Sunday was a blue day at the Fairbanks Children’s Museum, but it was far from a sad day because it meant a new set of toys for visiting kids to play with.

“We decided that it was time to get new blue blocks," said Kalena Wright, membership and facilities coordinator with the museum.

The Rasmuson Foundation provided the Fairbanks Children’s Museum with a Tier 1 Grant for an updated outreach kit, according to Meredith Maple, executive director of the museum. This included funding for purchasing a new set of blue blocks.

The old set of blocks has not disappeared either. Maple wrote in an email to the News-Miner that they will be used for outside events, while the new kit will be for inside the museum.

Getting the funding for the new set was exciting for the museum, according to Wright.

“Not only do we have our old ones still, and we’re going to use those, but we decided to put out our news ones and hopefully people come out and enjoy our new ones now that we have them,” said Wright. 

The blocks, made by Imagination Playground, are aptly named “Big Blue Blocks” and aren’t just rectangular building toys. They have ramps, eye shaped pieces, long cylinders and 3D chevrons. The blocks have holes in them where children can push the cylinder pieces through or reach into and grasp. They’re made of a soft to touch foam, but sturdy enough for a child to stand on without even leaving a dent.

Wright stood at the front desk Sunday afternoon, next to a bowl of blue fruit snacks. Fairbanks Children’s Museum has a new theme each month and, according to Wright, the staff traded out some of their space-centric items, bringing out the new blue blocks at the start of December.

“They’re so much fun,” Wright said. “They can build so many things.”

Ramps for letting balls or stuffed animals roll down, castles and houses were all examples Wright gave of what the children might build.

By having something so simple and large, according to Wright, kids are able to play and use their imagination more than with something that’s already set up.

Activity picked up mid-afternoon. The space was filled with music as a child picked out the notes to “Take On Me” by A-ha on a piano set up against the western wall. Toddlers threw balls of yarn reminiscent of Seussian clovers back and forth.

In one room there were blueberries and a blue drink for visitors snack on. At another table was blue Play-Doh, mashed together and rolled out to a plateau.

Jason Sciuchetti sat near the Play-Doh station, watching his daughter scale a toppled pile of the museum’s newest set of blue blocks. A whole crowd of children went in and out of the blocks, making their way over and under pieces.

Sciuchetti said he brings Linda by on weekends, especially during this time of year with the weather, since it keeps her busy with other kids and lets her meet new people.

“You know, she actually enjoys it here, and doing all the crafts and everything like that,” he said, “and every once in awhile she sees a few of her friends from school come in and stuff like that.”

As he watched, Linda lifted a long, cylindrical block and used it as a sword in a battle with other kids, playing one of those games only children understand the exact rules for.

 

Contact staff writer Kyrie Long at 459-7510. Follow her at twitter.com/FDNMlocal.

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