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Kokomo-Howard County Public Library – the latest Vote for Play awardee!

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October 5, 2016 in Block Play, Featured Posts

by communitymanager

Hooray for Play! Kokomo-Howard County Public Library is the latest recipient of Imagination Playground’s Vote for Play award! Serving eight townships in Howard County, Indiana, KHCPL will receive a 105-piece Imagination Playground Big Blue Blocks set and Play Associate training, valued in total at $7500.

Upon learning the news that their library had been awarded an Imagination Playground, Lisa Fipps, Director of Marketing and Community Engagement shared, ”When we got the call that we’d won, our staff was literally squealing, shouting for joy, dancing, and jumping up and down – not everyday occurrences in a library.”

KHCPL is the first library ever to receive the Vote for Play award, offered by Imagination Playground several times each year to the school or family center that receives the most community votes. They join a growing population of libraries now offering creative play with Imagination Playground, as more and more incorporate hands-on, STEM, and makerspace activities into their scheduling.

“We love that it has loose parts that encourage children to create a play space of their own,” said Fipps.

In addition to being part of regularly scheduled library activities, KHCPL will showcase their new Imagination Playground in an upcoming 3-month interactive exhibit they will host in partnership with the American Library Association—Discover Tech: Engineers Make a World of Difference.

“KHCPL was one of only eight libraries in the nation to receive the Discover Tech: Engineers Make a World of Difference exhibit. It’ll be from February 25 to May 19. With the block set, we can let the kids do some engineering of their own!”

Fipps also had positive comments about how Imagination Playground is manufactured and the materials used.

“As a town with a lot of union workers, we were thrilled to find out that the product is made in the USA. Since we recycle and just finished a yearlong project to educate the community about the importance of saving pollinators, we care about the environment, so it was a big plus for us to see that the product is biodegradable and recyclable once it has served our patrons for many years.”

She concluded by saying, “We are truly grateful to our patrons and the citizens of Kokomo and Howard County who voted for us. We also thank all of our staff members for voting and spreading the word. KHCPL didn’t win this; everyone did!”

David Krishock, President & CEO of Imagination Playground, offered his congratulations to KHCPL, saying, “It thrills us beyond words that we could help children from eight different townships in Indiana get free access to creative play through their local library. Many thanks to the Kokomo-Howard County Public Library and their supportive community for their outstanding effort. Hooray for play!”

He went on to add, “Even though current Vote for Play session has ended, we’ll be reaching even more children through future contests, so stay tuned!”

Imagination Playground’s Vote for Play program allows communities to vote for their favorite school or family center to bring an Imagination Playground Big Blue Blocks set to the children they serve. Voting sessions run multiple times throughout the year. KHCPL is the third organization to receive the award in 2016; Finn Academy of Elmira, NY and River Oaks Elementary School of Gulfport, MS were awarded playgrounds earlier this year. Since the inception of Vote for Play, over 30,000 communities have entered the contest.

The next Vote for Play session begins on October 10, 2016. Schools and family centers interested in participating in the next Vote for Play session should check Imagination Playground’s Vote for Play web page, and follow Imagination Playground on Facebook and Twitter.

http://www.imaginationplayground.com/promotions/thank-you-for-voting.html
https://www.facebook.com/ImaginationPlayground/
https://twitter.com/ImgPlayground

To learn more about the creative play offered by Imagination Playground, or to bring the Big Blue Blocks to a school or family center, call 1-678-604-7466 or email ContactUs(at)ImaginationPlayground(dot)org.

Imagination Playground 3D Builder Mobile App Surpasses 100K Downloads, Boasts New Features

Castle Template included in new version of 3D Builder.

Castle Template included in new version of 3D Builder.

With over 100K downloads and exciting new features, Imagination Playground’s already popular 3D Builder app just got even better.  A virtual version of creating with the well-known Big Blue Blocks, this fun and educational children’s app allows kids to build, stack, connect and channel with Imagination Playground—just like they do in real life.

New in version 1.3.2 are ready-made templates, including a boat, a bridge, a castle, and a rocket ship. These provide a starting point for building that kids can customize into their own unique creations.

As before, 3D Builder works on both iOS and Android, but for those who prefer to surf, this latest release introduces a new browser version. Perfect for the classroom setting or home desktop use, the online option offers the same rich features as the mobile app while working with the most popular browsers such as Chrome and Firefox.

David Krishock, Imagination Playground President and CEO says, “By bridging the worlds of physical and digital building, 3D Builder has already helped our mission to reach more children with creative block play. Now, with these new enhancements, it’s even more fun for kids and easier for teachers to use in the classroom.”

Since its initial release in 2015, 3D Builder has been highly rated by top educational and parenting blogs. In their online review, iPhone Mom rated 3D Builder 4.8 out of 5, saying, “It is rare that you find a high quality, entertaining and educational app for free and Imagination Playground 3D Builder hits the jackpot.”

Katie Chirhart, a children’s technology instructor and writer for Teachers with Apps, recently tweeted her students’ 3D Builder images saying, “My kinders LOVED your building app!”

Parents will also be interested to know that screen captures of builds created with 3D Builder can be submitted to Imagination Playground’s annual Build-A-Thon. For contest details and prize information, please visit http://www.imaginationplayground.com/promotions/build-a-thon/index.html

For more information on Imagination Playground’s 3D Builder, links to download, and access to the new browser version, please visit http://www.imaginationplayground.com/product/3d-builder-app.html

 

Seven-Year-Old Wins Imagination Playground Build-A-Thon, Donates Prize to His School

Principal Chad Carr shakes Caden Yocom's hand during school celebratory assembly

Principal Chad Carr shakes Caden Yocom’s hand during school celebratory assembly

When 7-year-old Caden Yocom learned he was the Grand Prize winner in Imagination Playground’s 2015 Build-A-Thon contest, he knew he had a big decision to make. What should he do with his award of an Imagination Playground Big Blue Blocks set?

Last month, while on a school field trip to Columbus Ohio’s Center of Science and Industry (COSI), Caden announced his decision—He would donate the blocks to his classmates at Columbus Preparatory Academy.

COSI is one of the largest modern-built science centers in the United States, and precisely where Caden created his winning Build-A-Thon build. That day, the school reported that Caden happily shared with his fellow students, “You are all getting a set of blocks of your own coming soon!”

In a recent school assembly, the Big Blue Blocks were unveiled, and Principal Chad Carr extolled the selflessness of Caden’s decision. After all, the principal explained, Caden could have kept them in his own back yard.  But that day, instead, the school was celebrating the newly delivered blocks, with which all of CPA’s students would soon be playing.

During the address, the K-8 Principal went on to thank Caden and Imagination Playground, noting that as a charter school, CPA often depended on fundraising and the generosity of its community. Also, the blocks would provide an opportunity for indoor play during the cold Ohio winters.

Upon learning of Caden’s decision to donate his prize, David Krishock, Imagination Playground President and CEO, shared his excitement and gratitude.

“Caden has shown a remarkable degree of generosity for a such a young man and we thank him,” he said. “We’re sure the teachers and parents of CPA are just as excited as we are, knowing that all of Caden’s classmates will benefit from creative play.”

“As the Grand Prize winner, Caden and his parents will also receive a trip to Imagination Playground Park in New York,” Mr. Krishock added. “I’m looking forward to watching him build when he arrives.”

Imagination Playground’s Build-A-Thon invites kids 2-10 to create with Imagination Playground Big Blue Blocks, and submit images of their builds to win prizes.  In addition to competing with physical build entries, a digital prize category allows children to submit screen captures of builds they create with Imagination Playground’s 3D Builder App. The Grand Prize winner receives a 105-piece Imagination Playground Big Blue Blocks set and an all-expense paid trip to the legendary Imagination Playground Park in New York City. There are also 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place prizes for both digital and physical builds—over 500 winners in all. Imagination Playground’s 2016 Build-A-Thon contest is currently underway. For build locations, how to enter, and links to download the 3D Builder App, visit: http://www.imaginationplayground.com/promotions/build-a-thon/index.html

 

 

Nance Elementary School Hosts Innovation Week

On Nance Family day, students built this vehicle.

We want to go for a ride!

So many modern educators are thinking “out of the box” when it comes to their curricula, and we love observing this trend. A great example is Nance Elementary’s Innovation Week, recently held by the Clinton, Oklahoma elementary school.

Activities included a paper airplane flying contest, a Makerspace demo, and students collaborating about favorite inventions. Imagination Playground Big Blue Blocks took part on the Family Day, where parents were invited to design and build with the children.

Now that’s what we call creative play!

Imagination Playground thanks Principal Janalyn Taylor for sharing these images with us on Twitter.

 

New Imagination Playground Unveiled in Hastings, New Zealand City Center

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May 16, 2016 in Block Play

by communitymanager

Children of Hastings, NZ were treated to hours of creative play on Saturday, May 14, when their brand new Imagination Playground was unveiled at Albert Square Park. Going forward, the Big Blue Blocks will be available to them every day. It’s all part of a local initiative, to restore vibrancy to the Hastings city center. We agree, the blue really stands out!

Read the full  article here.

Image by Russell Taylor Photography

Photo Credit: Russell Taylor Photography

 

 

4th Graders Step Up to Blue Block Bug Design Challenge

"Shark Bug"

“Shark Bug”

What’s made of Big Blue Blocks and looks like a hornet?

SCE4 Messenger Brothers will be happy to show you!

They’re a duo of 4th grade classes at Dublin City Schools in Ohio, engaging together in a variety of creative S.T.E.M. related activities.

We spotted them over on Twitter, tweeting about their “Imagination Playground Design Challenge” to “Design a New Bug Species.”

The project produced many clever “Blue Block creatures,” including something “similar to a hornet,” a Shark Bug, One-Eyed Bug, and a Water Bug—complete with male and female versions!

Visiting their blog, we were entertained by a “colony” of other fascinating (not-necessarily-bug-related) projects, including an energy challenge where students were given a choice between building a penguin hut or an eco-friendly toy project!

We really got a charge out of that one.

D’oh! Did we really say that?! Keep up the good work kids!

 

NPR talks about the power of block play

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June 20, 2013 in Block Play, Press

by communitymanager

Toys have recently chased more and more high-tech roads, but after attending the National Building Museum’s PLAY WORK BUILD exhibit, NPR realized that the hottest toys right now were low-tech: building blocks.

From the legendary Lego blocks to wood blocks to Imagination Playground’s “futuristic block playground, the long-standing tradition of block play is backed by the understanding that block play helps transform children’s minds, lives, bodies, and are ruthlessly efficient at lifting their spirits through play.

Listen to NPR’s coverage here or download the MP3 here: “NPR – From Classic Toys To New Twists, Kids Go Back To Blocks“.

“Small children heave around blocks made out of foam as blue as the ocean. They stack and demolish blue tubes, balls, bricks, bars and cubes.”
Source: NPR – “From Classic Toys To New Twists, Kids Go Back To Blocks

From Classic Toys To New Twists  Kids Go Back To Blocks   Monkey See   NPR

young child expo & conference 2013

 

 

On April 19th, Imagination Playground participated with Jean Schrieber, M.S. in the 10th Annual Young Child Expo & Conference. Presented by Fordham University’s Graduate School of Education and Los Niños Services, the conference brings together over 1,000 educators, childcare experts and parents in order to learn about child education and development.

An early supporter of Imagination Playground, Jean Schrieber, presented how the Blocks provide endless opportunities for open-ended play indoors and outdoors. She detailed how Imagination Playground is appropriate for children of all ages, and emphasized how the Blocks provide a stress-free escape from the pressures of an increasing test-oriented education system. We were excited to see educators and parents asking questions, testing out the Imagination Playground Blocks, and interested in attending Play Dates. Thank you, Jean!

 

 

Jean Schreiber is an early childhood educational consultant who has developed and directed early childhood programs and parenting centers. She earned her M.S. in Early Childhood Education from Bank Street College of Education where she is an instructor in the Continuing Professional Studies Program. Jean presents her workshops across the country on topics such as fostering the social and emotional development of young children, creating developmentally appropriate classroom experiences, and supporting the emotional and professional growth of parents and educators. She is particularly interested in the role of block play as a tool to enrich learning in all areas of development.

Learn more about Jean’s story and support of Imagination Playground on our website.

 

Imagination Playground enables children to unleash their creativity.

Children and creativity - Imagination Playground

Blocks are among the most important toys available to children. They allow kids to create a world that is their own.

Check out Imagination Playground’s Learning Library with free resources and white papers to learn more on block play!