Want to give your kids a break from all that screen time? Unplug and show them some good old-fashioned play like we used to enjoy back in the day. Head downtown to the interactive art installations at The New Children’s Museum; where their newest exhibit, Make/Shift, will introduce your kids to one of our favorite retro toys: the cardboard box. Your little techies won’t miss that iPad one bit. Check out four of the museum’s current installations below!

The New Children Museum’s latest installation Make/Shift reinvents the indoor playground. The 1,200 square foot space invites kids to reconfigure and design a collection of plywood furniture, cardboard boxes, ropes and loose objects. Inspired by the popular Adventure and Junk playgrounds often found in the UK and Scandinavia, Make/Shift gives kids of all ages the opportunity to get active while they climb, destroy, build, swing and hide. The structures are on wheels so they may be easily moved into various formations. Kids can also create tents and large-scale forts using a plentitude of cardboard boxes and wall panels with anchor points.

The Wonder Sound
Adventurous kids will relish the chance to explore this “labyrinth of rooms, nooks and ropes” that is a “work of art that you physically enter into and discover.” Resembling a treehouse, an impressive and astounding 18,000 hand-cut wooden shapes were used to create The Wonder Sound. Kids can climb through and get lost in the structure that is filled with an eclectic host of junkyard objects from all over the city.

What could be more fun for a tot than playing in a giant kitchen sink filled with huge, soft, food sculptures? Wobbleland is like a scene out of a fantastical fairytale where infants and toddlers age 4 and under have the rule of the land and the freedom to explore and make discoveries. The food sculptures are not only fun by design: giant tomato slices, a teeter totter avocado, a watermelon boat, a giant cheese wedge… they all make for great climbing, rocking and stacking equipment to help develop motor skills.

Desert Derby
Toy car lovers (and what kid isn’t?) will love zipping and zooming down the open roads of the Desert Derby. But this art installation is more than meets the eye. The patch of blue in the center represents a reservoir, an homage to the 700 mile-long California aqueduct that delivers water from Northern California to Southern California. Since SoCal residents are all too familiar with the freeway systems and know very little about the local waterways, Desert Derby raises this awareness among kids through organic play.

Insider’s Tip: The cafe at The New Children’s Museum is currently under construction. We like to walk down the street to enjoy breakfast or lunch at Cafe 222 (222 Island Avenue). Additionally, the museum recommends these family-friendly restaurants, all within walking distance, to grab a bite at during your visit. If you dine at one of the restaurants the museum recommends, show your museum receipt to get a discount off your meal.

The New Children’s Museum
200 West Island Avenue
San Diego, Ca
Online: www.thinkplaycreate.org
$13/adults and children over 1; $3 on Target Family Day (the second Sunday of every month).
Hours: The New Children’s Museum is open weekdays from 10 a.m.–4 p.m. and Sundays 12 p.m.– 4 p.m. , and closed on Tuesdays.
Parking: The Museum offers limited $10 parking on weekdays and $15 parking on weekends in their underground paid parking structure.

Have you visited recently? Tell us about your experience below!

–– Beth Shea

Photos Courtesy of The New Children’s Museum

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