Children became little builders at the Temple Children’s Museum Under Construction event on Saturday at 214 S. Second St.
“We just acquired this building in April.” said Hannah Weekley, TCM board secretary. “We’re getting ready to raise money to remodel it. This is our way of letting Temple know what we’re doing.”
TCM hopes to start renovating the building by January 2019, she said.
The fundraiser offered children from birth to seven a lot of construction-related activities, inside the building and in the blocked-off street. Kathryn Hermans, events coordinator, gave a tour of the indoor events.
At the blueprints section, children attempted to design their own building. This gives them an opportunity to work on their math and fine motor skills, she said. At the rendering section, parents and children were photographed in front of a skyscraper background.
At a little framed house, children wearing hard hats worked on plumbing and other aspects of construction. They each got a hard hat and a sack lunch when they came in the door, Hermans said.
At the imagination playground, the children draw, dream and build, she said. In another place, they wreck, or “de-construct.”
“Our building is going to have some de-construction before reconstruction,” Hermans said.
There was an engineering area that she called “Building Blocks on Steroids.” It included assorted wooden blocks, pulleys and levers, and required the guiding hands of volunteers.
Two of their newest items were a large wooden dump truck, and a wrecking ball. The wrecking ball is lifted up and swung into a stack of cardboard boxes.
“Our adults and teen volunteers have as much fun as the little kids do,” Hermans said.
TCM has already begun carrying its construction program to area schools, she said.
“A school will call us up,” Hermans said. “We bring the field trip to them. We can do it for one class or for the whole school.”
“Five like-minded women came together and started it,” Hermans said of the museum. “There’s really nothing for young children in the community.”
Outdoors, the vacant lot next to the building had a hands-on display of various heavy equipment vehicles. The City of Temple and Emerson Construction provided the vehicles, Hermans said, and two city employees were available to answer questions.
The Construction Ninja Warrior Course was another outdoor activity.
“It’s play, but it’s learning play,” said Chonie Pischinger, TCM board member, who designed the course. “They seem to be really pleased with it.”
The children used hammers, screwdrivers, paint brushes and other tools. They even set up an electrical circuit, using a battery, switch and light bulb.
For every task they completed, the children got signed off by an “inspector,” Pischinger said. At the end they got a big sticker on their construction sheet.
At one task, they had three different-sized bolts, she said. They had to find the right sized washer and nut and use the wrench to put them all together.
These exercises use math and science skills, hand and eye coordination and balance, Pischinger said.
“It’s using all kinds of things beyond the obvious, which is what the children’s museum is all about,” she said. “We tried to put in creativity as well. They’re learning through exploring.”