When I asked my 11-year-old son how he would describe digiPlaySpace to his friends he immediately said it was a really cool place where everything makes you say “How did they do that?” and that “It’s really, really, really, fun!”
This is the fifth year for this award-winning exhibition designed with kids and families in mind. It’s an interactive playground full of hands-on installations that fuels creativity and imagination. This year, there are 25 different activities from nine different countries curated by the team at TIFF and created by artists, designers, education experts, story tellers and yes, coders, available to discover for explore for all ages. digiPlaySpace is an annual exhibition featuring new works housed on the main floor of the TIFF Bell Lightbox building in downtown Toronto and runs until April 24, 2016.
“We’ve truly searched the world for the kind of content that speaks to kids best and best reflects to the kind of technology that’s out there and really, just fun to play and beautiful to see,” said Nick Pagee, Curator. “It’s really exciting to see all these creative people using technology…it’s not just about film and animation anymore, it’s a whole explosion of different mediums.”
Here kids can discover areas of virtual reality, augmented reality, video games, apps, as well as experience stop motion, green screen technology, visit the maker lab and much more.
There are tons for all ages starting with tots and go straight to teens. Here are just a few highlights that we loved…
Happy Hockey: (Germany) located in the main lobby of the TIFF Bell Lightbox, connect your mobile device to the designated game WiFi for free and join in a multi-palyer hockey video game projected on the atrium wall. Anyone can join in and it’s lots of fun!
Flippaper: (France) The boys spent a lot of time here designing their dream retro style arcade pinball game on a piece of paper. Special coloured markers indicated what level and tool can be used. Then, it’s projected on a large scale pinball machine to be played.Monster Mingle: (UK) players can build their own friendly monster with this creative app discovering fun creatures and play in a magical kingdom full of surprises.
Sago Mini Trucks and Diggers + Build-a-House Activity: (Canada) the highly popular game developer’s newest app had my nephew loving the virtual dirt-moving machines and constructing buildings. Then, the activity continues as kids can play offline where they build and decorate a cardboard Sago Mini house of their own.
Thymio Robot Playground: (Switzerland) a bunch of small robots give kids the opportunity to learn the basics of how programming works as they crawl along the floor. Different gestures and push of a few buttons can show how kids can control the behaviour of the robot.TheBluVR: (USA) older kids can strap on Samsung’s latest innovation, the GearVR headset, and dive deep into the Arctic waters. This rich experience in virtual reality explores the stunning habitat of ocean creatures in their own habitat. Another incredible virtual experience here is “Art Alive VR: Aeroplane” that offers a close look at the works of Inuit artist Pudlo Pudlat. Viewers are placed in the centre of his living artwork.
Augmented Reality Sandbox: (USA/Canada) dig, sift and build with real sand to create a topographic environment augmented in real-time by an elevation map, contour lines and simulated water. This teaches kids about geography, the meaning of contour lines and reading a topography map. The Kinetic Sand won’t get messy either.LOLympics: (Canada) the fine-arts team is back with a great demonstration of how stop-motion technology works. Kids can choose from a selection of fun sports like speed skating, basketball, and football. Then a series of guided poses are captured by the computer then quickly put together to create a short film that will leave you LOLing for sure! We strongly recommend the football victory dance.
Plan your day! There are many more fun installations worth exploring and yes, they are open for March Break. We would recommend at least an hour or two to visit here. You may also want to check out what movies are screening at TIFF during March Break as they will feature works popular titles by DreamWorks Animation including Shrek, Madagascar, How to Train Your Dragon, Bee Movie and many more. Popcorn stand is located on the second level as well as two restaurants on site. Visit www.tiff.net for more details.