Going big with manipulatives

Brainjogging lauds manipulatives.  Manipulatives make abstract concepts concrete entities.  Brainjogging uses Math U See’s concrete math manipulatives and Hands on English’s linking blocks, which makes grammar a concrete, visual experience.  Architect David Rockwell and Darrell Hammond, of the nonprofit Kaboom!, the largest builder of playgrounds in the US, are going big with manipulatives: the two collaborated to create Imagination Playground, in Manhattan, New York.  Rockwell spent five years consulting experts and children on the nature of play, the end result being a set of 350 bright blue foam blocks that children can use to construct their own unique play space.  Some blocks “are shaped like wheels, others like cogs or giant noodles,” and can become nearly anything a child can think to create (Barovick 45).  More significantly, perhaps, is the fact that the blocks “are deliberately big so kids will be more likely to assist each other with them” (Barovick 45).

Rockwell and Hammond also collaborated on Imagination Playground in a Box, “a walk-in-closet-size container with at least 75 foam blocks, among other components” (Barovick 46).

Rockwell's and Hammon's Imagination Playground in a Box is portable and exercises children's minds.

The starting price for Imagination Playground in a Box is $6,150, which is likely out of most parents price range; this, however, does not mean that parents cannot use the same principle in their own homes.  Children need toys that engage them physically and exercise their mind! Give them tools with which they can build; games with which they can create new games, without prescriptive limitations.  Foster a sense of creative mental agility in your child; help him or her learn to create rather than rely solely on preexisting toys.

Barovick, Harriet. “Building a Better Playground..” TIME 9 August 2010: 45-46. Print.


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