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American Women's Club of Hamburg

Creative Playtime

by Vicki F.M.

Something wonderful is happening at the Museum of Kunst und Gewerbe for children and it is free! The Hubertus Wald Kinderreich “Garten der Dinge” in the basement of the museum opened in February thanks to the generous donation of recently deceased Hubertus Wald, a wealthy businessman. His widow, along with many very innovative designers, has made a spectacular playground for kids from 5 to 12 years old. No program, no guided tours, no instructions, just creative play.

My twin 6-year-old boys were there for three hours one Sunday! You enter this fantastical area and pull the water can down to hear the introduction, which explains that you should take your shoes off and place them in the “broom hedge”. I will definitely steal this creative idea when I build my dream house! They have taken ordinary brooms, cut off the handles, hammered them two-by-two on the wall with the bright red straw sticking out; and there you have a clever shoe holder!

There are different areas to play in to promote imagination. Shadow play, building, photo making and a very popular spot for the parents as well was the fantasy costume area. The adults are encouraged to stay with the children and discover, design and do it together. But, since the adults must pay the entrance fee (single adult EUR 8, family ticket EUR 13), you may leave the children (with your cell phone number) and go visit the exhibitions. There are at least three “Gardeners”, as the caretakers who work there are called, to watch after things and help the kids. My boys actually came with us to see the “Skythen” exhibit and they discovered, with delight, the free audio phones which described certain displays.

My husband and I left them downstairs again in the Hubertus Wald Kinderreich while we toured the rest of the museum and drank a coffee in the great café upstairs, in peace if I dare say (when was the last time you actually spoke a thought out with your husband on a Sunday without interruption?!) It was a perfect Sunday afternoon for us all. Open only on weekends.

Go and do something different and play with your kids this weekend in the “Garten der Dinge”!

originally published in Currents Apr/May 2008

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