While there are many fun things to do with kids in our city during March Break, we definitely include a visit to the award-winning digiPlaySpace at TIFF Bell Lightbox (now open until April 24, 2016). For the past five years, this hands-on interactive playground explores the intersection between art and technology with installations from around the world.
Each exhibition features the latest in fun and learning while engaging kids and families. From young tots to teens, the installations offer opportunities to learn and discover new ways to expand our imaginations. There are 25 different exhibits from nine countries.
How they determine who exhibits each year is fascinating. Designers and artists submit their ideas and the programming team research worldwide to bring the most innovative fun stuff to our city.
The space is organized into three main areas all offering opportunities to learn, create, tell stories and connect. Many of the installations are making their World Premiere here at digiPlaySpace and will move on to tour worldwide.
“It’s exciting that there are so many creative people using all these different technologies.” said Nick Pagee, Curator, digiPlaySpace. “For this Festival, it’s not really just about film and animation anymore but a whole explosion of different mediums. So for us, while we’re still committed to finding the best content for kids, we’re also committed to media literacy and helping them understand how media is created in all these different forms in a fun engaging ways.”
A few of the highlights include interactive installations that drew great attention from my kids when we visited last week for a sneak peek. One hour wasn’t enough time to try everything so we’ve already made plans to return.
The very fun LOLympics (Canada) offers a hilarious sports-themed stop motion experience. Guided by the staff each position is captured and stitched together to make a mini-film. We had a lot of fun with this..it even made me look like an athlete!
Flippaper (France) wows kids with the opportunity to draw their own arcade pinball style game and the project it onto the machine that allows the artist to actually play their game. Visitors can draw their own levels using different coloured markers and even earn points.
The Augmented Reality Sandbox with Kinetic Sand (USA/Canada) encourages kids to dig, sculpt and sift through real sand to create a topographic environment that is augmented in real time by an elevation colour map, contour lines, and simulated water.
Happy Hockey (Germany) located in the main lobby of the TIFF Bell Lightbox allows anyone with a smart device to join in the free WiFi based network and play a friendly game of hockey that is projected on a large wall.
The highly popular company Sago Sago (Canada) returns unveiling Sago Mini’s newest app, Sago Mini Trucks and Diggers + Build-A-House Activity inviting kids to interact with six unique virtual dirt moving machines and construct a building for a friend. The Build-A-House activity continues the play offline where kids build and decorate a carboard house of their own.
Kids can learn to play together on a the very fun (and cute) Pugs Sniffin’ Pugs (USA) arcade game. This installation focuses on learning how to collaborate learning how to work together as pugs in a park environment. Find bones, sniff out animals and explore the park to gain points. Move your pug around using giant tennis balls.
Thymio Robo Playground (Switzerland) are little robots designed for kids that even the youngest can learn quickly of how they can control and program behaviours. A wave of a hand can change the direction the robot is going.
As mentioned, there are 25 different hands-on activities here to play here at digiPlaySpace. Definitely worth visiting.
digiPlaySpace (located at the TIFF Bell Lightbox, 350 King Street West) is open daily until April 24, 2016. For more information, schedule and pricing visit www.tiff.net/kids.