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Ciara O'Shea, Marketing Manager, Imaginosity

Ciara O'Shea, Marketing Manager, Imaginosity has not set their biography yet

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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Posted by on in General

Elfvis13

As we are closed tomorrow, for Christmas Eve, we felt it was important to say Goodbye and Thank You to our greatest smallest friend 'Elfvis'. Today was Elfvis's last day reporting at Imaginosity. He has worked tirelessly over the last 5 weeks, moving all over the museum, choosing a different hiding place every day and generally keeping a playful watch over all the boys and girls. It goes without saying that all the children who come to Imaginosity are well-behaved, kind and sweet so we are sure that Elfvis has nothing but good news to pass on to Santa in time for Christmas Eve. 

We have loved having you here Elfvis. You have brightened our days with your cheeky grin and big blue eyes as we searched high and low for you each morning. We look forward to welcoming you back to the museum for Christmas 2014.

To all the boys, girls, mums, dads, grandmas, grandads, aunties and uncles we wish you all a very merry, happy, safe, playful Christmas. Enjoy the magic and the sparkle and don't forget your cookie for Santa and a carrot for Rudolph! Thank you for coming to play during the year. See you all again once the big day is over, as we get set to welcome another year of fun, play, learning, laughter and good times at Imaginosity for 2014.

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Posted by on in Imaginosity Events

Imaginosity has chosen to support the charity Crosscare’s urgent Christmas Food Appeal this year. We were so struck by their desperate plea two weeks ago for food donations for families throughout Dublin. We heard that in the week that they made their appeal, Crosscare’s ‘Food Bank’ had received requests for food from 120 individuals and families, but could only meet 40 of those requests; in essence their food reserves are dwindling. Isn’t it shocking to think that 80 people and family members potentially went hungry? The agency now needs urgent help sourcing food supplies or more people could be turned away in the coming weeks leading up to Christmas. We knew that we would like to get involved in their food drive when we heard such stark statistics.

Crosscare's Food Services were established in 1941 to work with those affected by poverty after World War II. Over the past 71 years these services have been developed to meet new and emerging needs within Irish society. Meals on wheels for the elderly or those with mobility issues, food banking to redistribute food and goods to other charities and those locally in need, food centre provision for local groups in need, food provision for those affected by homelessness and breakfast clubs for local schools.

Today the face of poverty is ever changing and Crosscare knows that Food Poverty affects over 10% of those living in Ireland: they simply can't afford to eat the recommended daily amounts of necessary healthy, wholesome foods. Those at high risk of Food Poverty are those living alone, families on low income, single parents and families with three or more children (findings from Safe Food, September 2012). According to Crosscare, two years ago they were providing 280,000 meals but this year they will be providing close to 500,000. I guess it’s not an exaggeration to say that their situation is dire.

So, how does the food drive at Imaginosity work? Well, we are appealing to our own visitors, those that are simply passing by, those who work in the area or residents from the surrounding areas to drop in a food item or a number of food items, to our collection point in the reception area. Crosscare have suggested the following items for donation: teabags, coffee, soup, tinned meat and fish, pasta, rice and sugar, along with personal hygiene products. Even if you can afford to purchase an extra food item in your weekly shop that would really help our appeal. All items donated will be gathered and collected by Crosscare over the four weeks leading up to Christmas.

The food appeal is a great way for kids to learn important lessons on life. Teaching a child about the needs of the most vulnerable is an education that will stay with them for their lifetime. Wouldn’t it be nice for our children to grow up with hearts filled with generosity and compassion? Donating to the Crosscare Food appeal is a simple activity that could begin to shape that.

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Posted by on in Imaginosity Events

Our Festival of Stories is over for another year, bringing to an end a wonderfully successful 9-day celebration of children’s literature, stories and story-telling in all its forms. We can breathe a big sigh of relief knowing that our visitors had a great time, those that participated had a great time and we had a fantastic time too, knowing that all the work that went into the Festival paid off.

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A big part of the Festival has always been to promote and encourage literacy in children and the creation of strong family bonds through reading together as a family.

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Posted by on in Play at home

Imaginosity was very kindly invited to attend Early Childhood Ireland’s recent conference held in Dublin, where both interesting and important issues surrounding the theme of ‘Today’s Children: Tomorrow’s World’ were discussed.  The conference celebrated, commemorated and concentrated on early childhood.

We were very excited to listen to Dr Stuart Brown M.D as the Conference’s opening Key Note Speaker.  Dr Brown is a medical doctor, psychiatrist and clinical researcher, who is a major proponent of the importance of play. He founded The National Institute for Play in the U.S  http://www.nifplay.org/about_us.html ,a non-profit  organisation committed to bringing unrealised knowledge, practices and benefits of play into public life through continuing research.

Irene Gunning, Early Childhood Ireland’s CEO (herself a well-known, well-respected, long-time proponent of the importance of play for children), introduced Dr Brown by saying that from the moment she first heard him speak she was mesmerised. By the end of Dr Brown’s talk I understood exactly what she meant! He was engaging, funny, thoroughly informative and bursting with enthusiasm and passion for play.

Dr Brown spoke of how what it takes to be wholly human is so centred in early childhood and how the willingness, desire and motivation to play is embedded in each of us, from the moment that we are born.  He described play as a ‘marvellous phenomenon’ and cautioned that it is not just for kids, but lasts a lifetime.

He described the types of play that humans experience and can remember so well from our own childhoods and that we can now see replicated in our own children or young family members. Dr Brown has spent some time working with National Geographic through print and television programming, and he used a wealth of fantastic, exhilarating photographs in his presentation, which wonderfully described the various types or states of play.  From wolves to polar bears, whales to apes it was easy to see the parallels between what goes on for humans and what happens in nature, where play is concerned.

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