ThinkSpace

AGES 4-10 

Explore, imagine, create and experiment with shapes, spaces and spatial thinking through hands-on play and learning experiences.

Spatial thinking is part of everyday life and is necessary to navigate, explore and survive in the world. People think spatially all the time – when tying shoes, reading maps, finding the way to the store, packing a suitcase, doing jigsaw puzzles, climbing rocks and cutting sandwiches in half – and they become better with practice. Spatial thinkers are architects designing buildings, pilots flying planes, doctors reading x-rays, plumbers installing pipes, bakers decorating cakes, geologists studying fossils and artists painting landscapes. Kids are spatial thinkers, too!

Spatial thinking is a powerful problem-solving tool and a key to kids’ interest and success in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) disciplines. While spatial thinking develops over a lifetime, research suggests that early development of spatial thinking skills increases later achievement in math and science – and that, for young children, hands-on experiences are especially important. However, though kids learn the basics of shape and space, spatial thinking isn’t systematically taught in schools.

ThinkSpace is recommended for children ages 4 to 10 – and their adult friends – for maximum understanding and interest. Younger and older children also enjoy many of the exhibit’s interactive elements and there are activities especially for toddlers. Museum play guides are on hand to encourage fun and learning. A resource nook contains books about spatial thinking.

Some things to do in ThinkSpace

Toddlers:

  • Move wooden beads along colorful wires. Push them up hills, around loops, through tunnels and watch as they slide down slopes.
  • Play with Magna-Tiles™ – sort them, stack them, stick them to the magnetic wall.
  • Squares, circles, triangles, stars – which hole fits which block?
  • Grasp and pull, twist and turn, open and shut – work real latches to open tiny doors.

Preschoolers:

  • Build with the wooden blocks. Make something tall. Make something short. How many different shaped blocks can you use?
  • Grow and shrink shadows. Put the wooden solids together to make new shadow shapes.
  • Make a flower by stacking the colorful tiles in different combinations.
  • Construct a box using the Magna-Tiles. What else can you build?
  • Make a pattern on the magnetic board.

Ages 5 to 7:

  • Set up the dominoes in zigzags and spirals. Knock one over to start a chain reaction.
  • Use the 25 colorful cube blocks to make a picture. Copy a design or create your own.
  • Play the Shape Talk game with a friend. You both win if your patterns are exactly the same. No peeking!
  • Make 3-dimensional objects look 2-dimensional in the shadow booth. Use the blocks and animals to make a shadow scene.
  • Build with the seven Soma puzzle blocks. Try to make a cube, a tall tower or something else

Ages 8 and up:

  • Create kaleidoscopic designs by rotating and layering colorful tiles. Copy a design or create your own.
  • Roll a ball through a mystery maze and use your senses to figure out its path. Draw a diagram of the hidden maze.
  • Use the seven pieces of the Soma puzzle to make a big cube. (There are 240 ways to do it!)
  • Snap the Jovo® tiles together to make solid shapes. Try making 3-dimensional shapes using just one kind of flat shape (just triangles or squares or pentagons) – how many Platonic solids can you make?
  • Use a floor plan to navigate through the Museum and find spatial challenges everywhere you go.
About Us

Our mission is to inspire lifelong learning for all through play, creativity, and exploration.

Hours and Admissions

Exhibits Closed
PCM’s exhibits are closed to the public until July 8, 2021 with the exception of vacation weeks. The Museum is available for birthday party and corporate rentals

All staff and visitors ages 2 and up must wear a mask that covers their nose and mouth at all times. No exceptions can be made to this policy. Bandanas and neck gaiters are not acceptable mask substitutes.

Group Visits

Providence Children’s Museum is the ideal place for school field trips, camp outings, homeschool and community group trips and Scout excursions.

About Play

While society often overlooks and undervalues play, we are here to celebrate and elevate it. Because we know play isn’t frivolous. It’s foundational.

For Families

Even though PCM is closed, we’ve collected an extensive resource of creative activities that will engage kids and their caregivers wherever you may be.

Become a Partner

PCM has brought the magic of learning to life for over 40 years. As a trusted resource for families and children in southern New England, PCM is an anchor in our community.

More than a Museum

PCM is committed to serving the children of southern New England – regardless of their financial ability. 40% of the Museum’s budget is dedicated to welcoming one-third of the Museum’s total audience free of charge or at greatly reduced rates through a variety of outreach programs.

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