Club House Combines Fun and Learning

With his hands on his hips, Recreation Therapist Rob Johnson surveyed the room. It was a jumble of mismatched furniture, storage boxes, and tables piled with used household items. Most people would see an unorganized mess. Rob saw a possibility. His vision of creating a club house was about to become a reality.

Today, the Aspen Club House is an inviting and welcoming space with plenty of activities to choose from.

The clubhouse features:
• An arcade-like basketball game with two hoops
• A wall with magnetic poetry to cultivate literacy and foster creativity
• An Xbox One with Kinect, encouraging children to move their bodies
• A handmade, three-foot-tall dollhouse fosters unstructured, imaginative play
• A Nintendo Wii outfitted with Rockband and other active games
• A “store” where tickets can be redeemed for healthy snacks and drinks
• A full-sized foosball table to develop gross motor skills
• An adjacent kitchen where children learn cooking skills

A STEM-based activity the children especially enjoy is reverse engineering. It involves disassembling a manmade device in order to figure out how it works.

STEM-based learningRecently, Rob showed three children how to remove the housing of a DVD player. None of them had ever used a screwdriver before. Learning the difference between a flathead and a Phillips is a practical skill they will need later in life.

“They were fascinated to see the gears and LED lights when the DVD tray slid out,” Rob said. He pauses. “Actually, I was pretty fascinated myself,” he admits.

What’s next on the agenda for club members? “I was thinking of getting together with [Music Therapist] Chris Wojdak and hosting a Wii Rock Band play-off,” Rob said. “I think the kids would love it.”

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