As a partner of Let’s Move! Museums & Gardens the Illinois State Museum encourages families to engage in physical activity and make healthy choices through its exhibits, programs, and special events. For example, the Museum’s popular Halloween family event Where Are the Wild Things? transitioned from giving away traditional sugarcoated goodies several years ago to a Let’s Move-friendly mission of promoting “safe, healthy, and fun activities.”
Last Friday evening I was excited to debut a Let’s Move designed activity during our first Kids’ Night Out event of the year. This evening program focused on caves and allowed kids aged 6-11 to discover cave formations, cave safety, and what life thrives in a cave environment. Needless to say, the kids (and myself!) learned a lot about caves! One element of the evening was the life-size board game I designed which highlighted the differences in cave zones (Entrance, Twilight, and Dark Zones), while calling on players to engage in a variety of phsycial activity. I set the game up in a dark classroom and gave each team a flashlight to shine on their cards while they explored the “cave.” I added simple decorations such as hanging bats from the ceiling, and the kids loved stumbling upon them! Sample activities included:
Can you reach the ceiling of the cave? Stretch your arms up high for ten seconds and try! (Entrance Zone)
You almost stepped on a snail! Careful – move forward two squares in slooooow motion. (Twilight Zone)
Burrr! It’s cold. Stay warm by jumping up and down until your partner takes a turn. (Dark Zone)
The kids loved the game – most teams wanted to repeat the activity three or four times. I was pleased to see every team participate. The combination of physical activity and flashlights (almost always an audience pleaser) was a hit. Before and after the game we had a casual group discussion about the different zones of the cave, and this served as a good reinforcer of the material. I awarded a simple prize for completing the activity, a temporary bat tattoo.
As a museum visitor, have you ever noticed or participated in Let’s Move!-type exhibits or activity?
If you are a volunteer or staff member of a museum or garden, is your institution partnered with Let’s Move? Or does it strive to incorporate aspects of Let’s Move?