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Hands to the pump . . . Otago Museum science engagement co-ordinator Nathalie Wierdak watches Nancy Hutchinson (3) test the water pump in the Kia Rapua pop-up science playground at the Museum Reserve last week. PHOTO: SHAWN MCAVINUE

A playground of “science-themed fun” is set to launch on the reserve outside Otago Museum this weekend.

Otago Museum science engagement co-ordinator Nathalie Wierdak said the Kia Rapua pop-up science playground was designed for children aged between 3 and 7, to encourage their “natural curiosity and sense of exploration”.

The playground introduces the concepts of sound, colour, textures, ramps and building through “hands-on play”.

The free playground would be open to the public between 11am and 4pm on Saturday and Sunday, Mrs Wierdak said.

The Ministry for Business, Innovation and Employment gave $15,000 from its Unlocking Curious Minds fund for the travelling playground.

The playground was developed by the team at Otago Museum with the help of Dunedin company Playgear and input from early childhood educators.

After the launch the playground will travel to four Dunedin preschools – Little Citizens, the Green Street Early Learning Centre, Roslyn Maori Hill Kindergarten and Wakari Kindergarten – for a month at a time.

During the launch this weekend, children are encouraged to dress as their favourite kind of scientist, or favourite famous scientist, for the chance to win a one-day family pass to the new Tuhura Otago Community Trust Science Centre at the museum.