New ThinkSpace Exhibit is Now Open at Providence Children's Museum

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Exhibit explores spatial thinking through hands-on puzzles and challenges.

Kids experiment with building and design challenges in ThinkSpace.

ThinkSpace, a major new exhibit exploring spatial thinking, is now open at Providence Children’s Museum. This dynamic environment invites visitors to explore, imagine, create and experiment with shape and space through hands-on play and learning experiences.

Spatial thinking is integral to everyday life and is necessary to navigate, explore and survive in the world. People think spatially all the time – when tying shoes, reading maps, finding the way to the store, packing a suitcase, doing jigsaw puzzles, climbing rocks and cutting sandwiches in half – and they become better with practice. Spatial thinkers are architects designing buildings, pilots flying planes, doctors reading x-rays, electricians wiring houses, meteorologists predicting weather, bakers decorating cakes, geologists studying fossils and artists painting landscapes. Kids are spatial thinkers, too!

Spatial thinking is a powerful problem-solving tool and, research shows, a key to kids’ interest and success in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) disciplines. While spatial thinking develops over a lifetime, research suggests spatial thinking skills may be most malleable early in life and that early development of these skills increases later achievement in math and science. However, though kids learn the basics of shape and space, spatial thinking isn’t systematically taught in schools.

To build strong spatial sense and become proficient at spatial thinking, kids need hands-on opportunities to build and design in 3-D, draw maps and diagrams, and explore spaces with their whole bodies. ThinkSpace gets Providence Children’s Museum visitors thinking spatially with plenty of fun-filled opportunities for interactive play and exploration:

  • Navigate mystery maze boxes using the senses to guide a ball through hidden twists and turns, and map the path it traveled.
  • Create intricate kaleidoscopic designs by layering, ordering and rotating colorful cutout shapes in countless combinations.
  • Experiment with shadows and scale, transforming 3-D objects into 2-D representations and creating imaginative shadow scenes.
  • Solve the soma cube, a giant 3-D puzzle, by fitting together seven pieces to form a cube. Find one or more of 240 separate solutions!
  • Construct domino chain reactions, negotiating spacing and alignment to topple series of spirals and zigzags.
  • Explore a nook stocked with books about shape, navigation, and visual and spatial challenges.
  • And try other vibrant puzzles, challenges, building activities, and more!

In celebration of ThinkSpace, the Museum is holding special programs that encourage spatial thinking: Geometry of Origami on Saturday, November 17 and Sunday, November 18 from 11:00 AM - 3:00 PM and Puzzle Works on Saturday, November 24 and Sunday, November 25 from 10:00 AM - 3:00 PM.

Exhibit and programs are free with $9.00 Museum admission; free for Museum members. For more information, visit

ThinkSpace is supported by lead sponsor National Grid, with additional support from The June Rockwell Levy Foundation.

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Megan Fischer
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