By Mitch Hurst
By Mitch Hurst
‘Tis the season of lights and amid all the seasonal light shows on the North Shore, one in particular stands out—especially for kids. Children of all ages can immerse themselves Kohlights, an interactive light experience that runs on selected dates in December.
Now in its fourth year, Kohlights allows children to interact with light and color as they explore hues and patterns in a safe and hands-on holiday light installation. For the first time, this year’s Kohlights will be an indoor/ outdoor experience, with access to all of the Museum’s indoor exhibits as well as the outdoor “Winter Garden” and the popular Twinkle Train.
“Kids don’t want to just look at holiday lights, they want to play with holiday lights,” says Kohl Children’s Museum Vice President of Marketing and Sales Michael Kormanik. “Kids get dragged to a lot of places during the holidays but here, they are in charge so they can touch everything and interact with everything. They can be whoever they want to be.”
This year’s Kohlights features a Rainbow Arbor where kids can work cooperatively to illuminate tree lights in the Museum’s courtyard; an Illumination Court, a frozen sculpture that kids can crawl into; a Winter Garden with oversized, illuminated flowers, dragonflies, and butterflies; and a Rainbow Caterpillar where kids can touch its body segments to change its hues.
“We want to give kids a chance where they have the freedom to play and we want to elevate play both in the Museum and with Kohlights,” Kormanik says. “We want them to lead the charge, and from what we’re hearing this year’s Museum experience is the best one yet.”
Kormanik says the Museum’s philosophy is rooted in placing a heavy emphasis on play. It may seem trivial but offering kids an opportunity to learn by playing teaches lessons that will stick with them forever.
“So much of what we do in our lives and later in our lives comes from the play that we do in early childhood and that’s what the Museum celebrates,” he says. “We like to joke that we don’t tell the kids play is healthy because it’s like the old Life cereal advertisement, ‘Mikey likes it but don’t tell him it’s good for him’.”
The indoor museum is somewhat modeled on everyday life, as kids are prone to mimicking their parents. There’s a grocery store, where children can play cashier and other storefronts you’d find on a typical Main Street.
“There’s no right or wrong order to do things; no time allotment,” says Kormanik. “It’s good for the parents because they can play with their kids if the kids want them to but the kids are in charge. Let them entertain you instead of the other way around.”
The Kohlights event is scheduled for December 8, 9,15, and 16 but could be extended to the following week based on demand. The Museum closes each day at 4 pm for a deep cleaning and then reopens at 5 pm for the Kohlights event. For more information, visit kohlchildrensmuseum.org.