As kids get older, it can be hard to find fun places to go as a family that will capture their imagination. The annual digiPlaySpace exhibition at TIFF Bell Lightbox in Toronto is one of those rare finds that will do just that, and put a smile on everyone’s face.
Showcasing the latest technology from around the world, digiPlaySpace combines interactive play and learning in a cool environment that kids (and adults) love.
This is the 5th year of digiPlaySpace, and each year the exhibition gets bigger and better. The 2016 digiPlaySpace exhibition features 25 interactive installations, with activities that include programming robots, swimming with killer whales underwater in a Virtual Reality experience, designing your own video game and playing hockey on a giant screen using your cell phone.
Some of my favourite things at this year’s digiPlaySpace were:
Flippaper – Draw your own pinball video game and then play it. Using coloured paint markers that each make the ball do something different, kids can use their creativity to design their own fun game. When they’re finished, the paper gets inserted into the Flippaper machine and they get to play the game they designed. How cool is that?
LOLympics – Stand in front of a screen in different poses, and then watch yourself become an athletic superstar in a variety of different sports. (Soccer mom takes on a whole new meaning!)
The Blue VR Encounter – Strap on Samsung’s innovative GearVR headset and find yourself exploring a gorgeous underwater world that lets you view Arctic Ocean creatures in their natural habitat through virtual reality. What you see on the screen is nothing like what your virtual reality experience, so be sure to give this one a try! (Note: this experience is restricted to kids and adults age 13 and over.)
Elements – An interactive activity where participants embody one of the four elements: earth, air, fire or water. Through movement, kids bring these elements to life in a colourful and playful ever-changing display on the big screen in front of them.
While the activities in digiPlaySpace are incredibly fun to experience on their own, be sure to spend some time chatting with the helpful people at the different installations, to get an understanding of the technology behind the scenes. We were surprised to find out that the technology behind some of the installations was powered by familiar items like Xbox Kinect or Samsung’s latest smart phone, like the Augmented Reality Sandbox, which provides a hands-on lesson about topographical maps.
digiPlaySpace runs from March 5 to April 24, 2016. Admission is $10 per person, or free for TIFF members.
You can also take advantage of a TIFF movie and digiPlaySpace combo for only $15 for kids and $20 for adults. A combo ticket includes entrance to digiPlaySpace and a family film at any of the following:
- Treasures from Dreamworks Animation (during March Break)
- TIFF Kids Classics (Saturday mornings & TDSB PA Days until April 2)
- TIFF Kids Good Friday or Easter Monday screenings
- TIFF Kids Film Festival (April 8-24)
So, if you’re looking for something fun and unique to do with your family this spring, be sure to check out digiPlaySpace!
About Kathy Sima
Kathy is a blogger and freelance writer and mom of two teens who gave up her career as a financial advisor when her son was diagnosed with autism at age 3. When it comes to parenting, Kathy truly believes there is strength in numbers and knows that sharing stories and strategies with other parents has helped keep her sane (so far!)