Celebrating 20 Years of Playing Well!

20 years ago, our founder, Tim Bowen, had an idea to introduce kids to the world of engineering through playing with LEGO®, when the concept of S.T.E.M. had not even been popularized yet. Since then, Play-Well has been lucky enough to teach over 800,000 kids. Here is the story of how a crazy idea became an engineering program for kids that now teaches over 100,000 kids a year all over the United States.

Thanks, everyone that has ever participated in a Play-Well Program.  We couldn’t have gotten here without you.

Building The City of Honolulu out of 20,000 LEGO® Pieces

On Saturday, June 3, 2017, Play-Well TEKnologies and the Hawaii State Public Library will be collaborating together to create an opportunity for families to build the city of Honolulu out of 20,000 LEGO® Bricks.  Families will have the opportunity to create Honolulu, as they would like to see it.  They can construct the library, downtown Honolulu, their own home, school, playgrounds, parks etc., all out of 20,000 LEGO® pieces all for FREE.  Kids will explore hands-on architecture and learn about how to build strong structures out of LEGO® bricks.

The event is the Kick-off to Hawaii State Public Library’s Summer Reading Program and is completely FREE to the public.  We do encourage families to register at the link below, as the event may sell out.

Here are the details:

Date & Time:  Saturday, June 3rd, 2017 / 10:00 AM – 1:00 PM

(You can register for one of six different 30-minute time slots throughout the day)

Location: Hawaii State Public Library, 478 South King Street, Honolulu, HI 96813

Register For The City of Honolulu Build Here

Event Contacts:

Frequently Asked Questions:

What do these city builds look like?

Can I drop my kid off at the event?

  • We ask that parents stay with their kids at all times

Will the kids get to keep their LEGO® creations after the event is over?

Can kids bring their own LEGO pieces to add to the city?

  • We ask that kids keep their LEGO® pieces at home as we would not want them to lose their favorite LEGO® pieces

We aren’t able to make it to the event, but would love for you to come to our neighborhood or school.  Is that possible?

How Long Has Play-Well Been in Hawaii?

For more information about Play-Well, visit play-well.org or send a question to Wrenn Okada at Wrenn@play-well.org.

Warwick Elementary Builds Star Wars Worlds with 60,000 LEGO® pieces

On May The Fourth, 2017, Warwick Elementary Families and Play-Well TEKnologies collaborated to build three separate Star Wars Worlds.  Those worlds included the Ewok Village, Cloud City, and the trenches of the Death Star.  Here is what over 200 families were able to create in just two hours…

If you’d like us to do an event like this at your school, visit our special events page for details: http://play-well.org/about-special-events.shtml

Aloha! Play-Well Hawaii

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[Photo from Laurene J. on Flickr]

ALOHA!

We are excited to announce that Play Well is expanding to Hawaii! It’s Island time! Our amazing Play-Wellian, Wrenn is adding Hawaii to our list of Play Well states!

We’re kicking off Play-Well Hawaii with a few winter camps in Honolulu!

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Kama’aina Kids is our new partner in Hawaii!

 

We are working with Kama’aina Kids to create a unique camp experience at the Bishop Museum from December 21st-23rd.  Bishop Museum campers will have a 90-minute Play Well engineering class with over 20,000 LEGO pieces.

To sign up for camp at the Bishop Museum click here!

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The YMCA Mililani is also hosting winter intersession Play Well camps! We’re offering our Engineering FUNdamentals class, December 28th-30th from 12:45pm-3:45pm.

To sign up for camp at the YMCA Mililani click here!

If you’d like Play-Well to offer Engineering with LEGO classes at your school, complete our After-School Enrichment Request Form HERE.

If you’d like to have a Play-Well Engineering with LEGO Party, complete our Party Request Form HERE.

If you’d like to get on our special Hawaii only mailing list or have questions about our Hawaii programs, please contact Wrenn Okada at wrenn@play-well.org.

For more information about Play-Well TEKnologies, visit play-well.org.  Happy Holidays!

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We can’t wait to build, play and learn with you in Hawaii! 

We Helped The Glide Community Build a 7.5 LEGO Logo

On Sunday, July 12th, we helped GLIDE and families in the Tenderloin neighborhood build a 7.5 LEGO Heart of their Glide logo for Sunday Streets.  A huge reason we were able to build so much of the sign was because of the awesome volunteers from Twitter For Good.  Thanks to everyone that helped make this idea become a reality. Check out some of the pictures from the event below:

Glide Play-Well Event 1

We began the sign at 11 AM and we only had until 3:30 PM to complete it. (Picture Source: Leah from Twitter)

Glide Play-Well Event 2

Kids from all around the tenderloin community came to help. Some simply got off their bicycles to help. (Picture Source: Leah from Twitter)

Glide Play-Well Event 3

By 12 PM, we had much of the lettering done and the complete bottom done. (Picture Source: Leah from Twitter)

Glide Play-Well Event 4

Here is the awesome designer of the sign, Marco, and Leah, one of the awesome volunteers from Twitter. Without their help, this would never have been completed. (Picture Source: Leah from Twitter)

Glide Play-Well Event 5

Now, the unconditionally part of the sign needed to be built. (Picture Source: Alain McLaughlin from Glide)

Glide Play-Well Event 6

We are getting closer. (Picture Source: Alain McLaughlin from Glide)

Glide Play-Well Event 7

This was one of our phenomenal helpers. She was able to do a lot of the hard part of build, filling in the letters with LEGO. (Picture Source: Alain McLaughlin from Glide)

Glide Play-Well Event 8

One interesting challenge of making a sign like this is that pressure is applied to both sides of the sign, so it is much harder to get LEGO into the middle. She was able to do it with some friends. (Picture Source: Alain McLaughlin from Glide)

Glide Play-Well Event 9

Almost there. (Picture Source: Alain McLaughlin from Glide)

Glide Play-Well Event 11

We even needed a few step stools to get those last pieces up at the top. (Picture Source: Adejire Bademosi from Twitter)

Glide Play-Well Event 12

We did it! (Picture Source: Alain McLaughlin from Glide)

Glide Play-Well Event 13

The heart will be displayed at freedom hall at Glide Memorial Church. (Picture Source: Dori Caminong)

Glide Play-Well Event 14

Let’s just say the Glide staff was excited about it and the entire Sunday Streets event. Thanks for having us! (Picture Source: Alain McLaughlin from Glide)

Thanks again for having us Glide!  If you’d like to do a special LEGO event in your area, click HERE for details.

Play-Well’s Summer LEGO Build & Tell

During the summer, we always encourage our students to continue to build, play, and learn about the engineering world through LEGO.  So, we are conducting a fun summer project that kids and parents can participate in called Play-Well’s Summer LEGO Build & Tell.

It’s easy for anyone to participate.  Here’s how:

LEGO Checklist

1. Kids build a project, either something they learned to build at a Play-Well camp or a contraption that they have been inspired to build from their own creativity.

Kid Photo

2. Parents, make a short video of your child talking about their creation and any engineering or architecture concepts that have been incorporated into the project.  The video should not be more than 90 seconds.

3. Post your video on YouTube, vimeo, or your Facebook/Twitter/Instagram page.

4. Submit the video link to our Play-Well Facebook, Twitter, Instagram page or email it to jeff@play-well.org.

5. Celebrate!  You are done!

Here are the prizes:

  • The first 30 submissions will receive a Play-Well LEGO Minifigure.
  • qqGYlp1 - Imgur10 submissions (selected at random) will receive a Play-Well LEGO Bow Tie.
Kid President LEGO Bow Tie

Kid President received one of our Play-Well LEGO Bow Ties and wore it recently at the Jefferson Awards: https://playwelltek.wordpress.com/2015/06/26/kid-president-wore-our-lego-bow-tie-to-the-jefferson-awards/

  • 2 submissions (selected at random) will receive a complimentary Play-Well Engineering Fundamentals Mine, Craft, Build LEGO Workshop for their child and their friends.  It has become one of our most popular new programs.

Minecraft

All families that participate in this project can also be part of our Play-Well LEGO Build & Tell  compilation video, if interested.

The prizes are fun to receive, but in the end, the main goal of this project is to get kids to build more and realize what they are learning while building.  We believe that children learn a great deal through play and we hope to foster this type of learning through our summer camps, as well as at home.  If you have additional questions about the project, simply email jeff@play-well.org.

Also, check out our Summer Engineering with LEGO Camps happening near you.

Kid President Wore Our LEGO Bow Tie To The Jefferson Awards!

We recently gave Kid President and his co-creator of their awesome videos, Brad Montague, two of our Play-Well LEGO Bow Ties.  We found out that they wore them to the Jefferson Awards.

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WASHINGTON, DC - JUNE 18: Robby Novak (L) and Brad Montague, co-creators of Kid President appear at the Jefferson Awards Foundation 43rd Annual National Ceremony on June 18, 2015 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Larry French/Getty Images for The Jefferson Awards Foundation)

WASHINGTON, DC – JUNE 18: Robby Novak (L) and Brad Montague, co-creators of Kid President appear at the Jefferson Awards Foundation 43rd Annual National Ceremony on June 18, 2015 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Larry French/Getty Images for The Jefferson Awards Foundation)

Article: http://entertainthis.usatoday.com/2015/06/19/kid-president-is-just-a-normal-kid-who-makes-amazing-videos/

We found out via twitter.

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We agree, they do look snazzy.

Kid President LEGO Bow Tie

Check out our other Play-Well LEGO Bow Tie Alumni.

Happy Father’s Day!

“My father gave me the greatest gift anyone could give another person, he believed in me.” Jim Valvano.Pic_FathersDay

“My father didn’t tell me how to live; he lived, and let me watch him do it.” Clarence B. Kelland.

Happy Father’s Day!

Play-Well Summer Kick-Offs: Grown Ups playing with LEGO

At the beginning of every summer, we have our annual Play-Well Summer Kick-Off’s.  It is when we gather all of our instructors in the area to come together to play, learn, and share lessons learned throughout the year in preparation for running awesome programs during the summer.  We do role-playing, we tell stories, we of course build with LEGO, and we ultimately just have fun.  At this year’s kick-offs, we asked our staff “how many of you were that awkward, nerdy kid growing up?”  Almost all of our instructors hands go up.  So, we then tell them that in our camps this summer, we are going to have kids that are just like you, trying to figure out where they belong.  By simply being your full, nerdy self, we give that child permission to do the same.  And even better than learning about the world of engineering, that could be the most memorable lesson they learn that summer: To just be themselves.

Check out pictures from our many kick-offs around the country leading up to summer.

Play-Well Northwest Kick-Off (Seattle, Tacoma, Portland)

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Our Play-Well Northwest Staff recreating the Hadouken Meme, Play-Well Style.

Play-Well East Coast Kick-Off (Connecticut, Massachusetts, New York, New Jersey)

It is tradition that we end each of our Play-Well Kick-Offs with the Rock, Paper, Scissors Competition.  This is the Play-Well East Coast one.

It is tradition that we end each of our Play-Well Kick-Offs with the Rock, Paper, Scissors Competition. This is the Play-Well East Coast one.

Here is our strange Play-Well East Coast photo.  Don't mind the person in the middle.

Here is our strange Play-Well East Coast photo. Don’t mind the person in the middle.

Two of our Play-Well Staff still trying to figure out what they built.

Two of our Play-Well Staff still trying to figure out what they built.

David has created a contraption that uses more LEGO Pneumatic tubes that we have ever seen.

David has created a contraption that uses more LEGO Pneumatic tubes that we have ever seen.

 

Our staffer member Michael is building a life size Iron Man Costume and brought in the helmet to show us.

Our staffer member Michael is building a life size Iron Man Costume and brought in the helmet to show us.  And yes, he is wearing the Game of Thrones emblem of the hand, which he 3D printed.

Play-Well East Coast Show & Tell.

Play-Well East Coast Show & Tell.

Play-Well East Coast Staff sharing stories.

Play-Well East Coast Staff sharing stories.

Play-Well Texas Kick-Off

The Play-Well Texas staff in the most calm state.

The Play-Well Texas staff in their most calm state.

This is normal attire at our kick-off meetings.  Play-Well Texas Kick-Off.

This is normal attire at our kick-off meetings. Play-Well Texas Kick-Off.

Still trying to figure what that is. Play-Well Texas Kick-Off.

Still trying to figure what that is. Play-Well Texas Kick-Off.

In Texas, they don't play around.  Everything they do, they do big.

In Texas, they don’t play around. Everything they do, they do big.

During our role-playing workshop, some people truly committed to their roles as kids.

During our role-playing workshop, some people truly committed to their roles as kids.

At the Play-Well Texas Kick-Off, this was a normal meeting.

At the Play-Well Texas Kick-Off, this is considered a normal meeting amongst colleagues.

Play-Well Chicago Kick-Off

Play-Well Chicago staff are quite normal.

Play-Well Chicago staff are quite normal.

At the Play-Well Chicago Kick-Off, Chris finds himself without words during our role-playing workshop.

At the Play-Well Chicago Kick-Off, Chris finds himself without words during our role-playing workshop.

At the Play-Well Chicago Kick-Off, LEGO art was on display.

At the Play-Well Chicago Kick-Off, LEGO art was on display.

Play-Well Mid-Atlantic Kick-Off (Maryland, DC, Virginia)

This is how you spell LEGO with human beings.  Play-Well Mid-Atlantic Kick-Off.

This is how you spell LEGO with human beings. Play-Well Mid-Atlantic Kick-Off.

Bow Ties are ready for staff to wear at the Play-Well Mid-Atlantic Kick-Off.

Bow Ties are ready for staff to wear at the Play-Well Mid-Atlantic Kick-Off.

At the Play-Well Mid-Atlantic Kick-Off (DC, Virginia, & Maryland), a few of us having a lot of fun with the LEGO inventions we made.

At the Play-Well Mid-Atlantic Kick-Off (DC, Virginia, & Maryland), a few of us having a lot of fun with the LEGO inventions we made.

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Play-Well Mid-Atlantic Staff (Maryland, DC, Virginia)

Play-Well Colorado/Utah Kick-Off

These are the normal faces of the Play-Well Colorado & Utah Staff.

These are the normal faces of the Play-Well Colorado & Utah Staff.

When we create stories with LEGO, every piece of furniture is fair game.

When we create stories with LEGO, every piece of furniture is fair game.

Time to hear Tim Talk.

Time to hear Tim Talk.

At the Play-Well Colorado Kick-Off, this team is combining all of the elements from the Avatar.

At the Play-Well Colorado Kick-Off, this team is combining all of the elements from the Avatar.

Voltaic: Solar Powered Little Bits & LEGO

4 years ago, we asked Voltaic Systems to build a solar panel for our LEGO cars. They improved the design since then and shared it on their blog.

solar-littlebit-pieces

From Voltaic:

“We combined LittleBits, Legos, and our 2 Watt, 6 Volt solar panel to create a robot that draws circles with two different colors. The LittleBit components we used were the microUSB power module, the motor, and the dimmer (to change the speed of the motor). The entire circuit requires less than 60mA so it was able to run even when the sun was partially shaded. Sliding the wheel closer or further away from the body of the robot changed the size of the circle that was drawn.

All we needed were some spare Lego pieces, tape, and rubber-bands and our bot was drawing circles in no time! We encourage you to send us pictures of your own Voltaic solar creations.”