"What do you do with your imagination?"

At Active Imagination events, kids are encouraged to play out the vivid contents of their imaginations using play acting, animation, costumes, props, model-making, creative movement, storytelling, and film-making. Unlike many programs that introduce children to hands-on visual arts and digital media, Active Imagination focuses on interactive group activities and inspires kids to use pretend play and technical problem-solving as a means of making friends and building self-esteem.
KID TRANSLATION: "The stuff we do is AWESOME!"

AI offers families a supportive environment for your children to play, express themselves, and build lasting relationships.

Current & Up-coming programs:

Current & Up-Coming Programs:

CIIS-EXA alumni meet-up
Sat. 5/11, 10am - 1pm
- reunion of graduates of the Expressive Arts program at CIIS.
Family welcome; great opportunity to re-connect, meet new folks, network & play

Kid-powered hands-on activities, like obstacle courses, toy re-construction, & storytelling, selected days/times after school and during breaks

COMING SOON: Family Movie Matinees
Screenings of family-friendly and homemade movies in the driveway
Please contact Phil via email or phone for details:
(415) 939-4743

Sunday, August 21, 2011

NEW: "AI" Birthday Parties!

New to the Active Imagination menu of options: Birthday Parties!

Today's inaugural birthday party was AWESOME!

Responding to the hosting family's invite, over a dozen boys dressed in their favorite super hero costumes gathered in the park. The Active Imagination team took it from there, offering additional costume items and leading an introductory meeting, where the birthday boy - playing a Sheriff - deputized everyone and described the villain who's been terrorizing the town, the evil Balactic Bandit. Then, Grant, AI's newest team member (WELCOME, Grant!), led a series of high-energy training exercises to hone our heroes' super-speed, super-voices, and super-teamwork. There were many moments of sheer delight during these games, and with Grant's excellent way with the boys, I was able to step back and enjoy the incredible play - I'll never forget the "Sonic Yell," both visible and invisible versions. Wild! Next, the group went to the picnic tables where I'd set up a robotic arm/wrist rocket-making laboratory, and everyone added a unique version to their costume. Finally, it came time to put it all together into a live-action story where the heroes, under the leadership of Sheriff Adon, brought the Balactic Bandit to justice. This was no easy feat as the Bandit had a number of tricks up his sleeve, including kidnapping Iron Man first and then the Sheriff himself. Or when the group's headquarters turned out to be booby-trapped. In the end, our heroes saved the day when they caught the Bandit in his own trap, rescued the Sheriff, and took possession of the stolen Plasma Orb. HOORAY!!!

Enjoy these photos, courtesy of Chris Ereneta & Linda Owczarz (Thanks, friends):
Grant readies the team for Dr. Freeze's Tag Game
Iron Man & Bat Man attack Dr. Freeze
Working together to flip the Plasma Platform
& TO THE LAB!...

Fitting a wrist-rocket

Phil with Iron Man-style robo-arm

The Balactic Bandit Strikes! He steals the Plasma Orb.
Our heroes chase after the Bandit

The Bandit's captured!

Imprisoned in his own trap, the Balactic Bandit can do no more evil. The End.
Thank You, Sheriff Adon!

The tasks seemed to engage the group on a variety of levels, allowing for a range of strengths, challenges, and teachable moments. Of course, much gratitude to all the adults who supported each boy through the action, especially those who jumped in to help with the wrist-rockets. TREMENDOUS THANKS to the hosting family for paving the way for more Active Imagination venues! In addition to the smiles and expressions of pure joy, several boys told me they loved the activities and enjoyed the story. Many boys continued to play with each other, acting out their own stories and practicing with their wrist rockets long after Grant and I'd packed up -- that's the kind of reaction we hope for.

For information about birthdays or other custom events, don't hesitate to call (415) 939-4743 or email:

Next SATURDAY WORKSHOP: 9/24, 10am - noon@Glitter & Razz, Rockridge ($25/child)
Theme - "Back-to-Super-School!"

1 comment:

  1. I was very excited to have this birthday party with you, Phil!
    The best parts were the Dr. Freeze tag and also when me and my friends defeated the Balactic Bandit. I felt like 'Hero of the World'.
    Thanks for making this my favorite birthday party ever!
    - Adrian