Imagination Playground

Children of all ages like to assemble and construct all manner of fanciful structures in any scale. However, when given the opportunity to easily and safely construct a structure at full scale, the child is more easily able to fully exercise their imagination since they are building something they are able to interact with almost equivalent to the real world. This allows for learning of simple construction methods, and dimensioning of interior spaces, as well as the outside look.

Description

The Imagination Playground is an ideal tool for constructing inhabitable spaces since the separate blocks are fairly large, yet very light and stand up to rough use easily. There are no connecting pieces or snaps to break, so the surfaces are flat and smooth. This lack of special fastening allows faster builds and easier understanding for all ages. There are a number of different shapes from simple rectangles to curves and discs, including some pieces that include a raceway for a small ball. The entire arrangement allows for simple shape and size recognition, three-dimensional construction and assembly, coarse and fine motor skill development, all the way to large-scale conceptualization and design. The size of the pieces and the resulting construct naturally encourages teamwork between groups of children, and the soft surfaces, lack of sharp edges, and light weight dramatically reduces injury.

There are two sponsored kits. Each kit is identical and contains a large canvas bin on steerable wheels that holds all the pieces of each kit. The pieces include large solid rectangles measuring 2 ft x 1 ft x ½ ft, which are the largest single pieces. In addition, there are smaller squares, “X” shapes, solid discs, perforated discs, curves with raceways, ½ ft rods, a series of much narrower tubes, and several hard plastic balls for the raceways.

The pieces are made of firm foam, making them very lightweight. They are covered in a soft outer blue foam, bonded to the inner foam, which makes the pieces slightly spongy to reduce impact injury, and to provide an extremely resilient outer surface. The pieces themselves can be cleaned with simple soap and water.

Caters from 4 – 14

Sample Activity for Educators

Imagination Playground Activity: Three Little Pigs

Scenario:

You are the Fourth Little Pig from the Three Little Pigs story. You’ve seen you the way your siblings have built their houses out of straw, sticks and bricks. You’ve decided to build your house using the Imagination Playground.

What to do:

  1. With a partner, or in a small group, students should think of and discuss a design for a house they will build using the Imagination Playground.
  2. Have students begin building the house they designed. Each house must be large enough to hold at least one student comfortably and sturdy enough to withstand the “blowing” of the Big Bad Wolf.
  3. Once the students are done with their house, the Big Bad Wolf (teacher) will try to “blow” down each of the houses (teacher will gently shake the structure).
  4. Students will make Improvements to the houses.
  5. After improvements have been made, the Big Bad Wolf will attempt to blow down the house again.

Questions to ask after the activity:

  1. What damage did you house sustain after the first blow of the Big Bad Wolf?
  2. How did the wind affect your building?
  3. Why do you think it fell?
  4. Describe how and why you rebuilt your house the way you did after the first blow of the Big Bad Wolf.
  5. How was your house affected after the second attempt to blow it down by the Big Bad Wolf?
  6. If you were building a real house, what could you use to make it stronger?
  7. What material would you choose to make your real house?

Download PDF of This Activity, plus Related Common Core Standards. Includes Common Core Standards & Activities for other exhibits: