27 May 2009

let's play

Dear Grown-up, Way back in the mid-19th century, a man named Friedrich Froebel invented Kindergarten when he founded the Play Activity Institute in 1837. He was a pioneer in early childhood education, and a strong advocate for the importance of free play in children. His Kindergarten classes were structured around a series of "gifts," designed to be given to a child in order to inspire innovation and self-directed activity. These concepts spread around the world, and as a result, the young students attending the first Kindergartens grew up to be some of the most innovative and creative thinkers of the 20th century. From the founders of the Bauhaus and modernist art movements, to American architect Frank Lloyd Wright, many young minds blossomed and thrived simply because they were given the gift of play.

Let's Play––the Make-it, Build-it, Paste-it, Do-it Super Fantastic Fun Kit!––was inspired by the ideals that Friedrich Froebel put forth so many years ago, along with recent scientific research working to promote the importance of play in the lives of both children and adults. In our fast-paced, high-tech modern society, we are losing sight of how beneficial unstructured, free, creative play can be to our physical, emotional, and cognitive well-being. 

Let's Play was designed to bring the gift of play to those who need it most. Working with Olmsted County Social Services, I created this kit to be used as a tool to engage young children in at-risk home environments, and help parents and caregivers learn to bond with the child while realizing the benefits of free, creative play in their own lives.

It is my hope that the simple materials inside of these kits can bring the gift of play into a child's life––inspiring a lifelong love of curiosity and ingenuity, and serving as a creative outlet wherein dreams are born, inventions are made, and imaginations are allowed to run wild...
Happy Playing!  Aimee Gauthier, May 2009

(what precedes is a glimpse into my senior thesis project, a semester-long labour of love that is still in its final stages of production. click on an image for a closer view...)