Curiosity Gym is where you can walk in and use your creativity the way you want

Jun 16, 2018, 11:12 IST | Vinitha Ramchandani

Curiosity Gym is all about: a place for people of all ages to walk in and allow for the sparking of one's own curiosity through applied learning, tinkering, prototyping or creating

Curiosity Gym is where you can walk in and use your creativity the way you want

Curiosity Gym, Fort, (Indoors)
Vinitha RamchandaniImagine a place where you walk in to exercise the muscles of your imagination. Because that is exactly what Curiosity Gym is all about: a place for people of all ages to walk in and allow for the sparking of one's own curiosity through applied learning, tinkering, prototyping or creating. I enrol my 11-year-old son and myself for a 3-D Doodling workshop at the SoBo space, and walk in early so that I can soak in the space, assess it and mess around because no one here knows I'm here to review the place.

CG is located on a single floor, with narrow rooms, where each room is called a lab. The interiors are edged with a long desk and chairs, and implements that you can work with. There's nothing fancy here; yet if you look closely, there are prototypes, models, rudimentary batteries, broken-down clocks, rods, hooks, nets, wires, balls, bottles and objects that I have no names for. So, if you have a science project you are keen to work on or if you wish to design solutions involving problem-solving; or if you simply want to fiddle around with a collection of assorted raw material, this is the place to head to.

We spot a seven-year-old and his mother working together to create a motion-censored lighting system. They are deep in conversation with a bespectacled man and no one looks up as I walk in. It is apparent that at CG you can walk in and do whatever you want. There are — what they call, mentors — who will step in only if you wish to brainstorm or ask for help. I eavesdrop on the mother-son-mentor conversation and learn that the little fellow has been here before and simply loved his time at CG and has decided to visit again. We are ready to attend the workshop and, in a bit, more people walk in. We sit around a longish centre-table on which assorted things have been assembled in a heap. There is a sheaf of tracing paper, a largish pen-type-object and long, colourful plastic-looking noodly things.

We are introduced to a team of mentors who will handhold us through 3-D Doodling. The session begins as a mentor shows us how to insert these plasticy, noodle thingies into the largish-pen thing that seems to be connected to an electric circuit. An hour of deep concentration and I'm holding a cup that I have drawn out of thin air, along with a tribal face mask. The car, reindeer and butterfly that I chose to start with will never be my pride and joy, so I allow them to be taken away. My son and two other boys have decided to create phone covers for their phones and yet another participant has made a beautiful dream-catcher — all out of thin air. No matter what we've done, the air is full of jubilation. Of course 3-D Doodling is not path-breaking, but I can see how fascinating this space can be for children and anyone who wants to create, implement a solution, optimise a remedy, or even lug something they have worked on and have perhaps hit a roadblock. Because Curiosity Gym is just that: it is a shared learning environment where anyone can walk in, play around, break, remake, design or just be. So cool.

Safety tip:
There are mentors always around to help keep the space safe, but because there are power points around, either stay close to your kid, or ensure that a mentor is always around.

Fact file
Where: 6, Palkhivala Building, 296 Shahid Bhagat Singh Road, Fort. Best for: Girls and boys aged five upwards
How to reach: Board a local to either CST or Churchgate and hail a cab towards Asiatic Library. It's a stone's throw from there.
Timings: All days, from 10 am to 7 pm Budget: You can walk in free of cost; charges depend on if you have signed up for a workshop or if you have used any resource material
Food: No
Water: Yes, but carry your own
Restroom facilities: Yes
Where else to go: Monetary museum at RBI and the Horniman Circle Gardens

Parent Poll: Kids are encouraged to innovate, using their intellect as well as imagination
Rating: ****
Kids' Poll: Lots of cool material to work with; it is okay to break stuff.
Rating: ****

What's Good: Makes science hands-on and accessible.
What's Not So Good: Wish it was bigger in terms of space.

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