Hooray for Shay: Meet Our New Colorado Manager

“I’m passionate about LEGO, working with kids and coming up with creative ways to teach,” says Shay Shinnott. Shay is our new manager for the Boulder & North Denver areas. Her background as a LEGO brick specialist, a private school public programs & communications specialist and rock climbing instructor make her one incredible new team member here at Play-Well. She is a recent transplant to Colorado from Massachusetts. Her foray into rock climbing inspired her to take risks and step out of her comfort zone which led to her cross-country move. Only a month after she landed in Colorado Shay found Play-Well and joined our staff of LEGO-fanatics in September. She lives by the mantra, “you can’t say can’t” which is something her mom always told her.

A climb at a gym back in Massachusetts that was perfect for Shay! Each hold was shaped like a LEGO brick!

Aside from her love of LEGOs and teaching, Shay also enjoys everything fantasy including Disney, Harry Potter, Game of Thrones and Marvel. Her favorite color is blue, and her friends in Massachusetts even threw her a “So Blue Without You” going away party where everyone dressed in blue to celebrate her.

Shay really enjoys making STEM accessible for all kids. “When I was little I didn’t know anything about STEM,” says Shay. During her childhood, she was told that girls are good at english and history and not good at science or math. Shay is excited to break these stereotypes. “I think telling girls they can be engineers and their brain can work like that is going to change the future.”

One of Shay’s life goals is to visit every Disney Park…so far she’s been to 3! Disney World in FL, Disneyland in CA, and Disney Shanghai in China.

Shay is a part of our new Girl Scout STEM initiative at Play-Well. Our goal is to support the Girl Scouts by hosting hands-on LEGO-inspired STEM workshops that will enable scouts to get their “Think Like An Engineer Badge.”

We are very excited to have Shay join our Colorado team. We can’t wait to see how her teaching, skills, and passion will cultivate the next generation of engineers and scientists.

On her drive across country, Shay stopped at the Badlands National Park. It was the most beautiful place she’s ever seen!

Happy 4th of July

We’ve put together this blog post of fun 4th of July builds! Celebrate Independence Day with LEGO! Create a moving LEGO flag, a firework, an American wreath and more! We hope you enjoy these builds and the holiday.

 

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.

Play-Well Staff Retreat

Our management staff had an awesome retreat in San Anselmo, CA near our Play-Well Marin Activity Center. We spent the week learning, exploring, connecting, and, of course, playing with lots of LEGO®! We discussed new programs, we hiked in the Redwoods, taught STEM concepts to three classes at a local school, shared ideas about new in-school programming for science classes, built a Giant Ball Contraption out of LEGO® and so much more. We’re excited to share what we’ve discovered with all of you! Here are some highlights from the retreat:

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PRESS ADVISORY: Building The City of Brighton out of 40,000 LEGO® Pieces

On Sunday, October 22nd, 2017, Play-Well TEKnologies will be collaborating with the Brighton Recreation Center to build the city of Brighton out of 40,000 LEGO® Bricks. Students can construct Main St. Brighton, mountains, their own home, school, playgrounds, parks all out of LEGO. Students will explore hands on architecture through learning about overlapping and how buildings are so strong! All LEGO will be provided by Play-Well. For safety all kids need to be bring an adult 🙂

Families will get the opportunity to build the city of Brighton as they would like to see it, as well as get the opportunity to answer these questions through play:

  • If you had the chance to design the city of Brighton, how would you design it?
  • What else would you add to the city that you currently think is missing?
  • How would you make Brighton even better than it is now?

The best part is that the event is FREE to the public.

Session 1- 10:00am – 11:30am​ ​

Session 2- 1:00pm – 2:30pm

(Both sessions will be doing the same builds)

This is a Free event for kids ages 5+. Only kids need tickets

Here are the details of the event:

Event: Building The City of Brighton out of 40,000 LEGO® Bricks

Location: Brighton Recreation Center 555 N 11th Ave, Brighton, CO 80601

Date & Time: Sunday October 22nd, 2017 / Session 1: 10:00 AM – 11:30 AM, Session 2: 1:00pm – 2:30pm

To register for the event please visit our eventbrite page here.

Brighton Recreation Contact: (303) 655-2200

Play-Well Contact: Brianna Laffey, brianna@play-well.org

Play-Well TEKnologies

Play-Well TEKnologies teaches LEGO-Inspired STEM Programs to approximately 100,000 kids/year around the U.S.  Their goal is to inspire the next generation of engineers, innovators, scientists, and inventors all through the power of play.  Kids dive into our classes and exercise their innate gift for building. They come away understanding fundamental principles of engineering and physics. The experience boosts their confidence, creativity and ability to collaborate.  For more information, visit play-well.org.

Examples of other Play-Well City Builds:

Building the City of Austin with the Thinkery

On June 14th, we partnered with the Thinkery, a creative space for families to experience the magic of science, for their community night. We had an amazing time building the city of Austin out of over 40,000 LEGO® bricks with local families. We included the Thinkery building and the iconic Frost tower in our city build. It was four hours of excited kids ready to create the city of Austin!

KVUE Austin even came down to cover the building of LEGO®-inspired Austin.

Press Advisory: Creating the City of Austin out of 40,000 LEGO® Bricks at The Thinkery

On Wednesday Night, June 14th, 2017, Play-Well TEKnologies will be collaborating with the Thinkery to build the city of Austin out of 40,000 LEGO® Bricks.  Families will get the opportunity to build the city of Austin as they would like to see it.  They also get to tackle these questions through play:

  • If you had the chance to design the city of Austin, how would you design it?
  • What else would you add to the city that you currently think is missing?
  • How would you make Austin even better than it is now?

Building The City of Austin out of 40,000 LEGO® Bricks takes place during Thinkery’s special Community Night hours (Wednesdays from 4–8 pm), when admission to the museum is by donation—meaning families are able to pay what they can. The suggested donation is $1.

Thinkery strives to provide a friendly, inspiring space to learn for the entire community, regardless of financial status. By providing experiences to underserved audiences, the museum broadens its ability to equip and inspire the next generation of creative problem solvers.

For information about Thinkery and its Community Night program, please click here.

For information about Thinkery’s STEAM on the Spot program, please click here.

Here are the details of the event:

Event: Building The City of Austin out of 40,000 LEGO® Bricks

Location: The Thinkery, Austin Children’s Museum, 1830 Simond Ave, Austin, TX 78723

Date & Time: Wednesday, June 13th, 2017 / 4:00 PM – 8:00 PM

Thinkery Contact:Taylor Grobelny, tgrobelny@thinkeryaustin.org.

Play-Well Contact: Miranda Urban, miranda@play-well.org

Thinkery

Thinkery is an evolution of Austin Children’s Museum. It’s Austin’s home for “why” and “how.” A place where science and families play side by side. Where people connect with ideas by doing, making and experiencing. It’s a foundry for a new generation of innovators and creative problem solvers. And it’s a heck of a good time.  For more information, visit thinkeryaustin.org.

Play-Well TEKnologies

Play-Well TEKnologies teaches LEGO-Inspired STEM Programs to approximately 100,000 kids/year around the U.S.  Their goal is to inspire the next generation of engineers, innovators, scientists, and inventors all through the power of play.  Kids dive into our classes and exercise their innate gift for building. They come away understanding fundamental principles of engineering and physics. The experience boosts their confidence, creativity and ability to collaborate.  For more information, visit play-well.org.

Examples of city builds in other states: