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Posted on January 19, 2021 at 4:10 PM by Wendy Long
Normal, Peoria children’s museums help launch Illinois Play Channel to serve statewide
(Central Illinois) – Jan. 19, 2021 – Children’s museums in Illinois that have been shuttered since March are working together to expand their virtual reach to the entire state. Illinois Play Channel is a play-filled social space where families can find virtual, free resources for playful learning and early childhood development. The online program officially launched Monday, Jan. 18, 2021 via YouTube and Facebook.
The pilot began to take shape as museums collaborated over the winter holidays. The Chicago Children’s Museum, the Children’s Discovery Museum in Normal, Kohl Children’s Museum in Glenview and the Peoria PlayHouse Children’s Museum are the first museums to offer Illinois Play Channel activities designed for virtual interaction, at-home play kits and outdoor activities that inspire the love of learning through the power of play.
The launch weekend saw multiple programs offered for the Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, focusing on literacy, a celebration of diversity and an invitation to participate in the annual MLK Day of Service as “a day on, not a day off.”
“Our kids volunteered to make cards for patients at the Children’s Hospital of Illinois as their first Illinois Play Channel activity. It will be fun to share more virtual programming with museums across the state,” said Rebecca Shulman, Director of the Peoria PlayHouse Children’s Museum. “We are thrilled to offer this as well as our PlayHouse Everywhere monthly membership for our families during this unusual time.”
After an initial two months, the Illinois Play Channel aims to offer programs and play resources from every children’s museum and science center in the state. Subscribe and Like the Illinois Play Channel’s social media to receive updates and find new play opportunities each week.
“Our doors might not be open right now, but we are still able to serve thousands of families who badly need to play, imagine and discover together,” said Beth Whisman, Executive Director of the Children’s Discovery Museum. “The Illinois Play Channel increases our service area for topics that have a broad appeal, and it helps museums that might be down to minimal staff due to an extended closure.”