Building Without Blueprints: Unstructured Contest Reveals Power of Play-Based Learning

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Imagination Playground’s Nationwide Build-A-Thon Finds America’s Next Great Architect in Utah

Imagination Playground

Imagination Playground

“Our Build-A-Thon encourages kids to let their imaginations run loose and create designs that are inherently beautiful but also provides lessons in the value of play-based learning."

Imagination Playground today announced that nine-year-old Levi Buckley from Layton, Utah, has won the company’s 2017-18 Build-A-Thon contest. The competition allows children across the country to submit photos of structures they have created using the company’s innovative Big Blue Blocks. Winning designs are judged on creativity, complexity and overall aesthetic.

“Our Build-A-Thon encourages kids to let their imaginations run loose and create designs that are inherently beautiful but also provides lessons in the value of play-based learning,” said David Krishock, President of Imagination Playground. “We love it when kids express themselves creatively and learn while they play. This increases levels of communication, collaboration, problem solving and imagination.”

Levi Buckley’s design was chosen based on its complexity, balance, symmetry, and pride in creation. Levi’s winning entry was co-created with his three brothers, ages 10, 5, and 3. The prize is a 105-piece set of Big Blue Blocks, and a trip to San Francisco for the entire family who will be honored at 11:00 a.m. on Thursday, May 31 at Bay Area Discovery Museum.

“We are honored to host Levi and his family, and are proud of his accomplishment and winning design,” said Karyn Flynn, Chief Executive Officer of Bay Area Discovery Museum. “Imagination Playground is a perfect partner for us as we both focus on learning and creative problem solving through fun, imagination, innovation, immersion and play.”

Now entering its fourth year, Build-A-Thon encourages kids to explore and create with the company’s Big Blue Blocks. Imagination Playground has many play-based learning partners all across the country: schools, family centers, children’s museums, discovery centers, and science centers. Partners provide the blocks for play, and children provide their imaginations. Countless studies validate the benefits of rule-free play. It changes neural pathways, regulates emotion and assists in problem-solving and planning.

In addition to announcing the Grand Prize Winner, Imagination Playground officially launches their 2018-2019 Build-A-Thon on May 31st. To learn more, please visit:

About Imagination Playground, LLC
Imagination Playground is a breakthrough play space concept developed to encourage child-directed, creative free play. The kind of play that experts say is critical to children’s intellectual, social, physical, and emotional development. Invented by architect and designer David Rockwell and the Rockwell group, Imagination Playground enables children to play, dream, build and explore endless possibilities. Imagination Playground finds its home in daycare centers, kindergartens, elementary schools, children’s museums – and science, nature, discovery centers, camps, community centers, children’s hospitals, hotels and resorts, public parks and more – in North America and over 70 countries around the world. For more information, visit

About Bay Area Discovery Museum
The Bay Area Discovery Museum is a children’s museum in Sausalito that applies the latest research to develop early learning experiences that inspire and build creative problem-solving skills in children, transforming the way they learn and the way they contribute to the world. As an independent 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, the museum provides STEM-focused, inquiry-driven experiences that develop creativity and conceptual thinking, critical components of problem solving.

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Lacie Peterson
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