educators: jean's story

Jean Schreiber is an early childhood education consultant.

“The first time I observed children playing with Imagination Playground, I was absolutely amazed at the opportunities that they afforded children to really use their creativity, work collaboratively in groups, and have play develop over time where they were creating amazing things.

“I saw the sheer joy on their faces in creating things that were bigger than they were. They are so different in size and scale. These blocks allow children to build such enormous structures and create things really quickly. Then, they allow them to get into those buildings and play in them. The dramatic play that comes from creating these structures is really the end result of what block play is for most children. You want them to be able to use the representational stage of building and really explore their world through play.

“playful learning”

“Imagination Playground blocks offer all of the benefits of traditional block play—which are physical, cognitive, social and emotional benefits—but they also offer lots of opportunities for real collaborative play because of the sheer size of them. Smaller children need to work together as a team to move these huge blocks around.

“Children need opportunities for a playful learning. We know in education that children really learn through play. That’s how they’re exploring their world and that’s how they’re getting a whole knowledge base. It is through the experimentation and the trial and error and actually using lots of different sensory materials. Children learn through their senses, so they need lots of opportunities for this throughout their day and then they can really be learning through play. 

“Imagination Playground blocks offer children opportunities of this kind of experience because they’re having to problem solve, they’re having to work together, they’re figuring out what the blocks can do, they’re figuring how heavy they are, they’re figuring out how to carry them, how to stack them, how to maneuver them, what happens when you put different blocks together, what kinds of shapes you can get. They’re learning a lot about math and science and physics and totally learning social skills as they have to work with other children to make the system of blocks do what they want it to do. 

“I think one of the biggest advantages of any kind of interactive play is the social element of really learning how to negotiate with other children. Imagination Playground blocks offer opportunities for children to learn how to share ideas with each other and ultimately learning how to share with other people that they’re working with.”

“create something new every day”

“There is no right way or wrong way to use it.  They’re not closed-ended. I think that’s so much what’s wrong with materials that children are given now, that there is a finished product and a right way to use it. The Imagination Playground blocks have endless opportunities and you can create something new every day. 

“When I was growing up, when we played, we were the scriptwriter, we were the stage manager, we were the set director, the costume designer, and the storyline changed each day. Today, kids are recreating what’s been told to them rather than inventing the storyline themselves. They see the movie once, then they watch the video, they get the pajamas, the get the lunch box. I think that the more opportunities children have for materials that are totally open-ended and just encourage creativity and imagination, the more children will benefit and that’s where higher-level thinking comes in.  

“It’s the problem solving that comes with it. It’s the figuring things out. Why won’t these two blocks stay connected to each other? Why do they keep slipping off? How can I connect more blocks using these connectors? How do I make it a system that will actually do what I want it to do?  And it’s the exploring and the trial and error and repeating, lots and lots of going back and trying the same thing until you get it to work the way you want it to work, and then taking that knowledge and using it the next day to create something totally different. 

“These have endless opportunities, so a child can never tire of exploring and creating and coming up with something different every time they go to the Imagination Playground blocks to play with them. There’s always something new waiting for them.” 

watch our educators video

School leaders and education experts talk about how Imagination Playground has transformed their schools.