Stories of Meaningful Change


Stories from the Community Foundation of Greater Flint.

Creative Play is Fun

Patrick John Metcalfe, Jr., 9; Brielle Nicole Younger, 1; John Ingraham, 8; Lucas Eldredge, 9

An exciting, new, interactive exhibit awaits visitors to the Flint Children's Museum (FCM), an organization that has been providing hands-on play and learning for nearly 40 years. Big Blue Blocks combine all the benefits of block play on a larger-than-life scale, encouraging kids to play together in groups and have more fun.

"Families impacted by the water crisis are looking for ways to access high quality developmental and educational experiences for their children," said Kimberly Roddy, Executive Director of FCM. "The Museum is designed to encourage exploration, creativity and social interactions that support positive health outcomes, both cognitive and physical."

Children enjoy the Big Blue Blocks set which includes cubes, bricks, cogs, curves and cylinders. The parts have holes and shapes that fit together in ways that allow for building, stacking, channeling and connecting.

"They inspire children to design their own inventions, environments and activities," said Roddy. "Children enjoy an endless variety of play patterns including construction, pretend play, role-playing and inventing their own games. Most importantly, they are deeply engaged, active and have hours of fun."

A travel-size version of the Big Blue Blocks is transported to community events like Back to the Bricks where Museum staff can interact with children and adults, and encourage interaction with the blocks and each other. FCM looks forward to partnering with other mobile efforts that have emerged in response to the water crisis such as the University of Michigan's Pop-Up Preschool, Flint Fresh Mobile Market, and Genesee Health Systems' Mobile Mental Health Unit.

"Over the summer, we exhibited the Big Blue Blocks at 13 community events and school functions. At these events, our play educators facilitated, played and learned with more than 760 children and adults," Roddy said. "We also installed the Big Blue Blocks and new rubber flooring in our rotating exhibit area known as Discovery Zone. Since opening to the public, more than 7,750 children and their caregivers have explored, built and learned with the new exhibit. Surveys from guests indicate an overall rating of 5.6 on a six-point scale, which we consider a success."