*Please note that in exchange for a write-up, I was invited to attend a special viewing of Pattern Wizardry at the Brooklyn Children's Museum. All opinions expressed in this write-up are my honest thoughts.
They exist around us, everywhere- in the two careful braids your mother used to give you before bedtime, in the intricate woven blue and purple blanket you picked up at the Mercado in Ecuador, inside the amethyst crystals your acupuncturist sometimes places around you after the needles have been inserted, inside the colorful kaleidoscope your toddler insists upon carrying everywhere and at the Brooklyn Children’s Museum- patterns, giving form and beauty to our world.
Last week, my little ones and I were invited to a special guided showing of Pattern Wizardry, at the Brooklyn Children’s Museum. It was, to sum the experience up- AMAZING!
Pattern Wizardry is a new exhibit located on the top floor of the Brooklyn Children's Museum, designed to use patterns as a way to foster interest in natural sciences and mathematics.
As a former public school teacher and current homeschooling mom, I was immediately taken with the interdisciplinary approach of this exhibit.
I can’t say what I was expecting, but I can say that the exhibit exceeded my expectations tremendously.
Upon entering the exhibit floor, Ohm was invited to throw on a cape so that he could become a pattern wizard. I was excited about the idea, but being three, he simply shrugged his little shoulders, decided to bypass the cape and dove directly in to the world of the exhibit.
Talk about hands on! We looked at textiles and art from a variety of cultures to see how people around the world create patterns. From American quilts, to East African basket weaving, to fine china and South American weaving, each station allowed children to engage in a tactile experience from trying their hands at coiling a basket, arranging quilt squares, fitting together china or weaving on a large loom.
In a masterfully curated collection, we went on to investigate patterns in the natural world. We examined seashells and crystals before investigating patterns in sound. There were drums and examples of musical patterns.
One of our favorite experiences was a large mirror prism, which allowed us to see ourselves in a series of patterns.
There was also an investigation of patterns in a more traditional geometric sense. Ohm, who considers himself to be a geometry expert, had a lot of fun identifying shapes and fitting them together to complete a large puzzle.
Ohm is three and a half and originally, I was concerned the exhibit might be a little over his head, but he was fully engaged and excited as he flitted from one station to the next.
The priceless look on his face when he realized that he could self-navigate through many of the hands on activities was so affirming as a parent. I was literally able to stand back and let him create his own experience. Because he was so busy, I was able to try my hands at a few of the stations. It was so fascinating; I couldn’t help but dive in too.
As a Brooklyn parent, I’m so grateful for the Brooklyn Children’s Museum. It is a priceless resource for children of all ages, particularly early learners.
In a world of “shhhhh be quiet,” “No, don’t touch that,” and “Stop running!” the Brooklyn Children’s Museum gets down on its knees and caters to its tiny patrons from their height, without patronizing their intelligence. This is not an easy balance but they do it well.
The Brooklyn Children’s Museum, established in 1899, was the very first museum, ever created exclusively for children. The success of this institution has inspired the creation of over 300 children’s museums around the world. It’s an extraordinary gem in the heart of Brooklyn.
If you live in the city or are planning a trip to NYC with your family, Pattern Wizardry is a must see! The exhibit is open through August 30th and is a great way to encourage a love and curiosity for math in preschool and school aged children. Summer learning can be so fun and so enriching!
The Brooklyn Children’s Museum is located at 145 Brooklyn Avenue (at St. Marks Avenue). For more information call 718. 735. 4400 or visit www.brooklynkids.org.
Finally, the lovely people at The Brooklyn Children’s Museum gifted me two tickets which I will give away to a lucky reader.
If you’d like to be entered to win two tickets to this amazing museum, simply leave a comment below describing your favorite pattern. This can be any pattern- musical, geometric, natural, textile, etc.
The lucky winner will be notified on Monday, June 22nd!