For the past 21 years WOW! Children’s Museum in Lafayette has engaged families in educational, hands-on experiences that connect curiosity, creativity and discovery.
“Our goal here is to educate children through play,” said executive director Jen Hinderliter.
Walking into WOW! Children’s museum you are greeted with bright colors and interactive exhibits. The front room is a section for rotating exhibits. Since September it has featured an exhibit called “Make it Go.”
“We’ve got hot air balloons, cars with a mountain theme and bikes. We are teaching kids basic physics concepts through everyday transportation,” said Hinderliter. “Most of the exhibits we have built here ourselves.”
WOW! has everything from an art room and performance stage to practical life role playing areas. These different sections are helping children learn skills like counting money and creative expression. A room that stuck out the most was one that hasn’t even been built yet.
“We are turning this space into what we’re calling the forest of light, it’s a sensory friendly room,” said Hinderliter. “There will be some soft forest sounds and a lot of hands on sensory experiences.”
WOW! has been collaborating with parents and specialists to make this new room accessible for all children. They have also been doing sensory friendly playtime every other month for children with sensory processing disorders and for kids who are on the autism spectrum.
“I love being with the children, I really need kids infusing joy into my life,” said art room volunteer Claire Bernstein.
WOW! serves about 90,000 visitors a year and in 2016 they served more than 6,000 visitors with a program called Play for All. This program helps families with financial constraints who are receiving some form of public income-related assistance. For only ten dollars a year Play for All helps the children of these families gain access to all the museum has to offer.
“Getting to see them light up with the discovery of being here is really really remarkable,” said volunteer manager Kim Brown.
For more information about WOW! Children’s Museum click here.
To volunteer click here.
To learn more about Play for All click here.
To find more information on Sensory Friendly Playtime click here.