By Curtis Jolley
Public Relations Coordinator
Local non-profit, Causeway, recently posed a question to all of Chattanooga: “How can more opportunities to play make Chattanooga a stronger city?”
You might think as a children’s museum that specializes in learning through play, a day at the Museum might have been enough to answer the question. But, three teens in our
Museum Apprentice Program (MAPs) wanted to take it a step further and reach a group that is unfortunately frequently left out of the play conversation: senior citizens.
With the help of the MAPs, we submitted our idea to Causeway and were fortunate to be selected as one of the 10 recipients for the grant. This allowed us to fulfill our vision through a night called “Senior Play” that had one goal – to let senior citizens experience fun through play.
Residents from Morning Pointe Assisted Living Facilities and children from Primrose School of Hixson joined us at the Museum for a fun-filled evening featuring hands-on activities, live music, and even a riveting game of giant pick-up sticks. Many senior citizens in the group were able to bring their grandchildren and great grandchildren to explore the Museum, some for the very first time.
“Too often when we think about play, seniors are left out,” said Anastasia Hanes, one of the MAPs who helped apply for the project grant. “This event allowed us to provide a fun and safe opportunity for seniors and their families to come and enjoy Creative Discovery Museum during a more relaxed time.”
Guests were also able to make keepsake pillows with their picture printed onto them that are popular in our Make It Space. It was a wonderful sight to see: both senior citizens and children laughing, having a great time, and sharing in a bond that unites us all – play.
“Senior Play Night was an outstanding example of a way to make special connections between seniors and their young family members,” said Holly Holcomb, Life Enrichment Director at Morning Pointe. “The residents got more enjoyment and had more fun than the little ones. This evening was one that residents will never forget, an experience that they wouldn’t have had, if not for this night.”
Holly also said that many of her residents have not stopped talking about the night and how much fun they had. She even mentioned they might have to take a field trip to the Museum on a normal day sometime in the future.
The night was such a great success, that we’re already trying to schedule similar events for the future and think of other ways to reach senior citizens. We believe that play for all ages has the power to transform our city and make an impact for our future. After all, you’re never too old to have a little fun and play!