At the Bay Area Discovery Museum, we want children to come here and guide their own experience, get messy, get into things, and learn something new. With this in mind, we put together four easy tips to help your child get the most out of their experience in our vibrant Art Studios.
1. Let Your Child Lead
- Allow your child to make their own choices about their project, even when it means they might fail and have to try again.
- Embrace failures as learning opportunities and remember it’s about the process not the product.
- When your child asks for help, practice a “scaffolding” technique—provide enough support for your child to accomplish their work on their own but don’t do it for them. Caregiver scaffolding is linked to children’s executive function skills, crucial for success in school and beyond.
2. Allow Time
- Provide your child with ample time to become engrossed in an activity.
- When given time to focus, children can enter a state known as “flow,” a feeling of complete immersion and concentration.
- For kids (and adults), entering a state of flow deepens learning, increases creativity, and encourages long-term interest.
- Let your child work on their project until they tell you they are ready to move on.
3. Ask Questions
- Ask your child open-ended questions that allow for multiple responses.
- Prompt your child to think deeply about causal relationships—ask them to make predictions about their work like “What do you think will happen if you…?”
- Even if your child doesn’t respond verbally, research shows that when adults ask causal and open-ended questions, children make more connections about how things work.
4. Embrace the Mess
- Let your child get messy! (Don’t worry we have aprons and most of our materials are washable.)
- Messy play encourages risk taking, exploration, and flexibility.
- When children try new tools and materials that present a challenge, they gain self-confidence and build focus and attention.