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Minnesota Childrens Museum Blog

A new exhibit called Out on a Limb opens tomorrow, September 19. It promotes nature-play through a sculptural, interactive design and incorporates nostalgic settings, such as a tree house and a fort-building area.

Out on a Limb was designed to inspire children and their caregivers to learn to explore nature by using their senses. More than simply seeing the beauty of a tree, the exhibit encourages visitors to hear the sounds of the forest, use leaves to make beautiful art, and build big and little structures from bark and limbs.

The whimsical atmosphere of Out on a Limb is created in part by children’s nature-themed artwork that makes up the faux bark and leaf canopy of the centerpiece tree. The individual exhibits, Whirlwind, Light Play, Forest Jam and Gnome Home, further enhance the magical scenery and are tools to enhance exploration. For example, individual activities encourage children to experiment with light and shadow, patterns of leaves, music of the forest, and the effects of the changing seasons. The exhibits also provide practice with the physical skills of climbing and balancing, which helps children to develop self-confidence in outdoor play.

For children, Out on a Limb provides a unique space for unstructured play, where they can create a connection with nature on their own; while for parents and caregivers, the exhibit represents an opportunity to reminisce about their own childhood experiences in the outdoors and to re-connect with nature exploration with their children. For visitors of all ages, there are places for building, climbing, listening and exploring -- all designed to inspire a love of nature.

Inspired in particular by works from environmentalist Rachel Carson, philosopher Henry David Thoreau, and author Richard Louv, Out on a Limb’s distinctive design delivers on its promise to use natural artistic materials and full-sensory activities to nurture children’s inborn curiosity about and love for nature.


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