New Traveling Children’s Museum Brings Play To Kids Across Communities
A Little Falls woman recently had a unique idea to create a children’s museum that could travel and provide programming to young children in a wide area.
The Brainerd Lakes Area Children’s Museum launched this fall after Kate Courtney moved to Little Falls from Iowa with her husband and two young sons and noticed that there were no children’s museums in the area. The traveling museum hosts open play times with a wide variety of activities at libraries and locations around the Brainerd Lakes Area.
“I try to have a variety kind of focusing on the STEM so science, technology, engineering, and math, bringing in some art and kind of nature-based things as well. Gross motor, fine motor [skills], really trying to have a broad spectrum so that kids can come and find something that’s interesting for them,” explained Kate Courtney, Brainerd Lakes Area Children’s Museum Founder. “The open play times are not structured so they can stay with one thing the whole time or they can rotate through the variety that’s there.”
Right now, the Brainerd Lakes Area Children’s Museum specializes in activities for preschool and early-elementary aged kids. The museum hopes to expand to offer programming for older children as well. Courtney hopes to be able to offer the children’s museum for birthday parties as well as community events.
“I think a lot of the challenges parents and families face nowadays is really unplugging, coming off of the screens and just getting kids playing in unstructured play, and so just giving them the opportunity of these play times,” added Courtney. “Come, bring your children. Just let[ting] them lead their own play is so beneficial for kids.”
The first free open play time in Brainerd is scheduled for Saturday, January 5 at the Brainerd Public Library.