Day of Play

Day of Play

Last Saturday Raeanne brought her family to the museum to play.  CMA hummed that day with the 2nd Annual Global Day of Play Cardboard Challenge.  Raeanne (left), her family, and friends accepted the challenge with gusto.

If you aren’t already familiar with the Imagination Foundation and the inspiration for this yearly Cardboard Challenge, check out the compelling story here.

Armed with mountains of cardboard, masking tape, and utility knives, CMA visitors were challenged this year to “design for the future.”  I stumbled upon Raeanne and her family knee deep in cardboard.  Sophia (arm raised), Raeanne’s 8 year-old daughter, was the mastermind behind the construction project – a  5-foot futuristic convertible car.  But, the whole family took part in the making, including Nana who drove in from Newark to join in the weekend “cultural” activities.  While Sophia worked on the wheels, Nana and Yohannan (back) worked on the chassis.

Fresh off the soccer fields, the family already had a busy morning.  Yet, they heard about the Cardboard Challenge from Sophia’s school, and made time to schedule creative play into their Saturday.  Their friends Rhonda, Alexa, and Alia came later to join in the fun.

It sounds silly, somehow, to have to make time to play.  Our harried, overprotected, overstimulated, 21st century lives, don’t often allow enough space and time for play and its muses — imagination, curiosity, and wonder. At the Columbus Museum of Art, we celebrate creativity.  And we believe that play — with all its variations and disguises, its labels, classifications, and complexities — is essential to creativity and innovation.

Play is notoriously difficult to define.  While it has a reputation for the frivolous, juvenile, and inconsequential, play can also be intense, purposeful and momentous.

Varied educational and scientific research of the last 60+ years confirms that play is critical to the cognitive, social, and emotional development of animals from polar bears to chimps to humans.  And some of the greatest artistic and scientific minds of the last century attribute their successes and achievements to play. (See Sparks of Genius by Robert and Michele Root-Bernstein)

I was delighted to meet two smart moms, Raeanne and Rhonda (right), who value play for their families — who make time for the structure of sports and art lessons in the morning, but allow for something else – the time for everyone in the family to consider, construct, and prototype a car for the future.

Visitors Stories and Conversations is a biweekly blog series highlighting the stories behind many of our delightful visitors.