Imagination Playground 3D Builder By Imagination Playground LLC is a groundbreaking play simulator that is the companion to Imagination Playground Building Blocks. The Imagination Playground Blocks were conceived by award winning architect, David Rockwell. After watching his children play, and more importantly HOW they played. He discovered that children loved to create and make spaces for themselves to imagine. The blocks are portable and that means adaptable. One day kids may be into building a spaceship to reach the stars, and another day wish to be pirates on a boat set a sail far at sea. It truly is inspiring, and these blocks promote play on a community level. The ability to relate to form and space in such a grand manner impacts not only the coordination of the body and senses but can also expand spatial thinking and one’s view of the world. You can read all about these wonderful portable playgrounds and their history HERE and also “State of Play” by Rebecca Mead, in the July 5th, 2010 issue of The New Yorker. The companion app uses the configurations of the actual blocks and portrays them in 3D so that kids can experiment and play with the possibilities of creating something much larger than themselves. Planning, experimenting, and evaluating the basic sense of a structure is there for open play. Kids quickly learn what works and what does not work when it comes to building. The app allows for different points of view, giving kids new perspectives of the consequences of their actions. If you build a single structure tower all the way up is it sound? Or will it fall down? You are able to rotate views from above, street level, etc. to see what are the consequences of a builder. On opening the app, there are all sorts of options to apply to your structure. Basically, you tap on a block, and then are able to manipulate its placement to where you see fit. You can rotate that block n space vertically or horizontally and move it about to where you want it placed. You can use your fingers to zoom in or out of the field or use your fingers to pan the view of the field. This helps with anticipation or in generating a hypothesis of how you want to create a structure. Learning what works and what doesn’t work is critical in the learning process. Flipping both vertically or horizontally will help with moving the pieces into different planes, and what a view that is…to take things from 2D to 3D experiences. Critical thinking and problem-solving are facilitated in the act of doing, and that is what makes learning stick. And with that, kids can play with the thought of entering their creations – Whoa, and that is exciting! At times I had difficulty with saving my structures as to how I had saved them, and in keeping the view in either street form or from above. The view at times would shift on me but felt if I had had the actual blocks it may not have been so difficult. Having a lock on point of view would decrease frustration, and increase stability, manipulation of blocks, and long term engagement in play. Playing with the blocks would afford kids with a sensory map utilizing vision and kinetic memory as to how a structure feels, and therefore it may be easier to create. Having a model to copy so that it inspires ideas would be grand, for those kids who have difficulty initiating an idea. The app lends itself to teaching and collaborating with kids from the adult community. How great would it be to mentor young builders, if you were an architect, construction manager, or materials manager? TWA recommends this app to budding builders everywhere, especially those that have a direct connection to the physical blocks, or a wish to do so. We applaud Imagination Playground for their vision and their future.
Written by Jo Booth
Jo Booth has been an Occupational Therapist for over 30 years and currently works in Pediatrics with early intervention. She sees kids newly diagnosed on the spectrum as well as medically fragile kids. She loves to move, explore and play every day; so that “her kids” grow up to be healthy independent learners.
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