Let the Games End

Last call for games . . . almost. The "Games People Play" exhibit at the Children's Museum at La Habra ends its summertime run Sunday. Kids, escorted by parents and camp counselors, have been intrigued by Quoits (a street game), Arsaaraq (a field game) and Pelele (a party game). Then there's the tricky dealings of the African String puzzle.

The idea is to show that games are universal, said April Morales, curator of exhibits and education at the museum. "We wanted to do two things: Have some fun and provide some information on different cultures. Everyone plays games."

After working with volunteers and painting some of the 35 hands-on games herself, Morales decided her favorite games included Chinesenpiel, the German version of pachisi, and that old favorite, basketball.

"We have a mini-basket court," said Morales. "The text on the wall near it explains that it originated in 1880s by a PE teacher [James Naismith] in Springfield, Mass., who couldn't take his students outside because of the weather so he invented a game they could play inside with a peach basket."

Acting director Melissa Banning said the museum emphasizes education during the school year, with exhibits relating to what the students are learning in class.

"But in the summer, these are not studious groups that come through," she said. "They're camps or play groups. They want to have fun and we want to have playful exhibits."

The museum is open from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday through Saturday; 1-5 p.m. Sunday. Admission is $4, children younger than 2 get in free. 301 S. Euclid St., (562) 905-9793.

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