Destination Recreation: Innovation Playground

The Echo Center in Burlington wants to highlight more than just marine life. Its new exhibit is a push to get children interested and involved in STEM: Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics. We learn that playing and learning can be one in the same.

5th grader Lydon DeBaise is playing with blocks and doesn’t realize it’s educational.

He did not realize activities like building houses and structures out of blocks were lessons in engineering. He says, “you are just having fun.”

This is exactly what Public Programs Manager Cailee Smith and the crew at Echo want to hear. They want children like Lynden to leave here excited about STEM. They say getting kids excited about it early, improves the chances they will make a career out of it

Echo keeps the games simple while still providing a chance for kids to think outside the box.

Smith says, “it's all about getting kids hands on, working together, building, creating and using thinking skills that they might not even realize they are using to explore and innovate.

This space has activities to keep the kids engaged, as they learn and maybe find a new passion. Smith goes into details about some of those activities.

“We've got kids banging on bongos, in a cardboard box pretending that they are in a space ship flying through a meteor field. We have the big blue blocks right here where kids can build and create fascinating designs.”

As for Lynden he’s just excited to explore. “It’s really fun and I like the cool color thing and I like building little houses with the foam blocks and stuff. It's just really cool”

It’s a great space for children to be creative and possibly make new friends.