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Play At KANEKO Through August 16

Play At KANEKO Through August 16

KANEKO has a great, kid-friendly exhibit called “Play” that you have to check out before it ends on Aug. 16.

Kaneko 9

It’s FREE, so you really have no excuse not to go.

I liken it to children’s museum featuring all the cool toys at your favorite locally-owned toy store that you can’t afford to buy…because you want them all.

The first space of "Play" at Kaneko.

The first space of “Play” at KANEKO.

What is KANEKO?

Good question. It’s not really a gallery, though they have rotating exhibits of various kinds (a few months ago, they had various textile exhibits including one with Hawaiian shirts). Pretty much, it’s a non-profit described as an open space for your mind, a place to explore and encourage the process of creativity.

The entrance to KANEKO.

The entrance to KANEKO.

Established in 1998 by international artist Jun Kaneko and his wife Ree, KANEKO has four major programming themes: Design, Ideas, Performance and Innovation.

To that end, in addition to exhibitions, KANEKO regularly hosts talks and events to spark creativity, as well as camps.

I hadn’t been to KANEKO except for a private event held by another organizations. Most of the exhibitions had something that appealed to me, but they were a stretch for me to think my kids would get much out of them just yet…so I hadn’t visited.

Until now.

About “Play”

A portion of the large magnetic wall at "Play."

A portion of the large magnetic wall at “Play.”

“Play” is designed to demonstrate the importance of play in all facets of life – exploring play at home, work, alone or with a group, for young, for old. It’s a big ol’ playground that on the surface looks like a lot of toys and kiddie things.

Just try to go there and not play with something.

Just try to go there and not play with something.

Dig a little deeper (or just read the signage) and you’ll learn about the science and philosophy of play, and how it’s different around the world. Research proves that play is vital in providing the mental, social, and physical foundations necessary for success and happiness.

Farley was in his element with all the different building toys.

Farley was in his element with all the different building toys.

It’s an understatement to say my kids loved it.

We went on a Saturday afternoon and on Sunday morning they asked if we could go back. (We held off and went the following Saturday)

My son was drawn to the building activities.

Here's a car he built.

Here’s a car he built.

They had blocks of all sizes.

He kept going back to different building stations.

My daughter liked the blocks, too.

My daughter liked the blocks, too.

I assumed all the blockers were going to be the highlight for him, but he said he enjoyed the mirrored triangle thingy the most.

The inside of a large orange triangle had mirrors, which Farley loved. Mooch decided the outside was a perfect climbing all. Both were entertained.

The inside of a large orange triangle had mirrors, which Farley loved. Mooch decided the outside was a perfect climbing wall. Both were entertained.

What is that thing called, anyway?

My 3-year-old said she loved this horse and dinosaur the most.

Mooch's favorite spot in "Play."

Mooch’s favorite spot in “Play.”

Though the kid would not leave the kinetic sand alone.

Minutes later, Mooch would take her shoes off and step barefoot into her own private beach, scaring off the others.

Minutes later, Mooch would take her shoes off and step barefoot into her own private beach, scaring off the others.

And she liked standing on the tall blocks in the main hall. And she liked the stage. And the foam blocks.

She was all over the place.

You don’t need a kid to go to “Play.”

I call this ball thing "Ball 'o Frustration."

I call this ball thing “Ball ‘o Frustration.”

In fact, don’t, so you can play with what you want to play with instead of chasing around your excited kids. 🙂

You have to check out the rocket launchers on the second level.

Target practice.

Target practice.

Our whole family had fun playing with them.

The only downside to “Play” is the space is all concrete. My youngest bumped her head trying to lay on the foam blocks.

Dr. Stuart Brown

You might not be familiar with Dr. Stuart Brown, but if you ever murmured to yourself that your kids should spend more time playing than [insert annoying activity here], than you ought to be. He founded the National Institute of Play, dedicating to unlocking the human potential through play in all stages of life using science to discover all that play has to teach us about transforming our world.

“Play is how we are made, how we develop

The exhibit “Play” uses Dr. Stuart Brown’s philosophy and research as a foundation to get people talking about play and why it’s important. They do this through all the hands-on examples of play on display now (and ready for your family to play with). These examples are meant to show how play can enhance everyday life – in the home, classroom, office, and community.

 

If you go

KANEKO

Where: 1111 Jones St.

Hours: Tuesdays through Fridays, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Saturdays and Sundays, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Cost: FREE (donations are welcome)

 

Upcoming “Play” events

June 25, 7 p.m., Nebraska Loves Public Schools screening and panel

July 16, 7 to 9 p.m., Spielbound presents Social Board Game Night

July 30, 7 to 9 p.m, Spielbound presents Strategy Board Game Night

Aug. 6, “rePLAY”

August 11, 7 to 9 p.m., Spielbound presents Cooperative Board Game Night

 

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Joanne

Monday 19th of June 2017

Would 8-year-olds enjoy this or might they be bored?

Kim

Tuesday 20th of June 2017

Joanne - This exhibit was a few summers ago (but no, they would've loved it!). The current exhibit is "Kinetic," and I think they'd enjoy this one, though it's a lot less hands-on. The kinetic sculptures are incredible! Go upstairs, too, and see some of the virtual reality things visitors can try out.

Joanne

Monday 19th of June 2017

Would 8-year-olds be bored there?

Alissa Apel

Thursday 9th of July 2015

My husband did end up taking the boys there last week. They did love it! I was happy to see that Fat Brain Toys helped them on some of their toy exhibits. One of my students does a ton of work for them. He's even made some toys. The one your daughter is playing with, I think it's called TWIGS, my student worked on that one.

Kim

Friday 10th of July 2015

That's very impressive about your student working on toys for Fat Brain Toys!

Jennifer

Tuesday 16th of June 2015

This looks like a lot of fun! Can I ask if you feel it would be appropriate for a 14 month old? We are going to be visiting Omaha in July on vacation and looking for activities to do with a 4 year old and 14 month old. It looks like it will be perfect for my 4 year old but wondering about how age appropriate it would be for the little one. Thanks!

Kim

Wednesday 17th of June 2015

There would be things for the little one to play with, I saw kids about that age playing in the kinetic sand and enjoying the different sizes of blocks. It's a very colorful exhibit and completely hands-on so it's not like there's any worry of kids touching something they're not supposed to. If he or she is a walker, though, just beware that it's all cement floors.

Alissa Apel

Tuesday 16th of June 2015

That looks like a lot of fun. We'll have to check it out. Thanks for posting about it!

Kim

Wednesday 17th of June 2015

You're welcome! I know your boys will find a lot to love there. Don't miss the upstairs part of the exhibit.

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