SAVE THE DATE: April 25 Genius of Play Event at the Smithsonian Museum

April 10, 2018 | Toy and play professionals are invited to attend a special panel at the Smithsonian National Museum of American History on April 25 in Washington, DC. Open to the public, “Fostering Innovation and Creativity through Play” will explore how play serves as a catalyst for creativity and innovation.

Hosted by The Toy Association and its Genius of Play initiative, experts in the education and tech fields will discuss the relationship between play, creativity, and invention.  Each panelist will share their experiences in the world of invention and creativity and insights into what supports innovative thinking.

Speakers include:

  • James McLurkin, a senior hardware engineer at Google;
  • Jeri Robinson, vice president of early childhood initiatives at the Boston Children’s Museum;
  • Molly James, a kindergarten teacher at Kent Place School in Summit, NJ; and
  • Vikas Gupta, co-founder and CEO of Wonder Workshop, an education and robotics startup in Silicon Valley that teaches kids to code.
  • The panel will be moderated by Monica Smith, head of exhibitions and interpretation for the Smithsonian’s Lemelson Center.

“We are delighted to host this panel with the Smithsonian to explore how play contributes to creativity and helps kids find innovative solutions when faced with challenges,” said Ken Seiter, The Toy Association’s executive vice president of marketing communications. “Learning these skills at an early age is essential to raising smarter, happier children who go on to be successful adults.”

The event is also an opportunity for policymakers to better understand the need for play at school. The Toy Association has invited members of Congress, congressional staff, and staff at the Department of Education to attend the panel.

The panel will take place from 6:45 to 8 p.m. followed by a closing reception and tour of the Smithsonian’s Spark!Lab from 8 to 8:45 p.m.

Toy industry professionals interested in attending may RSVP to Jackie Retzer, The Toy Association’s assistant marketing manager.

“Fostering Innovation and Creativity through Play” is part of the Smithsonian Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention and Innovation’s Innovative Lives series, which gives participants the opportunity to engage in a public conversation with diverse inventors, innovators, and entrepreneurs about their pioneering work and careers.