Imagination Playground was an exciting new playground resource purchased last year at the Hisar campus. Students and teachers are currently in our second year of playing with the imaginative blocks. The aim in sourcing these playground blocks was to push the continuum of play and loose parts further throughout primary; from a rich play based learning program in the Early Years into further creative and imaginative play opportunities in Primary.
What is Imagination Playground?
Imagination Playground is child-directed and open-ended, it encourages self-expression through deep, joyful play. Traditional playgrounds consist primarily of fixed equipment all of which focus on developing children’s gross motor skills. Imagination Playground is made up of what experts call “loose parts” that prompt children to transform their environment and create a play space of their own.
However, the parts are not simply loose. They have holes and shapes that fit together in ways that allow the continuation of a child’s idea. A pair becomes a wall. A wall becomes a room. A room becomes a house. The pieces fit connect together to make immersive play last a long time.
Researchers have long known that playing with blocks helps children’s cognitive and social skills. Imagination Playground blocks combine all of the benefits of block play on a larger-than-life-size scale that encourages kids to play together in groups and have more fun. Unstructured, child-directed play is a critical component of healthy social, emotional, and intellectual development.
Application at IICS
Students and teachers have enjoyed the creativity and flexibility of the interconnecting block pieces. This resource has tied in wonderfully with our exploration of loose parts in the Early Years. Rockets, houses, chairs, roller coasters and creatures have come alive from children’s imaginative ideas.
For the past two months the whole Primary School has had a focus on the Learner Profile ‘Thinkers’. Imagination playground has been a very useful resource to encourage creative thinking, with the IB design cycle actively at work. Teaching staff provide the students with provocations and challenges that allow students to critically think about their own unique ideas. Students implement the IB approaches to learning (ATLs: Thinking skills, Communications skills, Social skills, Self-management skills and Research skills) through group collaboration and play.
After creating their designs in groups, children reflect on their collaborative work. This allows students time to reflect on some of the IB Learner Profile or Attitudes that helped them in their collaborative work.
Imagination playground is being used around the world, in many fascinating ways in parks and museums. Possibly while on your next holiday you will find an imagination playground park or museum to creatively build as a family. If not, then we welcome you to stop in Hisar for an afternoon of open ended play with your family.
Imagination Playground around the world: