Learning with Unstructured Play in Daytona Beach


It’s all fun and games at the Charles and Linda Williams Children’s Museum in Daytona Beach.

But don’t be fooled into thinking no one is learning.  An article in the News Journal reports that the museum intentionally limited how many instructions it posted for its exhibits.  The goal is to encourage kids to explore on their own.

The children “are playing, but they’re playing with educational exhibits, and it’s all self-exploration,” said Zach Zacharias, senior curator of education and curator of history at the museum.

The Kid Power exhibit at the Boston Children’s Museum

This is yet another example of the many benefits of unstructured free play and illustrates that such play can be a great source of learning if the opportunities for free play are created with learning opportunities in mind.  While almost all free play can be educational, it takes a little planning to make it educational about a specific topic.

Hands On! Inc. is the company that designed the new exhibits and is responsible for exhibits at children’s and science museums around the country.  Hands On! seems to have a particular focus on using play as a pathway to education.

At Hands On!, we celebrate the intersection of learning and play to capture–then unleash–the intellect and imagination of visitors. —Hands On! Inc.