The Children’s Museum of Oswego and Dr. Zachary S. Gold, Assistant Professor of Human Development at SUNY Oswego, are pleased to announce the launch of a new resource for children and their families. The two parties have teamed up to produce the Family Play Plan Series, brief instructional sheets and videos outlining educational play activities that can be done at home. The goal of the play plans, and the partnership between SUNY Oswego and CMOO, is to improve children’s development and learning and families’ social well-being during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Parents are under a lot of stress right now,” noted Kathryn Watson, Director of Education at the Children’s Museum of Oswego. “As community members quarantine and schools close, CMOO is working to continue to be a resource for children and families, even those who cannot physically visit the museum.” Dr. Gold, who has conducted extensive research on the benefits of play for children’s cognitive development, is already proving to be a valuable resource for the Oswego community. “Dr. Gold approached us about creating this resource, and we thought it was the perfect way for CMOO to support our community during the pandemic. These plans differ from a lot of take-home resources in that they’re not about an end product, but rather about the process of building, playing, and experimenting together,” said Watson.
According to Dr. Gold, play plans like these have tremendous educational value for children, especially in regard to science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). “The Family Play Plans are rooted in national education standards,” said Gold, “but our goal is to provide children with playful learning experiences beyond the scope of state and federal education policies. Our plans emphasize exploration, creative thinking, and problem solving skills that we know benefit children’s long-term academic and social success.” Gold expressed optimism that his collaboration with CMOO will extend well into the future. “Director Watson and I hope to organize a variety of community resources in the coming years, including new family programs at CMOO and research studies that directly benefit Oswego County families.”
The play plans will be posted on CMOO’s website, shared with media outlets, and posted on the museum’s social media pages. The plans are free to download and it is the authors’ hope that they will be used and shared widely.