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Valley Children's Museum 'maker space' a hit

Interactive learning is focus of new 'Over the Moon' exhibit in Dublin

A good way for a child to learn is not to tell them how to do something, but to teach them how to solve problems while using their imagination.

That's the goal of the newest Valley Children's Museum (VCM) exhibit, "Over the Moon: Exploring Space," which has been popular this summer for its hands-on activities to help educate children about the planets and space through creative play and interactive learning via the museum's new "maker space."

"Children learn through their play. We don't tell them how to do something; we motivate them to use their imagination," Linda Spencer, a volunteer at the exhibit, told the Weekly this month.

The exhibit is free for all families to come and take part in at the recently remodeled mobile museum located in Emerald Glen Park in Dublin.

It has been four weeks since the exhibit opened for the Tri-Valley community, with the exhibit regularly on display on Thursdays through next week (Aug. 1) and Super Saturday special events each month this summer, including one coming up on Aug 17.

Kids are able to work on arts and crafts while learning about the solar system. One station was set outside, to teach children to make a solar system using paint and marbles, while there were also books available to read on space, a Lego wall, and a spaceship craft activity that would allow kids to make a "ship" using straws and using a balloon to launch them into the air.

During a recent Thursday showcase, parents said they appreciated having a learning experience for kids to enjoy during the summer since they are on break.

"We have been coming for a while and go to the farmers market after, since they are on the same day and they love it," said Jessica Warnock, a parent who has been bringing her sons to the VCM.

Ann Udofia was one parent who had just moved to the area and brought her kids to the park to play and found the exhibit. "We are getting used to the area, and it's nice to see kids exercise their minds when they play here," she said.

Since the exhibit has been opened, it has been gaining more and more popularity with the community, according to organizers.

Meanwhile, VCM leaders continue to look for ways to expand their portable exhibit by focusing on their goal to establish a permanent location.

The Dublin City Council previously approved a memorandum of understanding with the VCM, reserving a spot for a permanent museum as part of a future park near Dublin Boulevard, and last year extended the MOU to Dec. 31, 2019, giving the VCM Board of Directors more time to raise the requisite funds.

"I would strongly encourage families to see how valuable play-based learning is for a community," VCM board president Ed Duarte said.

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