interactive playpen

party like a blockstar. sxsw 2008 - march 7 - 16.

Ship of Fools

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ship of fools I
Originally uploaded by whatnot
Great depth of field on this shot! By the end of the conference, the ledges around the edge of the Playpen are always lined with fun creations.

I'll keep watch on photos tagged with <a href="">interactiveplaypen</a> over the course of the conference, and I'll share more of my favorite shots here. Enjoy!

In a Sea of Bricks

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The colored Legos certainly brighten up the corner of the gray conference center. And what a weird blend of bricks - we always have an odd mix of shapes, niche surplus accessory bricks from odd kits that are fun and challenging to use.

Man. I'm not attending SXSW this year, and going through all this photos has me feeling a bit sad ;-)

Vanity Posting As we get ready for this year's conference, I'll be highlighting some favorite Playpen photos from 2008. Austin Music Monthly just published this photo from Steve Hopson in their latest issue. Nothing like aerial shots taken from high up on the escalators!

2008: New playpen, new website!

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Welcome to Interactive Playpen 2008! We'll be fiddling with the site a bit more to make sure everything is working. Please leave feedback here if you notice anything strange.

This year we've got a fresh batch of Legos and a new twist: if you'd like a little competition, tag your photos to submit your entry into one of our 10 categories. Once the conference is over we'll choose winners based on community feedback. OMG, FREE T-SHIRTS.

Can anyone think of other categories we should include this year? We want to get people building and collaborating.

Raising Funds for Fun

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The ethusiasm for the playpen this year has been even bigger than last year. We've been glad to see more kids of all ages enjoying the toys. Keep uploading and tagging those great photos!

Lego wasn't able to donate as many toys this year, so I hit up a department store on Saturday to buy a couple hundred dollars worth of games, toys, and crafty art supplies. Can you spare a few bucks to help cover the costs? We're going to keep the playpen open throughout the entire conference, and we're looking forward to kicking things into a higher gear next year. Thanks, and make sure to draw a picture or play Connect Four!

The Playpen Is Back

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Hello! We're pleased to announce that the Interactive Playpen will be returning for SXSW 2007. We had a fantastic response last year, so we're going to give it another go and find some new ways to make things fun and interesting. And in honor of a fresh batch of toys, we've given this site a fresh new look.

Last year's Lego creations included a SXSW logo, a tall tower of red, those dastardly snakes on a plane, the giant 8-bit looking monster and the ever-popular million spider-man march. In part, our creativity was driven by the limitations of the bricks provided (what else can you do with a million spider men?) so we'll see what the new batches of bricks bring us.

Any ideas how we can make things even more interesting? Casual, asynchronous competition? A white board where people can leave notes and suggest construction challenges? A few board games? Let's see what we can come up with.

Keep on Building!

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Thanks to everyone who has made the playpen a success during the past several days! We're going to keep the area open through the music portion of the conference, so you (and your kids) can keep right on playing.

All sorts of cool projects and structures are lining the windowsills around the playpen area, and a lot fo them have been very well documented, so don't be afraid to take some apart and start building anew. Keep those photos coming!

Donating the Toys

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Once the conference wraps up, we plan to give the toys purchased through the fundraising campaign to a local children's related charity. If you have suggestions for a group or organization we should contact, please post a comment. Perhaps there's a non-profit daycare center that could make good use of the already opened toys?

The plan is to drop off the toys late afternoon or early evening on Tuesday, March 14th or early morning on Wednesday, March 15th. If you would like to help us transport the toys to their new home, please let us know.

We Need More Toys!

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Thanks to everyone for your enthusiasm and excitement - I think the Playpen is going to be a really fun asset to the conference this year.

So in order to make the booth as fun as possible, we encourage you to bring your favorite toys to share with other people. I'm trying to track down some Construx, a plastic modular building kit I played with as a kid. Any other suggestions?

If you don't have anything to bring, why not give us a small donation? We're not organized or financed by SXSW, but we want to make sure we have enough fun to go around. Thanks for your help!

Mindstorming Playpen Ideas

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This site has launched! You may see a blank screen after submitting a comment, though it still went through okay. Trying to sort that out.

A small room full of Legos and other toys should be fun in itself, but I bet we can make it more interesting. Should we add challenges to build specific objects or structures? Contests for the best creations? We'll be adding a Flickr feed here to share all photos tagged with interactive playpen or iaplaypen. Perhaps the SXSW community at large could judge photos of creations uploaded there?

If you have ideas to share or would like to suggest your favorite modular toy, leave us a comment!