New Children’s Museum exhibit promotes literacy through play

A new exhibit coming to the Cincinnati Museum Center aims to use playful, interactive exhibits to promote a passion for words and language among the region’s youngest learners.

CMC is installing its park-themed early literacy gallery, Kids’ Town Park, inside The Children’s Museum. Opening June 28, the permanent attraction will help early learners, ages 0-6, explore letters, words and sounds alongside their adult caregivers.

Rendering of a Kids’ Town Park exhibit.

Elizabeth Pierce, CEO and president of the CMC, described the new space as a significant educational asset, given the fact “every word a child hears early in their life as a building block for how they learn about the world around them.” She cited research that suggests children who are exposed to 30 million words in an intentional, meaningful way before age 3 are set up for future success.

Kids’ Town Park supports literacy development through straightforward word and letter games, but it also features an array of artistic and social-emotional elements for added support. For instance, one station encourages children to make their own story using pieces of felt cut into familiar and abstract shapes. Another kiosk asks users to spin a wheel and recreate the face they might make when they feel happy, excited, proud, shy, sad or grumpy so they can better understand the words behind their emotions.

Kids’ Town Park has space for the earliest language learners, too, using mirrors, textured shapes and tactile letters as steppingstones to forming words, per CMC.

The exhibit also has colorful works by local artists Lizzy DuQuette, Charley Harper and Annie Ruth.

“With Kids’ Town Park, we’re equipping kids and their adults with the curiosity and skills to surpass that number and to build positive habits they’ll carry with them the rest of their lives,” Pierce said.

Kids’ Town Park


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