by Dena Rae Hancock, Executive Director,
Golisano Children’s Museum of Naples
During this unsettled time, one thing remains the same: Our children are still learning, growing and developing.
As Executive Director of the Golisano Children’s Museum of Naples (C’mon) everyday I see that supporting child development is as essential as ever! Children learn about the world through exploration and discovery — encouraging play helps children develop their problem solving and social skills and physical development. C’mon offers a variety of interactive and STEAM based exhibits providing children with a fun place to learn through play.
Stating the obvious: C’mon is an enjoyable place for a child—which is reason enough to visit! We also provide an environment where children can do all the things they need to do in order to develop foundations for academic and personal success.
Dramatic play, also called pretend play, is an integral part of a child’s social, emotional and cognitive development. According to the Center on the Developing Child at Harvard University, dramatic play offers proven benefits in children’s cognitive learning.
This cognitive learning provides “the building blocks for educational achievement, economic productivity, responsible citizenship, lifelong health, strong communities and successful parenting of the next generation” (from the Center on the Developing Child).
C’mon’s Tree-top Adopt-A-Pet Veterinary Clinic offers children hands-on, unsupervised exploratory play. As children playin the interactive clinic they learn to take care of their furry friends. Using their imaginations and props such as stethoscopes, doctors’ coats and even an x-ray machine encourages career exploration.
Encourage Dramatic Play
Often dramatic play toys are child-sized versions of what children see adults use every day. As a C’mon guest favorite, the World Café is a child-sized eatery where children prepare, serve and ‘eat’ delicacies from the country featured. Children can study real artifacts from around the world and take a bite out of culture. This dynamic exhibit is ever-changing, allowing children to visit anew country every few months.
Nearby, check out the Produce Market where children learn physics, imagination, geography, early literacy skills and early math and social skills. From completing their grocery list to checking out at the cash register children are challenging their large and fine motor skills while participating in real-life scenarios. The Produce Market provides children with a wonderful opportunity for roleplay and social interaction.
We invite our guests to take a trip outside to our Johnsonville Backyardville for a breath of fresh air! Wander through our hedge maze to find a surprise in the center.
Watch as your child puts on the performance of a lifetime in our shaded amphitheater and even makes a splash in our Water Play area.
Now, let’s PLAY!
Five important aspects of dramatic play:
Source: National Association for the Education of Young Children
- Dramatic play teaches self-regulation. Toddlers and preschoolers are known for acting impulsively; but, dramatic play is a positive stepping stone toward self regulation.
- Dramatic play gives children an emotional outlet. Dramatic play allows for children to act out scenarios they’ve seen or heard in real life—giving them a vital, emotional outlet.
- Dramatic play teaches conflict resolution. Both unstructured and structured dramatic play offer teachable moments about conflict resolution.
- Dramatic play supports literacy. Dramatic play provides a prime opportunity for kids to see ‘functional print’—like newspapers, signs, or menus.
- Dramatic play allows you to support your kids and encourage their ideas. Children process their inner thoughts and emotions externally through dramatic play. This presents an opportunity for engaged parents to learn a lot about what makes their children happy, scared, or frustrated— just through observing their pretend play.
We’re open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. six days a week, from Thursday
through Tuesday. As a special treat, each morning we have a Member
Only hour from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m. Visit us online at https://cmon.org/ to
purchase tickets and learn more. To support children in our community
in their dramatic play adventures, please consider making a donation,
sponsoring an event, or volunteering. Visit https://cmon.org/donate/
to learn more.