The space joins several others at metro libraries and looks to help youngsters learn as they “engage in purposeful play” at several stations, Dawn LaBrosse, youth services coordinator for Washington County Library, told Patch when the plan was first announced.
“They’re great. They are amazing,” she said at the time. “It’s basically a mini children’s museum in the library.”
Designed by the Minnesota Children’s Museum, Smart Play Spots are “museum-quality installations that encourage early childhood literacy and learning through play,” according to a release from Washington County.
The area features:
- a hideaway tree trunk with a garden and hidden animals;
- a play boat with integrated seating and magnetic rods for pretend fishing;
- a Washington County Park building featuring city and county parks and trails;
- a picnic table and grill with prop food and utensils for role playing; and
- a farmers market featuring healthy natural produce.
The installations give kids a chance to practice the five building blocks of literacy: singing, talking, reading, writing, and playing.
The Children’s Museum, in collaboration with Washington County Parks, created a nature-themed installation for the Smart Play Spot at the Woodbury library. It’s located near the circular windows in the Kids Area.
A grand-opening celebration is planned for Saturday, Oct. 12.
The Washington County Board in July approved using $19,000 in library funds toward the project and to accept a grant for $1,000 from the Minnesota Library Foundation.
The Minnesota Children’s Museum paid up to $25,000 of the cost, and the Washington County Library system matched that (up to $20,000).
The Minnesota Children’s Museum received funding from the state’s Arts and Cultural Heritage Legacy Fund for 50 percent of the costs for the design, construction and installation of Smart Play Spots in 12 libraries across the state. Libraries provide the remaining $20,000 in matching funds.
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