We are building a dynamic play and learning space where children and families can come together to experience the transformative power of play.
Play Africa is igniting curiosity and learning by prototyping our original exhibits and programmes at Constitution Hill in Johannesburg.
Creative ideas come alive as children and families use special big blue blocks to make and build whatever their minds can imagine. From time machines to castles, motorcycles to kitchens, children take the lead as they innovate on one another’s ideas.
Children and families can explore South Africa’s night sky together inside our portable planetarium, supported by a Play Africa facilitator who will introduce basic vocabulary and indigenous stories about the stars that have been through the ages. Afterwards, children illustrate what they have learned.
Children and families create art side by side using a range of art materials and open-ended art activities. Everyone is encouraged to express their creativity and try new things while exploring new tools and techniques and creating beautiful masterpieces.
Storytelling help children make sense of their world. They are linked to South Africa’s important oral cultural traditions. At this exhibit children develop language and communication skills to help build a their sense of well-being, identity and sense of belonging.
Children naturally dream and imagine. At Play Africa’s Fantasy Play, they can bring their stories to life through dress-up and pretend play. Fantasy Play nurtures abstract thinking, which is necessary to process ideas, consider theories and determine consequences before acting. This space helps children build important social skills and negotiate with one another while they experiment with new roles.
This exhibit is designed to stimulate the minds of our youngest engineers, our children. Children experiment, design, test and adapt their own marble run to learn about basic physics and engineering. Children can access this learning at multiple levels with endless options and challenges.
Hands on Maths is an interactive experience that encourages children to develop early maths confidence and understanding in an exciting and engaging environment.
Children and their caregivers use a range of craft materials to create incwadi yothando, or “love letters,” to the people and things that are important to them. This exhibit nourishes the introspective nature in children and families.
In this station, children work with local artists to paint self-portraits. Together, the self-portraits will form part of a collaborative work of art created for Play Africa to send a message of welcoming and belonging to all who visit.
In this station, children and families can pose for a family photograph in Play Africa’s Children’s Taxi. Those who choose to share these photographs with Play Africa can see their photographs showcase in Play Africa’s “All Families are Welcome” exhibit.
Children and families will make a movie through stop-motion animation. In this station, everyone takes turn making new marks on a single canvas, taking pictures throughout the process. At the end, the images of the evolving image are used to make a movie.
Play Africa’s Children’s Maker Space is an open-ended exploration space where children are encouraged to plan, make and experiment using a range of exciting materials and tools.
This large-scale building kit for hands-on free play and playful STE(A)M learning lets children use wooden planks, wheels, pulleys, nuts, bolts and rope to follow their curiosity through play while learning 21st century skills.
Play Africa has a range of Lego and Duplo for formal and informal maths, engineering and fantasy play programmes, thanks to an innovative partnership with Care for Education and the Lego Foundation.
Children create their own city and railroad system with a range of materials.
Chlidren use a wealth of materials to learn about the natural world and their place in it.
Children learn about environmental conservation and the Earth’s climate with hands-on environmental science activities.
This programme sets the stage for children’s healthy cognitive, physical, emotional and social development, providing parents with education on appropriate, loving stimulation for children from age 6-14 months.
Help Us Bring New and Exciting Exhibits to Play Africa
Children plant, harvest and play in this unique, hands-on exhibit that will celebrate South Africa’s rich agricultural heritage by engaging children and families in conversation and actions around the importance of agriculture, wholesome foods, and agricultural trade in our country.
Children play the role of a veterinarian and help some animals in need at our Animal Hospital. Look at x-rays and investigate your animal patients’ charts to determine the best possible treatment. Children engage in cooperative play and problem solving in this unique environment where they use imagination and role-play in the care of healthy, sick, or injured animals. Photo credited to Kohl Children’s Museum of Greater Chicago.
This Children’s Bank is a fun and interactive way to introduce concepts of financial literacy, maths, economics and trade to young children. This interactive, child-size bank and ATM machine will allow children to step into the shoes the bank teller or the customer and navigate concepts about how money is made and spent, the importance of saving, where money comes from, the importance of giving back and introductions to local and global economics and commerce.
Families create healthier lives together through interactive play and learning. The activities and information for Eat Sleep Play are based on the latest medical and behavioral research and are linked to most important elements of a child’s day. Children and caregivers learn essential facts and skills to make simple changes in their lives and build a strong and healthy future.
This melodic, interactive exhibit engages children’s hearts and ears while they play with a variety of musical instruments to compose their own pieces as well as collaborate works through improvisation. Sounds of South Africa seeks to develop an appreciation for indigenous music and dance, through fun and engaging hands-on programming and play.
Play Africa is building the first augmented reality (AR) sandbox in South Africa with local manufactures and IT specialists. This interactive sandbox allows children and adults to informally learn about geographical, geological, and hydrological principles through play. Children explore contour lines, mountains, valleys, dams, watersheds and basic water flow by moving and shaping kinetic sand in this interactive exhibit. Photo Credit: National Science Foundation.
Stroom is an original Play Africa exhibit, inspired by global examples, that is a dynamic, fun, creative, and mesmerizing educational tool that that creates opportunities for groups of people to play across generations and cultures. Water play is an open-ended, creative activity that provides opportunities for extended exploration by early learners. Photo Credit: Outdorable (http://nz.outdorable.com)
Inspired by other museum exhibits and programmes around the world designed specifically for children with special needs, Play Africa is currently developing several children’s museum exhibits designed specifically with and for children with disabilities.
The Sensory Room: As part of our work to make hands-on play and learning accessible and inclusive for all children and families in South Africa, we are creating a groundbreaking new Sensory Play exhibit especially designed to consider the needs of children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and their families.
This modular, adaptable and mobile exhibit is currently under development, with input from Autism South Africa and parents and children with autism living in South Africa.
We are championing children’s right to play with our original exhibits and programmes. We have reached more than:
Minutes of play!
The Big Vision
Where do these exist?
Major public institutions for hands-on play and learning existing around the world and are sometimes known as ‘children’s museums’. They offer young children powerful learning enrichment outside the formal classrooms of schools and crèches.
They are warm, inviting places where every exhibit is designed to be fully interactive, offering hands-on experiences in arts, ecology, engineering, geography, health, literacy, maths, science and technology.
More than 31 million people around the world visit these kinds of spaces every year.