Category Archives: Just for Fun!

Josh and his minions!

Is that a monkey on your desk?!

Last week I shared this photo of Josh, our Product Designer known for his lifelong love of comics and (surprise surprise) TOYS! Josh’s office is fun to visit for many reasons, but his impressive collection of desk toys ranks right up there!

Josh 300x225 Is that a monkey on your desk?!

Josh and his desk minions

Fans loved this glimpse behind the scenes, so I thought it’d be fun to share some other playful shots of desks around the office… enjoy!

Do you have any special toys or keepsakes at your desk? Please share!

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TED Talk Friday: An imaginary artist and children’s champion

July’s TED Talk Friday featured two hugely inspirational speakers in two very different arenas.

First up: Shea Hembry’s 2011 TED Talk ““How I Became 100 Artists” – this incredibly creative artist shared his journey to create and stage an international art show with work from 100 different artists… the only catch? he invented all of the artists and artwork himself — from large-scale outdoor installations to tiny paintings drawn with a single-haired brush!

This amazing talk is quite funny at times and shows Hembry’s incredibly creative mind, artistic range – visual storytelling at its finest!

Next up, Rita Pierson’s inspiring 2013 talk, “Every Kid Needs a Champion.”

She talks about the importance of showing our students respect, to apologizing for mistakes, and to remembering, quite simply, that “Kids don’t learn from people they don’t like.”

I get goosebumps hearing Pierson speak from her heart, saying “Every child deserves a champion — an adult who will never give up on them, who understands the power of connection, and insists that they become the best that they can possibly be.”  Very sadly, Rita passed away last month – this talk is a beautiful reminder of the legacy she left behind – inspiring countless students and educators to become champions.

Who was your favorite teacher growing up?

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Hot Dogs… ThinkFun-style

Last week, a group of ThinkFunners sat around the lunch table talking about (surprise surprise…) their lunches! A fantastic conversation evolved, with folks sharing special foods they had grown up with and unusual taste combinations each preferred. Talk soon turned to condiments… and then to Hot Dogs!

Bar Hot Dogs... ThinkFun style

As people shared their toppings of choice, jaws dropped when Juan and Nic (both from Colombia) described the traditional “perro caliente,” a dog loaded with mayo, potato chips, pineapple salsa, cheese… even quail eggs!

Colombian 300x300 Hot Dogs... ThinkFun style

Juan shows off an expertly-made perro caliente!

A Hot Dog Feast was in order… and this afternoon was nothing short of spectacular! In addition to the accoutrements for Colombian hot dogs, employees shared their condiments of choice from their own traditions.

Leave it to our Design Team to make such lovely – and informative – signage for the feast! We feasted on dogs smothered in beans, sauerkraut, chili, and LOTS of pickles!

condiments 300x300 Hot Dogs... ThinkFun style

For more photos of our delicious lunch, click hereHow do YOU eat a hot dog?!

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The Purse Packrat… games to go!

As anyone who knows me and my obscenely large purse can attest, I am rarely without supplies for any given situation.

This was on display a few weeks ago, when I beat out dozens of ladies and “won” a bridal shower purse scavenger hunt. One by one items were called out (safety pins? check. eyedrops? check. lip balm? I found 3… check, check, check) and so it went, until I ended up with a mountain of things… and a victory!

WordARound at C2MTL The Purse Packrat... games to go!

Party games aside, my slight hoarding tendencies have served me particularly well when it comes to the games I always have lurking in my bag. Ready to play at a moment’s notice, I’ve whipped out games in all sorts of situations – and my recent trip to the C2-MTL Conference reinforced why this extra baggage is totally worth the shoulder stress.

I stashed a stack of cards from our new WordARound game – and aside from my umbrella (the Montreal rain is no joke!), these cards proved to be one of my smartest accessories. Between talks from incredible business innovators like Diane Von Furstenberg and Sir Richard Branson, new friends had a blast getting in a quick mental workout in the form of game play.

Do you travel with games at-the-ready? Any fun stories or tips to share about spontaneous play?

 

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TED Talk Friday: Hearing color, confronting bullying

For Friday’s TED Talk screening, we began with a great talk suggested by one of our designers. In his 2012 talk at TEDGlobal, color blind artist Neil Harbisson introduced the audience to an amazing device that allows him to HEAR color!

In his talk, “I listen to color,” Harbisson encouraged us all to be more like cyborgs, and we were left intrigued to “hear” how our own faces would sound.

We then watched my favorite talk from 2013 – spoken word poet Shane Koyczan’s “To this day,” for the bullied and beautiful.

As I shared in my post-conference review, this particular talk brought the TEDActive audience to tears – and to their feet. It generated some very powerful responses among our ThinkFun group too – from a discussion on cyber bullying to personal reflections on our own childhood to the impact that bullying has not only on the “bully” and the “bullied,” but to bystanders who feel powerless to intervene. Many parents also shared changes they’ve seen in their children’s school experience due to heightened awareness.

I’d love to hear your reactions to either of these talks in the comments below!

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TED Talk Fridays kick off at ThinkFun: Education and Introverts

Coming off the heels of yet another incredible TEDActive experience, I wanted to find a way to bring some of the TED magic back to the office. Last month, I instituted TED Talk Fridays here at ThinkFun, and the response was fantastic!

ted logo TED Talk Fridays kick off at ThinkFun: Education and Introverts

The format is super simple and agenda-less – I wanted this to be an informal time to gather and get inspired by new ideas. The conversations that organically bubbled up in response to the talks were far more powerful than any prompt I could have planned.

We started off with – who else – the amazing Sir Ken Robinson and his epic 2006 talk on How Schools Kill Creativity. With over 16 million views, this seemed a safe place to begin, and it generated some fantastic discussion about our own school experiences and the directions we may have gone if the system allowed for more creative exploration.

Next up was Susan Cain, speaking in 2012 about the Power of Introverts.

Interested in watching along with us? As our TED Talk Fridays continue, I’ll post links to the 2 videos we watch and will look forward to you joining us virtually – please share your comments or any ideas these videos spark!

Fuel your day the ThinkFun way!

Apparently ThinkFun fans love their coffee as much as they love their games!

After I shared this photo on Facebook Monday morning, several folks chimed in right away to let us know they’d also love to start their day with a ThinkFun-fueled smile!  Always happy to support our caffeine-loving fans, I’ve set up a giveaway so you can win your very own mug – click here to enter! (starts midnight 5/14 – 5/16)

ThinkFun Mugs1 300x300 Fuel your day the ThinkFun way!

Monday mornings are a lot perkier since our fun new mugs arrived!

And on a related note, I’ve also started an Instagram account for ThinkFun, featuring more “inside our world” photos from around the office and events we attend. Please follow us at ThinkFunGames!

How do you wake your brain up in the morning? Does your secret weapon come in a mug or another form?!

Childhood unplugged! Celebrate Screen-Free Week

 Childhood unplugged! Celebrate Screen Free Week

While I spent many pre-adolescent hours claiming otherwise, I now feel incredibly lucky to have grown up in an almost entirely screen-free home.  As I shared in this post on Mr. Rogers, I enjoyed a magical 30-minutes-a-day of PBS during my preschool years, but after that, our little black box stayed off through high school.

The lack of screens in my childhood is a bit ironic when you figure my father was one of the very first Computer Science PhDs – but fun computer time in the 80’s meant either a game of Pong or learning to program the Logo turtle to walk in a line – both thrilling, but certainly nowhere near the all-consuming appeal of today’s computer offerings for kids.

While there is certainly loads of fantastic digital content available to kids today and quality educational brain snacks served up on a screen, I strongly believe that time spent away from the glass is critical for healthy development.  I’ve blogged before about the beauty of allowing – and encouraging kids to be BORED – and the amazing things that can emerge when left to their own devices to create, innovate, and stretch to find new ways to entertain themselves.

SFW logo with 2013 date 0 Childhood unplugged! Celebrate Screen Free Week

I’m so thrilled to celebrate Screen-Free Week this week.  This annual national celebration encourages children, families, schools, and communities to turn off TV, video games, computers, and hand-held devices – and turn on life. Instead of relying on screens for entertainment, they play, read, daydream, explore nature, and enjoy spending time with family and friends.

Check out this Pinterest board for loads of fun ideas for games and crafts you and your family can create together – and learn while you’re laughing!

7f46dd1e5564f32553f7198f6a1e8dcb Childhood unplugged! Celebrate Screen Free Week

Source: Childhood Beckons

Whether playing outdoors, writing the next great novel, or planning a family game night, there are loads of creative ways to make screen-free time enriching and fun for the whole family!  I would love to hear your creative ideas… Want to get involved? For a listing of Screen-Free Week activities in your community, click here!

I’d love to hear your ideas – how will your family celebrate?! (please post – then kiss your screen goodnight and go play!)

 

Giant Rush Hour featured in a new Museum of Play exhibit!

We are so excited to celebrate the grand opening of a new exhibit at the Strong National Museum of Play!  The permanent Game Time exhibit, which opened April 13th, features 4,200 square feet of interactive PLAY experiences for the whole family! 

Featured among the fantastic game experiences is ThinkFun’s Rush Hour – as you’ve never seen it before!

SMP GT 2098 Giant Rush Hour featured in a new Museum of Play exhibit!

I love the way this cleverly-designed exhibit encourages the whole family to engage in game play together – particularly wonderful with a game like Rush Hour that is typically played solo.

An exhibit designer at The Strong shared some additional photos of this installation before it opened. Rush Hour seems very comfortable in the limelight, we think she has never looked so lovely!

More on the Game Time exhibit from the Strong’s website:

Your turn! Move like a piece on a giant game board through three centuries of American games, puzzles, and public amusements at Game Time! an original permanent exhibit on the second floor of the National Museum of Play® at The Strong. Feast your eyes on oversized toy props, see rare historic treasures from The Strong’s game and puzzle collections, and jump right in for active hands-on family fun.

The Strong is located in Rochester, NY – if you live in the area or are planning a trip soon, I encourage you to check out the fun. Personally, I think a road trip is in order!

Easter PSA: Save chocolate bunnies, buy toys instead!

bunny Easter PSA: Save chocolate bunnies, buy toys instead!

Mattel’s clever “Save the Bunny” campaign this month features celebrities sharing the plight of the dwindling chocolate bunny population.  These earnest spokespeople urge the public to protect this endangered species by filling their Easter baskets with TOYS instead!

Still stocking up your Easter baskets for the weekend? Consider adding some quality “brain candy” in the form of games and puzzles for some sugar-free fun.  Do it for your loved ones – and, perhaps more importantly, for the chocolate bunnies.  As one celeb reminds us, “their little chocolate lives are in your hands!”

Capture Easter PSA: Save chocolate bunnies, buy toys instead!

Need some inspiration? Check out my Pinterest board with lot of creative ideas – both sugary and non – for a fun-filled holiday!