The award-winning play city “Mini-Munich” is the largest summer break project for children at the age of 7-15 that is organized by the City of Munich. Over the past 34 years, Mini-Munich has become the most renowned educational project for children and has been a role model for more than 200 play cities both nationally and internationally. Mini-Munich is a small model of the big city where children have to pursue everyday tasks, just like their moms and dads do every day – i.e. they have to work and study, are involved in politics, administration, or culture, or participate and contribute to public life. Children learn how life in a city works, what tasks and obligations there are, as well as how money and consumption are organized. Mini-Munich thus reflects everyday life in a big city, and renders these experiences accessible to children.
In August 2016, just after the school’s summer break began, 32.000 children gathered at the Zenith-Halle in Munich, accompanied by thousands of interested parents and adults.
Since there are several universities and colleges in Munich, academic institutions were also represented in the play city. Children could enroll for different study programs and degrees, among them programs that span the natural sciences and biology.
Maximilian Strunz, Christoph Mayr (both PhD students at the CPC), and Christina Lukas (experienced laboratory technician) supported this year’s project by introducing children to lung diseases and associated risk factors. By using a playful approach, not only theoretical aspects were covered. The children had many questions that could be answered by the “experts” who then helped the children with the practical tasks, such as the isolation of DNA from saliva or chromatography-based experiments.
The children were very interested and actively contributed to the experiments. They concluded that the "Mini-Munich Helmholtz Center" was awesome and that science truly rocks!
By Maximilian Strunz.