Learning through play: It’s not just fun and games

8514777244_be0c519766_zPeruse through the TEDActive 2013 photos and you will see many images of adults playing games and having fun with the experiences that were set up around the campus. Look a little closer and you’ll see they weren’t just playing games – they were connecting with each other, exercising their creativity, problem-solving … they were learning!

We brought in several experts to develop experiential stations and activities at the conference to facilitate creativity and connection through playfulness. Here are three of the experts we invited to create unique experiences for our members to explore.

charlotte-fixlerThinkFun, an innovative developer of educational games and toys, brought the fun to TEDActive in a big way. They set up several giant play stations all around the conference, including JengaTic Tac Toe, a Cardboard Mini Golf course, Rush Hour – blowing up these games that are usually played on a table to larger than life size proportions. Check out this Facebook album for more photos from ThinkFun at TEDActive.

austin-youngFallen Fruit is a team of artists – David Burns, Matias Viegener, and Austin Young – who make art using fruit as a common denominator to relay social messages. For instance, bananas are available all over the world. They say everyone is an expert on the banana; each person has an intimate knowledge of what bananas taste and feel to them. In addition to a fantastic TEDYou talk delivered by David and Austin, they brought a truck of bananas with them for a series of imaginative and fun experiences – from a Banana Hotline, to kazoo Banana Sound Circle, to a banana eating contest!

grace-hawthornePaper Punk is a paper-based building toy, fondly described as a Lego and origami mashup – that is as much a toy as a creativity tool. Founder and artist Grace Hawthorne developed the PaperPunk-a-thon station, with all the creative tools needed for members to create their own colorful structures, then combining them on a huge wall to create a combined paper sculpture.

Check out these TED Talks on how games and play influence learning:

2 thoughts on “Learning through play: It’s not just fun and games”

  1. I agree wholeheartedly! I love using ThinkFun puzzles in my training programs for lawyers and mediators as a means of introducing uncertainty and re-familiarising ourselves with the excitement of not always knowing the answer.

    This sounds like it was a fantastic day.

    We also blogged on this, here on this very blog last year when we were talking about watching my son and daughter play with puzzles.

    It’s not just for kids, far from it.

    Keep up the brilliant work.


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