Toyologist Shows Off the Best & Newest Toys…

We were thrilled with The Village Toy Shop’s Kirsten Anderson featured Spark games on Global TV.
Watch it here (we start around 2:19 minutes in!)

Colouring Outside the Lines

You may have known that Spark Your Imagination is mom-made-in-BC.

But, did you also know that the illustrations featured in the SUPER Story Starters and Story Starters DRAW were created by BC moms too?

These talented BC mom-illustrators worked on Spark at the crack of dawn and during nap times.  And we are so thankful for their fun contributions to the games!

Alissa Staples

Alissa Staples is an illustrator and mother of two girls, Sophie (4) and Abigail (10 months).  She has loved drawing since she could hold a crayon, so now loves creating pictures that inspire kids to do the same.  Besides illustrating, she also loves to run, crochet, and make cute bento lunches for her kids. Alissa, her husband Ben and their two girls live in North Vancouver, BC.
Alissa loves playing Story Starters with her family and delights in finding the Spark products on display at local stores.  She is so proud to watch Spark grow!

Website:  www.alissastaples.com

Suzy Beattie
Suzy Beattie is an artist and an illustrator and the mother of Bella (5).  She has been creating art since she could hold a pencil. “It’s my most favourite thing to do.  When I was 3, I drew fishes all over the oceans in my Dad’s world atlas. Thankfully, my parents let me off easy and began gifting me art supplies as often as possible (thank you).”

She moved to BC from Glasgow in 2003 and is now making the adjustment to good old-fashioned country living at Paul Lake (just outside Kamloops) with her husband Jason and their daughter.
Suzy enjoyed working on Spark Your Imagination games because the focus is on freedom of imagination.
Website: http://suzybartistandillustrator.blogspot.com/

Spark Your Imagination has earned the coveted Parent Tested Parent Approved (PTPA) Seal of Approval

January 24 (KAMLOOPS) Spark Your Imagination Ventures Inc. is excited to announce that its mom-made in Canada Spark Story Starters have been awarded the Parent Tested Parent Approved Winner’s Seal of Approval.

PTPA Media has North America’s largest volunteer parent testing community, with over 40,000 parents.

Spark Your Imagination™ was among many entries from across North America competing to earn the PTPA™ Seal. Because independent parent volunteers evaluate these products in their own homes, PTPA winners are chosen based on merit and consumer experience – not on commercial considerations.

Spark Story Starters were born at our family dinner table as a way to engage our kids, so there could be no better accolades for what we have created than one from families and kids. Thank you for this honour!

Celebrating the 12 Days of Christmas

Yesterday a friend shared how her family would mark the 12 days of Christmas.  She will wrap 11 of their family Christmas books.  Her son will be given one to open each day from December 13th to 23rd (and they will read it together). On the 24th she will give him a new Christmas book and it will join the line-up for next year.

The first 11 books are ones that have already been read and enjoyed together. Each will be familiar and will bring with it the good feelings associated with Christmases past.  Yet each will seem new again after being tucked away for 365 days (and through the eyes of a child one year older).

I can’t resist giving this a try in our home.  I have pulled out the books to present to our boys.  There’s the classic Polar Express, A Magical Christmas which is a new favourite, and a few books from my own childhood such as Christmas Time at Santa’s Workshop.  And I won’t forget the Christmas book that spans all ages and generations; How The Grinch Stole Christmas!

As for our first of the twelve nights? It was meltdown city here. The kids are ready for a break from school, our nights are getting later as we slacken in preparation for the holidays and emotions are running high in classic December-style.  It was a bust.  We’ll try again tomorrow night.  Ours will be the 11 days of Christmas.

Books are fuel for the imagination. And can’t we all use a little extra fuel right about now?

Thanks for the brilliant idea Dione.

If you have a Christmas book to recommend we’d love to hear about it!

~ posted by Tamara

 

Spark! App re-launched

Spark! App
Based on your feedback, we added some new features!

Fun NEW Features:

  1. Now with a French option (with English subtitles or without)
  2. Ability to create your own question to add to your set
  3. New options on how to change the card (swipe or tap Spark, along with the original shake – on iPhone)
  4. Ability to email a question to a friend
  5. Option to email your question into Spark (for possible publication in future sets!)

If you already have the App, simply download the update to enjoy the new features.

We would love to know what you think!  And, we would really love if you would share a review on iTunes (all of our reviews were wiped out when we uploaded the upgrade!)

If you don’t have it, but would like to purchase it, search Spark! (for iPhone) or Spark! HD (for iPad)

Fun App Fact… Spark! has been downloaded in more than 44 countries!

Spark wins Business Excellence Award

We are very honoured to have received a 2011 Kamloops Chamber of Commerce Business Excellence Award.  Kamloops is a wonderful place to grow a business.  It is full of mentors and cheerleaders.

We are thankful for the support we have received across Canada from our retailers, customers, family and friends.  We look forward to continuing to help fuel imaginations as we move into 2012!

Call in the Paint


Call in the paint. And now for the fun part. Take a walk through your home and pull a few things that you use everyday into the mix. Maybe a potato masher? Chopsticks from your last take-out meal? A toothbrush on its last legs? Here are a just a few things you can use in place of a paint brush:

 Grab some napkin rings. Roll each of several napkin rings through a different colour of paint. Next, get out a piece of paper (any size will do, including today’s newspaper). Now, you guessed it, rock n’ roll. Some kids make rainbows. Some kids mix and roll and mix and roll until they have that colour-of-brown-that-only-kids-can-make.

 Pull up a floor vent. The Inuit artists of Cape Dorset create one-of-a-kind prints with cut stone. Why not paint the surface of your floor vent and use it to create a modern day stone cut print? The same vent can be used again and again with different colours of paint. Or you can try a blend of colours on one vent.

 Scoop that muffin tin. You could use each muffin hole for a different colour of paint (leaving a few open for creative mixing). Or, you could paint each of the bottoms a different colour, press on a sheet of paper and use the finished product for a game of twister for dolls? Transformers? Or, the multitude of circles could become planets in an all-new solar system. Add a name to each (great printing practice) and they become place markers for tonight’s dinner.

 Roll out the marbles (or golf balls). Put out a few different colours of paint (the muffin tin comes handy here!) and roll each marble/golf ball in a different colour. Put a piece of paper at the bottom of a tupperware or rubbermaid bin (for very enthusiastic kids put that lid on). Now chuck those marbles in and roll them around. If you roll for a while you end up with a rainbow of colours.

 Fork over an old map. You know, the one from a trip you took before having kids that you hang onto as a reminder of that last bastion of freedom. Fork it over or walk the plank. It has been absconded by pirates. With an X, some skulls & crossbones and dotted lines it will take on a new life. Encourage your artist to come up with some names like Skeleton Island, Skull Beach and Crocodile Crossing. Tear off the edges to make it even more realistic and roll it up and tie it with a ribbon when you are done.

 Just when you thought you’d never hear the words, “Honey, where did you put the floor vent?!”…

Hallowe’en costume scramble – a water noodle…or is it?!

With a six year-old Spark goblin having last-minute reservations about being a muskrat for Hallowe’en, we are using a variation of a SUPER Story Starters question as fodder for costume ideas. We have six lonely water noodles in our garage.  So, “What could you use a water noodle for in a Hallowe’en costume?”

We put the question out to the Spark Your Imagination Facebook fans and added their fantastically creative ideas to this growing list…. (a big thanks for your additions!)

  • a broom (perfect for the Potters out there) – add some twigs & twine to one end
  • a bowl of Spaghetti – with some tomato sauce?
  • a dinosaur tail
  • a pirate’s peg leg
  • a worm… or a whole can of them!
  • legs for a spider or ladybug
  • a balance beam for a tight rope walker
  • a breathing tube for an astronaut (bring up that ski helmet & put a box on his or her back to attached ‘airpipe’ to)
  • a fire fighter hose – the only other thing you need is a hat to complete the costume!
  • a unicorn horn
  • a light sabre for Hans Solo (ah, but soft)
  • tail spikes for a dragon or dinosaur
  • cut up into sea urchin spikes
  • cut up into logs for a lumberjack (and not too heavy!)
  • a snake
  • an extra arm for any costume … very ghoulish!
  • padding for your football or hockey player
  • Whimpy Kid hair
  • octapus arms
  • a bouquet (with flowers made from colourful gift tissue topping the noodles)
  • a bunch of asparagus (circling your body with a ribbon tied to keep it all together)

Do you have any ideas to add?  We’d love to hear them! Please comment below or post on www.Facebook.com/SparkYourImagination.

Painter’s Tape… without the paint

We presented “Re-purposing for Playtime” at the Vancouver Island Baby Fair mainstage this weekend. We hopped on one foot, ran with checker pieces between our knees and jumped up and down holding a muffin tin. All for the love of re-purposing.

 

This is the first blog post in a series about ways to incorporate 50 common household items into play.

Today, it’s all about painter’s tape:

– Over, under, around. Tables, chairs, couches. Then, bring on the hot wheels cars!

– Start with a circle. End with a hexagon. Create shapes big enough to stand in on your carpet (or driveway) and On your mark, get set… octagon! A fun way for toddlers to learn shapes.

– As we move into fall, play indoor hopscotch.

– Pop the tape into your glove compartment or backpack and set up anobstacle course anywhere. If the tape balance beam, two-foot circle hop and go-backwards zig zag are too easy for you, try it with your arms taped to your sides.

– Create a life-sized board game in one room or all around your home (and you become the play pieces). Use a die and work on counting. Brainstorm together on unexpected pit stops.

– A must for any spy or police kit. Tape off the crime scene and outline the evidence.

– Play house (in either life-size or doll-size) with a taped floor plan. Walls, chairs and even stylish pillows come to life with the sticky stuff.- A tape cast is the answer for anything from a stuffie sprain to a full-body doll cast. Add it to your pint-sized doctor’s kit.

Anything to add to this list? We’d love to hear from you! Please post your ideas (and/or the ideas of your kids) and we’ll add them to our list.

Next stop? vent covers.

Re-purposing for Creativity and Play

“Imagination is more important that knowledge”  – Albert Einstein

We’re not Einstein, but we definitely have some ideas to share with you about fun and unusual ways to use 50 common household items, from napkin rings to potato mashers, vent covers to golf tees.

Sir Ken RobinsonEach week, we’ll be posting a few household items and some interesting ways to use them.  We hope you’ll also share what your own family comes up with when you ask the 3 questions…

#1. What else could you do with “X”
#2. What else could you use in place of “X”
#3. How could you make “X” better?

Welcome to the world of re-purposing,  where you find other uses for an item than what was originally intended. We are passionate about using it in play to help spark the imagination of your children and inspire creativity.

Because the future needs our creative kids.

But according to international speaker and author Sir Ken Robinson, that’s not the path we are laying for our children (see video below).

What do YOU think?

Share this with a friend, and let’s get the conversation started!