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Posted by on in General

Imaginosity's Theatre and Programming Manager Liz Tyndall recently returned from a trip to Sofia, where she represented Imaginosity as part of the Zig Zag Festival. This European-wide project involving several children's museums, allows Imaginosity to share experiences, learn new skills and explore how other museums work around Europe. More information on the WEAVE Project can be found here. Here's Liz's account:

Untitled      Sofia

I was lucky enough to be chosen to go and represent Imaginosity as part of the Weave project in Sofia, Bulgaria this September, for three days at the Zig Zag Festival. As I jetted off on my early flight with a stopover in Frankfurt, I finally arrived at my destination in the early afternoon! Not long after I had arrived, I was due to meet the organisers of the upcoming event and many other people like myself from children's museums all over Europe. So I made my way to the meeting point looking forward to meeting the group.

Everyone was so friendly and welcoming and I was extremely excited to learn that I would be part of such an amazing festival and experience the following day. After the meeting, the group decided to go and take a look at the puppet fair that was taking place in the city that evening! There were puppet shows and clown performances taking place in a large outdoor square area, just outside the city centre, for anyone who fancied some entertainment. And the best part was it was FREE! So I was extremely grateful and really interested in watching the performances as my background is in theatre and I have a huge interest in puppetry and love to perform puppet shows myself. It was great to catch this added event during my trip and I definitely picked up some tips, especially in the use of sound effects!

Wednesday was the Festival day, all day. We met at 8am in a local park where the festival was taking place. There were 4 large tents, individual wooden letters that spelt Zig Zag (the festival's title), three workshop tables and an interactive fabric game for children to take part in. The Zig Zag festival itself is all about working with different fabrics and textiles in a very fun creative way. The children were learning to finger knit, weave, make key rings using yarn and decorate re-usable fabric bags whilst also being able to take part in an interactive fabric game! The children started at one end of the park where they collected a bag full of fabric and then they had the freedom to go to any of the hands-on areas to work with it creatively. I never knew how to weave before this day so it was super fun for me!

The interactive fabric game was my area and I loved it. Using large pieces of fabric children had to race through and weave with other fabric while their pals held up different colours of fabric each time! I thought it was so simple but so effective and the children were so engaged in it. If there was one thing I was taking home from Sofia it was this game. I will definitely use it again! I also learnt how to make pom poms from wool which I ended up adding to my clothes later that day. This might just be my new invention!

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Posted by on in Play at home

 

 

As the evenings begin to get shorter and we feel a slight chill in the air, Imaginosity will soon close its Roof Garden for the Winter months, as our loyal friend and mascot Eco Badger heads off to warner climes, leaving his Rooftop Den behind for the chilly season. There is still a short remaining week or two left to explore our garden in the city. Autumn is the most perfect time to get out and about with the family, breathe in the Autumn air and kick up a big bunch of brown and yellow leaves in your wellies. Blog-Osity Guest Blogger Joanna Fortune, writes about the benefits of the Imaginosity Roof Garden and exploring nature in general with the family.

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Modern family living has changed a lot in recent generations and as a result children and families have less and less opportunity to engage with nature and the natural environment. This is a great pity as research has demonstrated that parents who talk to their children regularly, explaining features about nature and social issues, or who read or tell stories at bedtime are more likely to foster pretend play (Shmukler 1981; Singer & Singer 2005), which is essential to children's development. Further researches into the benefits of children engaging with nature consistently show us that children's social, psychological, academic and physical health is all positively impacted when they have regular contact with nature. Try incorporating a weekly nature walk into your quality time with your children, if weather is not so good just wrap up warm and get outside even just to jump in puddles or go rainbow hunting!

Encourage them to collect conkers, acorns and leaves to do some leaf tracing at home (place a sheet of paper over a leaf and rub over it with the side of a crayon or chalk), to thread and play with conkers and tell them how you did this as a child and how much fun you had. Take a tiny acorn and show them how it grows into a huge oak tree, explaining how our trees become the paper we use to trace our leaves on and the copy books that we do our homework in. Collecting some nice stones from the beach and bringing them home to wash, dry and paint is a lovely activity for children too, as is having them plant a seed and take responsibility for watering and nurturing it every day so that it grows. Involve them when you are tending to your garden, give them a little corner they can dig in themselves.

 

 

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Posted by on in Family & Parenting

 

Blog-osity Guest Blogger and Child Psychotherapist Joanna Fortune takes a look at the Dublin Diner at Imaginosity, exploring its benefits for children and for families in terms of healthy eating, happy meal-times and children's confidence around food.

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 Involving children in food play and in actual food preparation at home are a great way to introduce them to a range of different foods and to help them grow to make healthy food choices. Involving children with food preparation is also an excellent sensory play experience for young children (up to the age of 8 years) who need a lot of sensory-based engagement to support their general development at this age.Situated on Level One, the Imaginosity child-sized The Dublin Diner is a great way for children to explore, investigate and experience all aspects of food and dining out. Here your child will get the opportunity to play at finding food in the fridge, cooking up the food and clearing their plates away afterwards. It will further help your child if you continue this experience at home by asking them to fetch something for you from the fridge, have them stand beside you at the sink and wash the vegetables before you chop them and involve them in clearing the table afterwards.

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Imaginosity's old friend Eco Badger has been with us since we opened our doors back in August 2007. Here he gives us a little insight into what it is like to be a central part of Imaginosity's green activities and a surprising resident in our busy museum for the last 7 years. Eco Badger lives on our Roof Garden......next time you visit, be sure to take a trip to the roof to say hello. But note that he always heads off into the sunset with his suitcase and suncream once winter begins to set in!

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Tagged in: Eco Badger Imaginosity
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For all parents anticipating the phrase "I'M BORED" this summer, help is at hand! Here at Imaginosity, we've been pulling together a summer full of fun and learning to keep the family entertained.

For the Tiny Ones!

First up, we're keeping the old favourite "Wobbler & Toddler" mornings, but mixing things up with the introduction of the "Sensational Sensory Room" on Wednesday and Thursday sessions. This room has been developed by facilitators Mireia, Liz and Aga to provide our smallest visitors with a journey through the senses. In this room parents and toddlers can burst bubbles, dig their hands into a variety of gooey-ooey materials and dance away to the melodic music while bubble-wrap pops beneath their feet!

Wobbler & Toddler mornings through the rest of the week include magical puppet storytimes in the theatre, cosy teddy bear picnics and art workshops that are fantastic for the development of fine motor skills.

Big Fun for the Big Kids!

It's a Summer of Science at Imaginosity! Every Monday, Wednesday and Friday in the 3.30pm session we'll be opening up the "Experimentation Station" to kids aged 5 years plus. There'll be fizzing, foaming, cloud creating – and even a Mad Scientist Show! As a Discover Primary Science and Maths (DPSM) centre, Imaginosity recognises the importance of nourishing enquiring minds and encouraging young children to question, challenge and examine the world around them.

The Art Studio will also be a hive of activity in July, with "Get Arty" sessions taking place every Tuesday and Thursday for kids aged 5 years and over. So if you want to while away those summer days painting, weaving, printing and crafting, come and get arty with us!

Dora, Wally and Woolyward's Farm

We've decided to go all out with a series of themed weekends this July, so that no matter when you decide to visit us, there's sure to be something fun and interesting on.

On the 5th and 6th of July ( this weekend! )our annual "Where's Wally Day" is taking place – or rather the annual opportunity for staff to dress like lunatics and play a giant game of hide and seek in the building! There'll be Wally themed art workshops, the Wally Hunt and also loads of great spot prizes up for grabs, courtesy of Walker Books. You can join in the fun by dressing up as Wally too – everyone who dons the stripes and hat will be guaranteed a prize!

As soon as we say goodbye to Wally, it's hello to Dora; Staff member Mireia Lopez will be donning the Dora costume and asking us all to grab our backpacks, jump in and go on a Exploration! The art room will be hosting Dora workshops and we'll also be playing some games through Spanish. The Hola Exploradores weekend was developed as a result of our incredibly popular Thursday Spanish class, part of our After School Programme.

Finally, on Saturday the 19th of July in the 12pm and 2pm session, Woolyward's Mobile Farm will be paying us a visit, complete with sheep, chickens, rabbits and much more! This interactive animal show will introduce the children to a variety of animals, asking them to help Lonely Bunny find his ideal pal. This event is not only guaranteed to be great fun but it has also been proven that experiences with animals can contribute to a child's strong emotional development, and so this activity is a winner on more than one level.

Summertime Playful Pop-ups

Throughout July we'll be adding extra value to your visit – that's extra fun, extra creativity and extra learning! What does that mean? Well, in addition to the scheduled workshops we'll have a surprise "Pop-Up Workshop" in every session! That could mean building competitions, balloon modelling, face-painting, supermom and dad competitions – maybe even a short movie, a science demonstration or a dance off? So ask at reception on arrival – you may be getting more than you bargained for!

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Posted by on in General

By Joanna Fortune, Clinical Child Psychologist & 'Blog-osity' Monthly Guest Blogger

A walk around Imaginosity, Ireland's only interactive children's museum for the under 9's is like taking a stroll around your child's imagination, this is the inner world of a child brought to life. On offer is a myriad of rich interactive experiences for children to engage in; from meeting the Eco Badger up on the roof garden, and learning about how the unique 'green' building works, to making your way up the Climber past the Wizard's Lair and the Rocket Ship to Rapunzel's Castle. Of course, Imaginosity is a wonderful and fun place for children to be and we see this in how their faces light up when they are there, but behind the fun it is clear that Imaginosity is providing children with much more, a genuinely child centred learning, educational and development opportunity!

There is a Greek saying that 'Man is most nearly himself when he achieves the seriousness of a child at play' and that is what we can all benefit from in Imaginosity.

There are 3 stages of Developmental Play (Embodiment Play; Projective Play; Role Play) which is how children develop their understanding of who they are and who the people and the world around them are, that sense of learning where the "I" ends and the world begins.

In summary, Embodiment Play is the first stage (from 0-3.5/4 years) and is essential to developing a sense of trust. Babies learn to trust in a physical way, not through words. This is a very sensory stage of play and touch plays a vital role. Imaginosity has two dedicated spaces for smaller children, 'Little me' on level 2 for under 12 months and 'Tir na n'Og' on level 1 for children up to 24 months. Both spaces offer smaller visitors a sense of security and safety in these specifically designed, soft play, tactile, enclosed areas.

Projective Play (from 3.5/4-5.5 years) comes next and here we see an increased focus on stories and narrations to further explore and investigate objects, people and their general environment at a deeper level. Engage your child in play with dolls and puppets in Imaginosity's theatre space and have the dolls/puppets play through things your child has experienced in their lives i.e. sharing with others, staying in their own beds etc. Level 1 in Imaginosity contains everything a child needs to "create their story" and is wonderful to encourage projective play.

Role-Play (from 5.5-7 or even 9 years) is the final stage and is about dramatic play, which children use to re-structure/re-arrange aspects of their life events to gain a better understanding of themselves and the world around them. There will be aspects of both Embodiment and Projective play evident in this final stage. Imaginosity's Performance area is perfect for this, as it allows and enables children to role play different characters and scenarios in a safe environment where they are in charge.

This is the seriousness of play and it is important that as parents we learn to play with our children and to become comfortable communicating with them at their developmental level, as a way of connecting with them and supporting their development.

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Posted by on in General

In 2013, Imaginosity enabled over 12,500 hours of imaginative, creative, educational, engaging play for families here in our museum. We were bursting at the seams throughout the year with new and regular visitors, as the next generation of thinkers, leaders, problem solvers and creative geniuses climbed our stairs to enter a world of imagination and fun.

Imaginosity is bright, inviting, bubbly, friendly and fun, but underneath our friendly and inviting exterior, we take the job of learning through play very seriously indeed. 2013 was an extremely busy and successful year for us. There are probably too many achievements to list for the purposes of this blog, but our key highlights would be:

Science and Engineering Programming and Funding

Imaginosity was delighted to have been formally accredited as a nationally recognised DPSM (Discovery Primary Science and Maths) Centre by Science Foundation Ireland. This was great news following our probationary period with SFI and shows the museum’s dedication and commitment to Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) in our educational programming activities and events.

Through Science Foundation Ireland we were the grateful recipients of funding which allowed us to develop an already existing exhibit into our new ‘Maths House’ exhibit which provides problem-solving and numeracy challenges for museum visitors. This particular funding also enabled us to engage with numerous primary schools around the Dublin area, allowing them to visit the museum free of charge throughout national Maths Week and take part in some exciting, uniquely educational curriculum-based workshops where maths learning was lots of fun.

We also took part in national Engineers Week and national Science Week, providing opportunities for primary schools and families alike to engage through games, investigative workshops and creative activities, in the wonderful world of science and engineering. Imaginosity is proud of the environments that we created this year that exposed children to active engagement with science, engineering and maths. We are extremely grateful to our corporate partner Audi, who has sponsored our Science and Engineering programming for the last three years (2011-2013). It is always wonderful to work with like-minded partners who appreciate the scientific need for play.

Awards

Imaginosity was the proud recipient of a number of accolades this year.

- Envirocom Awards: We were thrilled to be selected as a finalist for the Envirocom Awards renowned for showcasing the best melding of environmental and commercial practice by companies, not-for-profits and agencies operating in the Dun Laoghaire Rathdown Area.

- Mums & Tots Awards: Winner for Best Family Indoor Playhouse

- Primary Times Star Awards: Winner for Play & Activity Centre, voted in Top 3 in the School Tours Dublin and voted in Top 3 Family Visitor Attractions.

 Collaborations and Outreach Activities

Imaginosity loves nothing more than joining with organisations and individuals who are committed to children’s education through learning and the arts. We were delighted once again to have worked with the multi-media students from Stillorgan College of Education, in designing another great interactive exhibit for the museum. This year they created an eco-trail for the building, which is interactive, educational and touch-screen.

We’ve been busy with our Outreach Activities this year too. We have packed up the cars and taken the magic of Imaginosity outside the walls of the museum and on the road to places around the country. Our partnership with the Powerscourt Estate in Co Wicklow was a huge success this year. It gave us a wonderful opportunity to present some magical theatrical events and activities in the beautiful setting of Powerscourt House and Gardens. From scary spooky ghoulish tales, to Irish dancing for St Patricks Day to the gorgeous story of Rapunzel and more, we exceeded our own expectations and those of our friends in Powerscourt during 2013.

We visited our lovely friends Childvision, the National Education Centre for Blind Children for their Annual Day for Childvision Donors last summer providing educational, creative fun for the many families who came to celebrate the wonderful work of this great charity throughout the day.

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Without appearing to blow our own trumpets (jingle our own bells?) we are fairly confident that 2013 is set to be the BEST CHRISTMAS EVER at Imaginosity!  For starters we are welcoming Santa for the very first time in Imaginosity – after some rearranging of his extremely packed schedule he has managed to fit in a visit on Saturday the 14th of December.  There will be “An audience with Santa” during every session on the 14th, during which time the kids will get to listen to a Christmas story and enjoy a hot chocolate and cookie – and of course each child will leave with a small gift from the man in red!

We’re also showing Christmas movies every Monday to Thursday in our cosy cushion filled art studio – I personally cannot wait for “The Muppets Christmas Carol” and “Miracle on 34th Street” – check out our line-up on the calendar, your favourite is bound to be there, and if it’s not, let us know for next year!

We’ve also got lots of Christmas crafts on the programme of events including how to make traditional Christmas decorations – if you can’t make it to the museum, don’t worry there will be a “How to, At Home” on the blog later in the month.

With all this, a fantastic Elf on the Shelf theatre performance and “Christmas Sing Alongs” scheduled throughout December, we’ll be fit to burst with that festive feeling!

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Posted by on in General

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Meet Lego Bot!  He is a fantastically imaginative military-style combat vehicle reminiscent of The A-Team, hosting two serious-looking Lego men who look like they mean business! Lego Bot is Imaginosity’s newest exhibit piece having been built for and donated by the brilliant Sam Clancy, age 6, from Co Wexford.  Sam’s dad contacted us recently to tell us about Sam’s 2-day building extravaganza, which resulted in Lego Bot. Sam’s dad explained that Sam would love to donate Lego Bot to Imaginosity.  We were delighted to accept such a great piece of imaginative construction!

Thank you Sam!

Unfortunately, as we have limited space at Imaginosity, we cannot accept anymore Lego structures into the building. However, if Sam’s ingenuity has sparked a similar interest in the little people in your house, we would be delighted to receive a photo of their Lego creation via our Facebook page.  It can be our ‘virtual exhibition wing’, until we raise enough money through our fundraising efforts for a dream extension to our building (in our dreams)!

Tagged in: Imaginosity Lego
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Posted by on in Welcome

A very warm welcome to Blog-osity, a place to stimulate ideas, share your thoughts and devour masses of fabulous, entertaining and most importantly educational information. 

My name is Jennifer Bohan and I am the General Manager at Imaginosity. I am super excited to welcome you to our new adventure into blogging and hope you will support, engage and most importantly grow with your children through this incredible medium.

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