October was all about ‘Amazing Maths’ at Imaginosity and, as the Education Development Manager, I for one couldn’t wait to get started. However, the programming for the month was not easy. When we decided to take part in Maths Week the first challenge to overcome was how to make maths fun and engaging for children under 9. As champions of the play to learn method favoured by many early educationalists and theorists such as Piaget and Vygotsky the challenge to incorporate maths was probably heightened by my own "Maths Phobia". I had all the classic symptoms in school, the palm sweating fear of getting called up to the front of class to recite my times tables, the head scratching awfulness of trying to solve quadratic equations, the blank expression when questioned on the sin, cos and tan of right angled triangles. How could I translate the maths I learnt in school to activities and workshops suitable for young children and avoid instilling in them “Maths phobia”? The answer I found that worked lay in getting to the heart of what maths really is and especially what maths skills enable us to do in the real world.
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)!
The Velveteen Rabbit By Margery Williams
(Published in 1922)
The Velveteen Rabbit is the story of a little boy’s most-loved toy. Given to him as a Christmas present, the stuffed rabbit did not immediately find a place in the boy’s heart, and battled against the more expensive and fancy toys to be noticed.However, once the little boy grew to love the rabbit, a friendship grew that would only end when a terrible tragedy struck… When the rabbit’s owner contracts Scarlet Fever, all of his toys have to be taken away and burnt to rid the house of the disease.
Looking back, I must have been quite a morbid child! I loved the book so much my Great Aunt gave me my very own Velveteen Rabbit when I was 7. He has a top hat, a waistcoat and 1990 embroidered on his paw. Just like the rabbit in the book, he is now a good bit scruffier but no less loved, especially now since my aunt has passed away. I tried to pass on the tradition to my own nephew by giving him a copy of The Velveteen Rabbit a few Christmases ago – he was a bit small to appreciate it at the time but I hope that someday he will love the story just as much as I do!
The Dublin Theatre Festival - Family Season
Playwright George Bernard Shaw said that an “Irishman’s heart is nothing but his imagination”. Every day great theatre is performed on stages across the world, the result of a mere imagining. And equally every day in Imaginosity I witness children creating theatre. In the diner they are rushed off their feet serving angry customers, there are epic train crashes occurring on the town table and a patient is just moments away from tragedy in Dr Appleaday’s surgery. You see it in your own home too – children don’t need the backdrop of a children’s museum to create in-depth melodramatic multi-character scenarios: it’s called Mammies and Daddies.
And because children love creating theatre they are also the perfect spectators. And lucky spectators at that, because there are a wealth of phenomenally talented children’s theatre companies in Ireland and beyond who specialise in creating high quality productions for these highly critical individuals. Have you ever been to a truly terrible play? If yes, then you will know the feelings it inspires. You sit trapped, claustrophobic, nowhere to run and nowhere to hide the grimaces. You want to cry out. You most definitely want your money back. Imagine the freedom of being able to wail “I’m BORED!” This is the risk children’s theatre practitioners run every day, so is it any wonder they hone their craft? If you think theatre critics are harsh just wait until your performance is ripped to shreds by a four year old.
The unprecedented blistering heat of July had an eerie effect on the floors of Imaginosity. As the beaches and parks around the country filled fit to burst, an echoing silence overtook the building. Dust built up on the steps to the building as the mercury rose to historic levels and there was even an unconfirmed sighting of a tumbleweed through the construction zone by a staff member (who admittedly may have been suffering from heat exhaustion.)
Until one fateful day in July the silence was broken as our first summer campers burst through the doors! For eight weeks we explored science, sang our hearts out, built bridges, hunted fairies, chased down bad guys, encountered aliens, danced our socks off, exploded potions, glued things, got messy, got theatrical, played and played and played!
With 8 themed camps, over 200 creative activities, 139 happy campers and 10 absolutely EXHAUSTED facilitators we are confident enough to declare 2013 an extremely successful summer camp season.