Friday, January 10, 2014

More Than Just Statistics

In addition to being a full-time occupational therapist and mother, I am also proud to be a founding member of The Meeting House, a recreational based after school program for school age children with social special needs.  It's an amazing place that provides a place for some of New York City's most awesome kids who have a tremendous social motivation but need the support of professionals in order to be successful in social situations.  In addition to our after school program, we offer a monthly weekend event which provides opportunities for our children to generalize the skills that we teach during the week.  It also gives them a chance to go to some of the coolest kid's spots in New York.  We have been to a lot of really great places in the last year and a half, including Our November event was at the Museum of Mathematics near Madison Square Park.

Now, I know what you are could a math museum be fun?  I was wondering the same thing but had heard such great things from friends and colleagues who had been there in the past.  I am so glad we gave this museum a chance because it was really great and our kids had the best time.  They didn't want to leave when our event was over, which is pretty telling.

As we enter the colder months, I know there are a lot of people who are looking for things to keep their kids busy outside of the house.  I can't say enough about this place and guarantee that you will have just as much fun at this hands on museum as your kids will.  You can spend hours here without being bored and there is plenty of different exhibits to keep children of all ages occupied.  One of the things I like best was the size of the museum.  It is only two floors so manageable and if you have an older, more independent child, you can let them explore on their own a bit or with a friend while you hang with the younger ones.

There are so many great exhibits at the Museum of Mathematics and the best part is that each and every one is interactive and hands on.  Even better, this is a perfect place to work on a zillion occupational therapy goals without the children even realizing they are working!  If you have read my other posts, you will know how much I love hidden therapy.

There are over 30 exhibits at the museum.   Each of them is unique but all are fun.  Here are a few of my favorite exhibits and what kind of therapeutic  

Coaster Rollers:  Glide on a rounded triangle down a track on rollers that are not ball but acorns and other lumpy shapes.  Great for working on upper extremity strength and bilateral coordination.  If on with a friend, they need to work together to get all the way to the end of the track.
Tessellation Station:  create tiling patterns called tessellations using unusual magnetic shapes.  Pictured to the right, you can see some of the cool creations kids can make using the different shaped magnets.  Works on increasing upper extremity strength (since it is on a raised surface), visual perceptual skills (having to fit the magnets together), color recognition and improves creativity.  I loved this so much that I had to buy the monkey magnets pictured to use in my private practice and at home.  I was psyched when I walked into the museum gift shop and saw these for sale.  They are a bit pricey, but they are incredibly well made and unlike anything else I have ever seen.
Square Wheeled Trike:  take a smooth ride on square wheels.  This was definitely the highlight for the kids at The Meeting House.  It's one of the first things you see when you walk into the museum and clearly gets kids attention because who has ever seen a bike with square wheels?  This exhibit works on improving overall body strength and motor planning.  There are two sized bikes so even your little ones can enjoy this cool activity.
The Human Tree:  strike a pose and see your body replicated as the trunk, branches, and sub-branches of a tree made of you. Move around and watch as the tree morphs producing a surprising array of effects.  Great for working on motor planning, improving upper extremity strength bilateral coordination.  Our kids at TMH did this in groups of two and each child had an opportunity to be the leader and their friend would have to do the same movement that their friend did.

I am excited to go back to the Museum of Mathematics with my own daughter who will be 4 years old in March.  While she may not understand all the math elements, she will be able to participate and interact with all the exhibits.  I have already recommended this place to many of the parents I work with and they have truly loved it.  If you are in NYC and need something to do with your kids, I highly recommend you check this place out.  While there, be sure to check out their amazing gift shop.  I could have spent hours and a whole lot of money in there.  They do have an online store with many of the items they have created, including these tessellation monkey magnets.

Have you been to the Museum of Mathematics?  I would love to hear what your favorite exhibit was.  I am only a click away and love hearing from you all.

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