Play: Engaging Learners in Object Rich Environments

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National Museum of American History

12th St and Constitution Ave, NW

Washington, DC 20001

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Event description


The Smithsonian Early Enrichment Center invites educators to join us for a seminar exploring the incorporation of play in our object based approach to teaching young children.

This fast-paced, interactive two day seminar takes place at the Smithsonian Institution and covers the use of play as a vehicle for engaging young children in the classroom, museum, and community. Bringing together children’s interests, play themes, and museum collections, seminar participants partake in hands-on, object based activities, gallery visits, and guided discussions with museum professionals and early childhood educators.

In this seminar, participants think critically about different types of play and how to connect play to memorable museum experiences. By using the intrinsic motivation of play, educators can take advantage of a setting where children are attentive and actively engaged.


Transfers and Refunds

We offer a full refund up to two weeks prior to the event. We offer a transfer to a future seminar with up to one week notice. Less than one week notice of cancellation with result in forfeiture of your payment.

What to Expect

Active Participation:

Our workshops are a mix of seminar, participatory exercises, museum visits, and open conversation. This program is about sharing ideas, sparking imaginations, and fostering collaboration.


Many of our workshops incorporate activities in many of the museums around the National Mall. There will be a lot of walking as we explore the galleries, so come prepared with comfortable shoes. Please let us know as soon as possible if you have any accessibility needs that should be taken into consideration as we plan our excursions.


We will walk between museums in most weather. Please come prepared.

Transportation and Accomodations


Reagan National Airport is the closest airport to downtown DC and is the only airport serviced by the Metrorail system: http://www.metwashairports.com/reagan/1211.htm


The Smithsonian Metro Stop, served by the Orange and Blue lines, is closest. After exiting the train, head out of the metro in the direction of the National Mall, at the top of the escalator walk left, and the National Mueum of American HIstory is ahead of you on the left. Please note that the Metro system has been updating the metro rails in sections, which can lead to delays. Check for updated information at https://www.wmata.com/service/SafeTrack.cfm


For full schedule information please reference the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority at http://www.wmata.com/.


Since parking is extremely limited, we recommend that you avoid driving. If you find you need to drive, please reference this SI guide for parking locations: http://www.si.edu/content/pdf/visit/parkingmap.pdf.

Where to Stay:

There are a number of hotels in the greater DC metropolitan area. Do take into consideration access to public transportation. Many hotels offer shuttles to the Mall but a number of the shuttles only run seasonally; be sure to check with the concierge before you book. Please keep in mind that Georgetown is NOT serviced by the Metro, busing is the only public transportation option.

Those participants who would like to room share are welcome to contact us and we will try to connect you with other participants looking to share accommodations.


We can accommodate any accessibility needs. In order to accommodate to the best of our abilities, please let us know what you’ll need as soon as you register.

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National Museum of American History

12th St and Constitution Ave, NW

Washington, DC 20001

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