parents: raquel's story

Raquel is the mother of two boys, Ryan and Liam.

“When they play, my boys use their imagination, but they tend to be limited to the toys that they’re playing with and it tends to be kind of a repetitive play. It’s really exciting to see them with this material that’s open ended and has unlimited possibilities where you could see the fire in their eyes. They’re just looking all about and trying to figure out what they can do next with these blocks. 

“transform into something magical” 

If you’re playing with a toy, like a doll or a Matchbox car, you there’s an idea as to how to play with it. And the kids know that even at a young age. They know that the cars drive. But when you have blocks, especially enormous blocks bigger than themselves, they’ve become so excited just by the sheer size of these blocks and also the fact that they can move them. They can pull them around. There isn’t a face on the blocks. They’re all brightly colored. They’re excited to touch them and to move them and to see what happens when they put them together.

“Each time they put together a group of blocks, all of a sudden they transform into something magical to them. It could be a castle or an apartment building like my son made earlier or a “bad guy” cage. And then their friends will come in or other kids that they don’t know will come in and they start feeding off of each other to build other things. It just seems to propel other play. It’s really exciting to watch.”

“team building”

It’s really exciting to see them get together with other kids of the same age—or even kids that maybe are a few years older and a few years younger—to have a large group of kids playing and working as a team. I think that that kind of problem solving is left behind nowadays. 

The kids play all these solitary computer games, they’re on the Wii, and they’re on, you know, mommy’s iPhone and they don’t learn how to interact with other kids. 

“With this, other kids will see what they’re doing. They get excited and they feed off of each other. And so what starts out as two kids in this area and two kids in this area, you end up with six, eight kids in a little group working on a bigger project. That team building is important. It’s an important part of growing as an individual and it will help them later on in life as an adult. 

“play is overlooked these days”

“I think play is overlooked these days. Everybody is so worried about their kids getting ahead and they’re signing them up for so many things. We are guilty of it. But play is where the kids can use their own imagination, their own creativity. It’s where there’s a tremendous amount of growth, where they can go and reach out and try new things.

“Unfortunately, as you may hear from lots of parents, some of which are concerned like myself, the kids don’t get enough unstructured play time in school. They spend a tremendous amount of time sitting, sitting filling in bubbles, doing worksheets. It’s very disappointing. The recess hour or 20 minutes, most of it is spent running in, running out, counting kids. There’s very, very little time to actually go and explore and to really be free. It’s really disappointing.

watch our parents video

Real parents react to watching their kids play with Imagination Playground for the first time.