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You’re Invited to a Learn and Play Date at National Children’s Museum

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Imagination Playground is hosting “Learn & Play” dates at the National Children’s Museum for Parents, Educators, PTA, and Principals!

Bring your children and build with our blocks. Discover how free play unlocks a child’s imagination and creativity while building social skills, collaboration, confidence, problem solving, determination, and more. Imagination Playground transforms children’s minds, bodies and spirits through play!

Admission to the museum is waived with your RSVP. You can invite (1) one guest OR (1) one child. Their admission fee will be waived with your RSVP.

When

Thursday, May 8, 2014
3pm – 5pm

Friday, May 9, 2014
3pm – 5pm

Saturday, May 10, 2014
10am – 12pm

151 St. George Boulevard
National Harbor, MD 20745 

See the map.

Space is limited. Sign up today! Register online here.

Or call 866.816.8608 for more information. Provide your preferred day, session, attendees, phone number, email address – reference Learn & Play date. Hope to see you there!

 

You’re Invited to a Learn and Play Date at Brooklyn Children’s Museum

Imagination Playground is hosting “Learn & Play” dates at the Brooklyn Children’s Museum for Parents, Educators, PTA, and Principals!

Bring your children and build with our blocks. Discover how free play unlocks a child’s imagination and creativity while building social skills, collaboration, confidence, problem solving, determination, and more. Imagination Playground transforms children’s minds, bodies and spirits through play!

Admission to the museum is waived with your RSVP. You can invite (2) two guests OR (2) two children. To reserve your spot, please complete the RSVP form.

When

Thursday, May 8, 2014
3pm – 5pm

Friday, May 9, 2014
3pm – 5pm

Saturday, May 10, 2014
10am – 12pm

Brooklyn Children’s Museum
145 Brooklyn Avenue
Brooklyn, NY 11213

See the map.

Space is limited. Sign up today! Register online here.

Or call 866.816.8608 for more information. Provide your preferred day, session, attendees, phone number, email address – reference Learn & Play date. Hope to see you there!

 

You’re Invited to a Learn & Play Date at the National Building Museum

Imagination Playground is hosting “Learn & Play” dates at the National Building Museum for Parents, Educators, PTA, and Principals!

Bring your children and build with our blocks. Discover how free play unlocks a child’s imagination and creativity while building social skills, collaboration, confidence, problem solving, determination, and more. Imagination Playground transforms children’s minds, bodies and spirits through play!

Admission to the museum is waived with your RSVP. You can invite (2) two guests OR (2) two children. To reserve your spot, please complete the RSVP form.

When

Thursday, May 1, 2014
3pm – 5pm

Friday, May 2, 2014
3pm – 5pm

Saturday, May 3, 2014
10am – 12pm

National Building Museum
401 F Street NW
Washington, D.C.

See the map.

Space is limited. Sign up today!
Register online here.

Or call 866.816.8608 for more information. Provide your preferred day, session, attendees, phone number, email address – reference Learn & Play date. Hope to see you there!

 

You’re Invited to a Learn and Play Date at Fort Worth Museum of Science and History

 

Imagination Playground is hosting “Learn & Play” dates at the Fort Worth Museum of Science and History for parents, educators, PTA, and Principals!

Bring your children and build with our blocks. Discover how free play unlocks a child’s imagination and creativity while building social skills, collaboration, confidence, problem solving, determination, and more. Imagination Playground transforms children’s minds, bodies and spirits through play!

Admission to the museum is waived with your RSVP. You can invite (2) two guests OR (2) two children. To reserve your spot, please complete the RSVP form.

When

Thursday, May 1, 2014
3pm – 5pm

Friday, May 2, 2014
3pm – 5pm

Saturday, May 3, 2014
10am – 12pm

Fort Worth Museum of Science and History
1600 Gendy Street
Fort Worth, TX 76107

See the map.

Space is limited. Sign up today! Register online here.

Or call 866.816.8608 for more information. Provide your preferred day, session, attendees, phone number, email address – reference Learn & Play date. Hope to see you there!

You’re Invited to a Learn & Play Date at Kohl Children’s Museum

Imagination Playground is hosting “Learn & Play” dates at the Kohl Children’s Museum for parents, educators, PTA, and Principals!

Bring your children and build with our blocks. Discover how free play unlocks a child’s imagination and creativity while building social skills, collaboration, confidence, problem solving, determination, and more. Imagination Playground transforms children’s minds, bodies and spirits through play!

Admission to the museum is waived with your RSVP. You can invite (2) two guests OR (2) two children. To reserve your spot, please complete the RSVP form.

When

Thursday, May 1, 2014
3pm – 5pm

Friday, May 2, 2014
3pm – 5pm

Saturday, May 3, 2014
10am – 12pm

Kohl Children’s Museum
2100 Patriot Boulevard
Glenview, IL 60026

See the map.

Space is limited. Sign up today!
Register online here.

Or call 866.816.8608 for more information. Provide your preferred day, session, attendees, phone number, email address – reference Learn & Play date. Hope to see you there!

You’re Invited to a Learn & Play Date at the Bay Area Discovery Museum

Avatar of communitymanager

April 18, 2014 in Childrens' Museums

by communitymanager

invitephoto

We invite you to meet the President of Imagination Playground, Dave Krishock at the Bay Area Discovery Museum for a special Learn & Play Date. Discover the benefits of free play and learn how Imagination Playground sparks creativity, develops social collaborations, and improves concentration and problem solving. This event is for educators and parents. Admission to the Bay Area Discovery Museum is free with your RSVP.

Three dates and times to choose from:

  • Thursday, April 24, 3 – 5 p.m.
  • Friday, April 25, 3 – 5 p.m.
  • Saturday, April 26, 10 a.m. – noon

You can invite up to (2) two guests OR children. Pre-registration is required for complimentary entry. In addition, principals, teachers, and PTA heads as a thank you for attending, Imagination Playground will reimburse the toll fee for crossing the Golden Gate Bridge.

Huge success for Imagination Playground at LEGO KidsFest in San Jose [Sept 2013 update!]

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September 11, 2013 in Childrens' Museums

by communitymanager

We received heartwarming news from the Children’s Discovery Museum of San Jose: their participation to the energetic LEGO KidsFest in San Jose was a resounding success. The event was sold out, with over 23,000 visitors coming from all over the region.

Pictures from the Children's Discovery Museum of San Jose booth at LEGO Kidsfest

The Children’s Discovery Museum of San Jose‘s booth was located right at the entrance of the event and prominently featured the Imagination Playground experience: blocks, curves, angles, banners, and a ton of fun.

Children were reportedly so enthused by our giant blue blocks that they didn’t want to leave for other LEGO activities (and they looked exciting, too).

ChildrenDiscoveryMuseumSanJose-LEGO-KidsFest-04

We were also thrilled to hear that one LEGO KidsFest staff member noted that the large motor experience of Imagination Playground was a perfect complement to the small motor LEGO experience. We’re very much looking forward to the next one!

Note: the Children’s Discovery Museum of San Jose is one of the largest museums of its kind in the nation, with more than 150 interactive exhibits that lead visitors to explore, understand, and enjoy the world in which they live. Lifelong learning in a playful environment. Check out their website here: www.cdm.org and like them on Facebook, too. Many thanks to them for providing us the pictures that illustrate this blog post.

UPDATE: Take a look at the Imagination Playground banner that the Children’s Discovery Museum of San Jose put up this week. We love them as a partner in child’s play. The banner can be seen from two major freeways. If you drive by, how about coming in and let your kids build a car of their own with our blocks!

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imagination playground at bay area discovery museum & 92Y

April was a busy one for Imagination Playground Play Dates with block play happening on opposite ends of the US.

Joining our friends on the West Coast on April 19-20, the Imagination Playground team crossed the Golden Gate Bridge to charming Sausalito, home of the Bay Area Discovery Museum. As a fellow advocate of child-directed play the Museum has been long-running proponents of the blocks, having a set of their own as well as hosting the launch of Imagination Playground’s new Add-on Sets this past fall.

In the course of two days, over 200 children and adults joined in on the play sessions that were held in the Museum’s grounds outside. Recognized as the only children’s museum in a national park, the Bay Area Discovery Museum was a perfect fit for the first outdoor Imagination Playground Play Date of the season. Drawing inspiration from the unconfined space, children worked together to build the blocks into a system of catapults to creatively launch the smaller blocks in the set.

 

Meanwhile on the East Coast, the Imagination Playground Team returned on April 20th to the 92nd St Y in New York City. Families already familiar with the world-class nonprofit community and cultural center and it’s many offerings were quick to embrace the block play sessions that started early Saturday morning in the penthouse racquetball courts.

The first sessions saw a younger set of children ages 9 months to 5 years, with playful parents who helped in piecing together the blocks and loose parts to form a range of whimsical structures.

As the day continued the second and third play sessions brought older attendees, who wasted no time in building with the Imagination Playground blocks. Naturally breaking into small teams throughout different sections of the play space, the children worked together to create a variety of imaginative arrangements out of the blocks and loose parts.

Creations ranged from a house with furniture for visitors, to an elaborate suspension-style bridge that spanned across the racquetball court and allowed other children to run back and forth underneath, to a basketball hoop that propped against the high walls for successful dunking of the balls included in the Imagination Playground Classic Set, and a large firetruck complete with seats and a noodle hose to spray nearby parents!

In all the weekend was a great success for both coasts. A special thank you to both the Bay Area Discovery Museum and 92nd St Y teams for being such generous hosts of the Imagination Playground Play Date events.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Want to hear more about Imagination Playground Play Dates and stay in the know on upcoming events?
Email us at contactus@imaginationplayground.com and join us on Facebook.

Also, stay tuned for more to come on Imagination Playground’s recent Play Date at Kohl Children’s Museum!

Imagination Playground at the Louisiana Children’s Museum in New Orleans

From Thursday, January 31st – Saturday, February 2nd, Imagination Playground joined Louisiana Children’s Museum in New Orleans  for several play events leading up to Super Bowl XLVII. The Museum’s campaign Places to Play explores the role of play in developing lifelong healthy habits for the city’s youngest residents, as well as combining play education with access to safe, creative play spaces.

During Thursday’s launch, the Louisiana Children’s Museum introduced their first Imagination Playground to the local New Orleans community. Children invited from Kingsley House Head Start and Early Head Start Preschool and Abeona House Child Discovery Center were eager to build with the new Imagination Playground blocks.

          

Showing their support, Dr. Karen DeSalvo (commissioner of New Orleans Health Department) and Laverne Saulny (Regional Manager for US Senator Mary Landrieu) were in attendance and spoke at a press conference during the event. The Imagination Playground and Rockwell Group team also led three Play Associate training sessions, walking through various dimensions of block play and child-directed free play, and preparing the Louisiana Children’s Museum team for many more successful play sessions to come.

Friday was another full day of active play at LCM. Staff tested their new skills as Play Associates, facilitating play as young visitors built furniture, buildings, a bus (complete with noodle seat belts!), curved pathways, and more with the blocks and loose parts.

The week’s events concluded in the “New Orleans Super Saturday of Service”, a co-sponsored event between the Louisiana Children’s Museum, Fit NOLA, the White House’s Let’s Move!, and NFL Play 60.  Promoting play in building healthy communities, the day provided improvements and renovations to five of the New Orleans Recreation Development Commission’s playgrounds. Imagination Playground was at the Lyons Field location, one of the five play spaces restored by the initiative. During an unveiling ceremony with Dr. Karen DeSalvo and council member LaToya Cantrell’s representative Mason Harrison, Imagination Playground and Louisiana Children’s Museum donated a second play set to the city for public use. As soon as the blocks were unpacked, families and children were quick to begin the fun, having a blast while building a variety of imaginative structures.

In speaking about Places to Play, Julia Bland CEO of the LCM, explained “We recognize that childhood obesity will not be eliminated until children and families are aware of their health habits and can turn that awareness into behavioral changes with daily exercise and activity – as individuals or as a family. Offering our four-year-olds a chance to share their ‘play places,’ and documenting the experience through their artwork, stories and photography, will help increase awareness and active lifestyles.”

To read more on the Louisiana Children’s Museum’s Places to Play in New Orleans initiative, visit the Let’s Move! blog >>

Susan G. Solomon talks about Play and Parenting

In her article, Play and Parenting, Susan G. Solomon explores the sometimes divided methods of contemporary parenting plus delves into the history of child-directed, loose-parts play.

The following is part of “Play Work Build: Essays on Constructive Toys”, edited by Rockwell Group in partnership with The National Building Museum and available in print at the museum gift shop in Washington, DC

The editors of European Early Childhood Education Research Journal recently asked if adults perceive children as vulnerable or competent.i   Do our actions communicate to children that they need constant protection or that they can make age- appropriate decisions over how they live their daily lives? This is a critical question; it is a query that underlies contemporary parenting and, as a consequence, finds its way into public policy of health and recreation.

All around us, we see examples of how these two visions compete. Raising children today is complicated. We want to be responsible yet liberating. We have to straddle a thin line while we confront incidents as mundane as allowing youngsters to cross a street or as life-altering as sending a child off to college. Overwhelmed by the pressure to prepare our children to succeed from an early age, and by media coverage that surrounds us with grim stories about accidents and abductions, we frequently see no choice but to be vigilant.

We walk or drive eight and nine-year-olds to school instead of letting them practice crossing a street carefully on their own.

Matador No. 1, Korbuly, 1932
National Building Museum, Architectural Toy Collection

We direct our children’s activities on the playground instead of leaving them to their own devices (“Let’s play hide and seek” or “Climb up the ladder…now slide down!”).  We manage our children’s daily lives, enriching them with activities we see as worthwhile or stepping in to assist in their every endeavor. When nothing is planned, we sign them up for organized activities and schedule play dates. Will they miss a developmental opportunity if we don’t expose them at the right time? Are we worried that they won’t get the most out of their free time? We have all heard stories of the proverbial “helicopter parents,” who don’t know how to hold back when their kids enter college or apply for their first full time job. Why does this happen? Aren’t these young adults capable of choosing the right courses or knowing how to convince an employer of their value? Are we afraid they won’t bounce back if they make mistakes or fail?

Much has been written about how—and even why—we have felt compelled to insert ourselves into our children’s activities. Parents have been particularly susceptible to micromanaging their kids during times of economic and social upheaval.ii  This is true today when we have so many uncertainties but still have one power: the ability to impose order on the habits of our own children. It is difficult to relinquish our authority and to view our youngsters as individuals who can mature on their own; learn critical life skills from their own experience; and become responsible citizens through their own actions.

Kids internalize their perceived vulnerability. When adults shelter them from every risk or difficulty, they don’t learn how to stay alert to potential dangers or how to react when something is off; they are unsure of how to make wise decisions. Take today’s highly standardized playgrounds for instance. These post-and-platform structures attempt to design every risk and fall out of play. Danish landscape architect Helle Nebelong writes and lectures about how the regularity of most playground equipment lulls children into thinking that every rung or step will be a uniform distance or height. Kids acquire important coping skills to tackle irregular situations by navigating open- ended experiences. This isn’t limited to issues of physical safety. Through encountering unstructured and unpredictable situations, children learn to think for themselves, to address problems on their own, and to adapt to the unfamiliar.

Nebelong believes that mid-twentieth-century Danish examples of play environments, which permitted children to work with surplus materials and objects (“loose parts”) and to use real tools, helped forge her own passion for playgrounds in which there are no set ways to do anything.iii  These older outdoor spaces were called Adventure Playgrounds. Children would decide what they wanted to build and how to build it, using hammers and nails to construct their own structures and spaces. These playgrounds, which had excellent safety records, gave children the opportunity to direct themselves and take control of their surroundings.

Log Camp Building Set No. 2, Roy Toy, c. 1935
National Building Museum, Architectural Toy Collection

Constructive play opportunities like those found in Adventure Playgrounds supply children with tools to fulfill their ideas and encourage them to be independent. They require children to self-motivate and set their own agenda. Prior to the advent of Adventure Playgrounds, early 20th-century construction toy systems gave children an outlet for imaginative play. Children would typically play with these sets (Tinker Toys, Lincoln Logs and Erector Sets) for many hours, and they were considered both fun and educational. Today, children still love to play unsupervised with these kinds of toys and their contemporary spin-offs for long stretches of time. This kind of play gives them the freedom to act according to their own invented rules. It shows them that they not only are competent but also can accomplish their own goals in their own time.

How can we expand on the meaning of construction toys and find other ways to support young people’s growth? It is time for us to consider a new point of view in order to help our children. Perhaps there is a way we can harness our fears and put them into perspective, or channel our enthusiasm in a way that enables our children to benefit. Each time we move to protect or direct them, we might ask if there were another way. We can look for a path in which we can stand back and let the kids take charge of their own world, so we can demonstrate our faith in their abilities. When we initiate this way of thinking, we empower kids. We also permit ourselves to find joy in the competencies of our offspring.

 

Susan G. Solomon is the author of American Playgrounds: Revitalizing Community Space (University Press of New England, 2005). She is currently writing a follow-up book, The Science of Play: How Playgrounds Might Aid Child Development, which will appear in 2014. Solomon received a Ph.D. in architectural history from the University of Pennsylvania in 1997. She lectures and writes widely and heads her own consulting firm, Curatorial Resources & Research in Princeton, NJ.

Credits:
i Tim Waller, Ellen Beate H. Sandseter, Shirley Wyver, Eva Arlemalm- Hagser, Trisha Maynard, “The Dynamics of Early Childhood Spaces: Opportunities for Outdoor Play?” (2010, editorial), European Early Childhood Education Research Journal 18:4, 437-443.

ii Judith Warner, Perfect Madness: Motherhood in the Age of Anxiety
(New York: Riverhead Books, 2005)

iii Helle Nebelong, interview with author, December 12, 2011, Copenhagen, Denmark.