be the final phase of the AWEsome Energy exhibit. AWEsome Energy will allow children to better experience the “cause and effect” of their actions on energy sources, to change variables and see the impact, and to work collaboratively with family members and peers to experiment, explore problems, and create solutions.
Blowing bubbles takes on a whole new dimension in the Bubbles exhibit. Watch the beauty of bubbles as they rise, pop and flow in a variety of experiences. Even see what it’s like to be inside a giant bubble!
- Math Connections
Almost everything we do is connected to mathematical notions – sorting, measuring, estimating, and spatial awareness, to name a few! Investigate and reflect on these concepts at your own pace.
Discover shapes and patterns with the elastic bands at the Giant Geo Board. Stretch rubber bands between many pegs, then pull in and hook the band onto other pegs to reshape it. This demonstrates how the perimeter shape can be altered.
Discover three-dimensional space, balance and design with the Magnatiles or Building Blocks. Your children may enjoy the challenge if you create a pattern first and invite them to repeat, change or improve it.
- The Studio
Bring your curiosity and creativity to the Studio and create a masterpiece. Each week in The Studio, we will explore a different theme that incorporates elements of art, math, and science!
See the schedule of weekly art activities.
- Young Explorers
A child’s brain develops very rapidly in the first few years of life. DCM has set aside special places for young 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, Build It Young Explorers, and Math Connections Young Explorers.