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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.

 

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!

 

Fund-raising Efforts…Communities Love to Help!

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June 9, 2015 in Featured Posts

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The most-often asked question from the schools and organizations we work with is–how do I involve my community in the fundraising efforts to bring Imagination Playground blocks to the children? The answer is–we have enabled dozens of community fundraising efforts. Communities love to help!

Some sites that might help you get started are GoFundMe.com, DonorsChoose.org, and YouCaring.com. All sites have their rules and regulations—but all provide an opportunity for you to set up a customized fundraising site.  These sites are free to create (there are minimal donor fees for processing), easy to set up, and ready for use in minutes. We truly haven’t seen an organization fail at this!

GoFundMe.com DonorsChoose.org YouCaring.com

The simple steps to fundraising online include:

  1. Create your fundraising campaign on one of the sites.  We suggest using some of the videos and photos from the Imagination Playground website to make your page colorful, interactive, and easy to explain!
  2. Share with family, friends, and your community through Facebook, Twitter, and Emails.  All of these sites help you do this from their dashboard.
  3. Accept donations with a check, bank transfer, and in some cases, credit cards…all handled through the site!
  4. Manage your campaign—make changes, post updates, and even send thank you notes!

Schools and organizations have gotten very creative with donor bonuses…from signed artwork as a thank you from one of the children for a $25 gift, to a free hour of family playtime with the blocks for a larger donation.  Either way, a personalized thank you to the donor is easy to do from the site and much appreciated by the donor.

We’d love to help!  Please reach out with fundraising questions or if you need assistance determining which block set would suit your needs.  Please contact us at

Win a FREE Imagination Playground!

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April 16, 2014 in Community

by communitymanager

Win a FREE Imagination Playground!

Nominate your child’s school to become an Imagination Playground Host Partner!

Is play an important part of your 
school or organization agenda? 

Contact us and tell us more! Your nominee will qualify for a chance to win a FREE Imagination Playground and on-site Play Associate Training (valued at over $7,500). Simply nominate your child’s school, day care center, your favorite children’s museum (nature, science or discovery center) community center, park or other deserving organization.

It’s easy to nominate, just visit:
www.scholastic.com/imaginationplayground

Enter as often as you like.

Five FREE Imagination Playgrounds and
Play Associate Training will be awarded by May 9, 2014.

Imagination Playground throws a BLOCK party at Nickelodeon’s Worldwide Day of Play

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September 23, 2013 in Play Events

by communitymanager

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Imagination Playground visited Nickelodeon’s Worldwide Day of Play in Prospect Park.

Imagination Playground threw a BLOCK party this weekend at Nickelodeon’s 10th Annual Worldwide Day of Play in Brooklyn’s Prospect Park. More than 50,000 children and their families were in attendance at the event, which promoted wellness and exercise through play.

A special thanks to the folks from the Association of Children’s Museums, Brooklyn Children’s Museum, Long Island Children’s Museum, and Manhattan Children’s Museum for their continuing efforts in spreading play to children!

Check out our photos from the event to see which Nickelodeon star stopped by Imagination Playground to play with kids!

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2 minds are greater than 1!

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Amber Montana from Nickelodeon’s “Haunted Hathaways” stopped by to lend a hand and some imagination!

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Photos, courtesy of Jensen Rong.

Michelle Obama, Let’s Move and Imagination Playground partner to transform children’s lives

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September 16, 2013 in Featured Posts

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Michelle Obama, Let’s Move! and Imagination Playground partner to transform children’s lives.

In our neverending mission to transform children’s lives through play, Imagination Playground has been honored to receive the support from First Lady Michelle Obama.

Her Let’s Move! initiative has dedicated itself to solving the problem of childhood obesity within a generation, so that children born today will grow up healthier and have the ability to pursue their dreams.

how does this partnership come to life?

Let’s Move! and Michelle Obama have partnered with Imagination Playground and KaBOOM! to cut the ribbon of new, innovative Imagination Playground locations around the country; including donations of new playgrounds in Washington DC, Philadelphia, the Louisiana Children’s Museum in New Orleans, and the Woodlands Children Museum in Texas.

This allowed thousands of children and families to witness monumental impact of Imagination Playground on their neighborhoods, communities, schools, etc.

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michelle obama and imagination playground share a common vision: transforming children’s minds, bodies and spirits through play.

Throughout the years, Michelle Obama famously made impassioned pleas for play, mentioning that: “We as a society need to redefine for our kids what play is. We as a society need to make physical activity a part of our kids’ daily lives again, and we need to do it in a way that is easy, affordable and fun — not just for kids but for parents“.

We could not agree more, and look forward to an exciting future to our privileged relationship with Let’s Move! and First Lady Michelle Obama. May hundreds of new playgrounds transform thousands of children’s minds, bodies, and spirits.

Photos courtesy of Seth Nenstiel and KaBOOM! (cc)

Tell us what you think! Leave a comment below
and share it with your friends and families!


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

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September 11, 2013 in Childrens' Museums

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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).

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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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UNICEF + Disney + Imagination Playground = P.L.A.Y. Initiative

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January 30, 2013 in Featured Posts

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UNICEF, Disney, Imagination Playground partner to transform children’s lives through play.

We are delighted to announce Imagination Playground’s involvement with UNICEF and Disney’s P.L.A.Y. initiative (Play & Learning For Youth). The project promotes play and learning for children in countries affected by disaster and emergencies. P.L.A.Y. explores the power of play as a tool for learning and emotional development in countries where safe recreation opportunities are limited. 

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Its mission is to bring play to communities in need and to transform lives by fostering imagination and creativity. The initiative is part of UNICEF’s broader education and child protection work. UNICEF is also training educators and families to integrate play and recreation in ways that can build children’s self-esteem and better prepare them to learn.

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The P.L.A.Y. initiative has already brought more than 30 Imagination Playground sets in primary schools and child-friendly spaces in Haiti and Bangladesh; reaching tens of thousands of children.

To learn more about UNICEF and the P.L.A.Y. initiative, check out the video below.

“Play is essential to all children’s healthy, emotional, psychological, and general well-being. Through play, children have a chance to reenact what is going on around them. It helps them work through problems, to try to find solutions, to understand what’s happening to them. These materials give them a chance to create, to dream, and to hope”

Cassie Landers, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Mailman School of Public Health,
Columbia University and independent evaluator for the project.

Photo credit: UNICEF / Marco Dormino / Haiti. Children playing at the new playground site in Haiti. The project is implemented by UNICEF and Tipa Tipa.

 

Tell us what you think! Leave a comment below
and share it with your friends and families!


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family on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.

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Imagination Playground at the Mid-Pacific Institute. Episode 1: The Blocks Arrive

Imagination Playground is excited to kick off the school year by welcoming Hawaii’s Mid-Pacific Institute (Mid-Pac) to our guest blog spot. Located in the heart of Oahu, the institute is one of the island’s oldest schools, and offers innovative schooling for preschool and grades K-12. The school has grown to be a model for Reggio-inspired learning so we were so happy to meet them.

Every week, Leslie Gleim, Mid-Pac’s Head Preschool Teacher,  will share her research and observations on how the children learn and work with Imagination Playground in an educational setting. Check out the first post below and stay tuned!

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Wonder. Questions. Laughter.

At Mid-Pac, we encourage children to fulfill their curiosities and initiate their own ideas and questions. So instead of introducing the blocks in a classroom setting, we hosted a summer session for the preschoolers to engage in free play and explore the blocks on their own terms.

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First, we had the children take turns guessing what was inside the large, mysterious packages. Shoes? A bike? I wonder what it is? We found this to be a great (and fun!) exercise for introducing IP to the preschoolers. Teachers could have children draw pictures of their speculations and present the drawings to their classmates.

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With the help of our great parents, we then unpacked the carts. We could already feel the energy brewing in the children’s imaginations and thinking – they couldn’t wait to get their hands on the big blocks.

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Let the play continue!

-Mid-Pac Preschool Team