play / 2015

LA League of Imagination

Idea submitted in the My LA2050 Maker Challenge by Imagination Foundation

We will launch 20 Imagination Chapters throughout Los Angeles to form the "LA League of Imagination." Imagination Chapters are pop-up learning spaces that teach 21st century skills to children through Creative Play. They can launch anywhere, with anyone, and require few resources to ignite child imagination.


In what areas of Los Angeles will you be directly working?

  • County of Los Angeles
  • City of Los Angeles
  • LAUSD

How do you plan to use these resources to make change?

  • Conduct research
  • Engage residents and stakeholders
  • Expand a pilot or a program

How will your proposal improve the following “Play” metrics?

  • Number of children enrolled in afterschool programs
  • Number (and quality) of informal spaces for play (Dream Metric)

Describe in greater detail how you will make LA the best place to play.

We imagine a world where creativity and entrepreneurship are core social values nurtured in schools, homes and communities everywhere, where all children are taught to be creative thinkers and doers, and encouraged to make their very best ideas happen.

In 2012, the short film ‘Caine’s Arcade’ charmed the world with its message of creativity, handwork, perseverance and community. Called a “great American story” by the Christian Science Monitor, the film sparked a global movement and launched the Imagination Foundation, a nonprofit organization to foster creativity and entrepreneurship in children. Our hallmark event is the Global Cardboard Challenge, which has already impacted nearly 350,000 children from 70 countries. This event is a month long campagin to celebrate child creativity and the simple things adults can do to foster it. See www.cardboardchallenge.com.

Following from the inspiration of “Caine’s Arcade” and the success of the Global Cardboard Challenge, in 2014 we launched the Imagination Chapters program worldwide. Imagination Chapters are community-organized learning spaces that foster creativity and other 21st century skills through Creative Play. Chapters are volunteer-led and can start anywhere, including schools, homes, libraries and community spaces. Our educational model at the heart of the Chapters program recently won a global challenge sponsored by LEGO and Ashoka to “re-imagine learning.” What began as a 30-site pilot program in 2014 is now growing to serve new Chapters around the world, including 20 in Los Angeles to form the “LA League of Imagination.”

Imagination Chapters are popup learning spaces for Creative Play. They are community-organized and volunteer-led. They are designed to launch in a variety of locations, and can accommodate whatever resources are available (especially and including recyclables). Many Chapters launch in classrooms and operate as part of the regular school day. Others launch in homes, libraries, and community centers, and alongside of after school programs or other nonprofits. Professional educators and also other adults — from all walks of life — can start and lead an Imagination Chapter. The focal point of a Chapter is a Creative Play session. Creative Play is a process whereby children build whatever they can imagine using available tools and resources, and then share their creations in person and online. Sessions can be simple or complex depending on participant age and materials.

Please explain how you will evaluate your work.

Through Creative Play, children grow in “creative self-efficacy,” which is comprised of numerous next generation skills, especially creativity and innovation, as well as social-emotional skills like collaboration, resilience and empathy. Children also learn skills that represent fundamental STEM literacy and engineering-thinking. Measurement is assessed using various surveys, and a randomized sample of child portfolios (through Consensual Assessment Technique). We will also compile data on child development from short monthly survey’s administered to Chapter Leaders.

We will examine academic performance data (such as attendance and discipline data) to explore and demonstrate impact on traditional school-related outcomes. Surveys to examine parent/care-giver observations will be administered twice per year to document the transfer of key skills to home environments.

How can the LA2050 community and other stakeholders help your proposal succeed?

  • Money (financial capital)
  • Volunteers/staff (human capital)
  • Publicity/awareness (social capital)
  • Community outreach