Destination ImagiNation, a meeting of Rockford minds

Destination ImagiNation shows “kid power” at its best through instant and team challenges in its successful second year at Rockford Community Education.

Destination ImagiNation allows small groups of students to work together to solve problems creatively, use innovative negotiation strategies and work together to create amazing structures, plays and solutions to complex puzzles. Destination ImagiNation is truly a “meeting of the minds” and encourages teamwork and creative problem solving beyond the classroom experience.

Rockford Destination ImagiNation students, Ethan Barrows and Sam Rhodes, collaborate to determine the best solution to an Instant Challenge.
Rockford Destination ImagiNation students, Ethan Barrows and Sam Rhodes, collaborate to determine the best solution to an Instant Challenge.

Destination ImagiNation (DI) is structured around the concept of teamwork and creative problem solving. During a typical DI season, teams of up to seven work on a central Team Challenge, and also work on smaller “instant challenges” throughout the season. Instant challenges usually involve using everyday supplies and materials such as ping pong balls, string, paper tubes, paper clips, newspaper and popsicle sticks to create structures or enhance creative plays or solutions the students create themselves. Adult support is provided by the team manager, but students are encouraged to problem solve on their own and work together to reach the best possible solutions to creative questions. The DI team manager guides the students by providing creative ways to solve problems, providing scaffolding for each student to perform their best in a team setting. Students learn confidence, creative problem solving, team brainstorming strategies and negotiation skills. Students also have a lot of fun in the process!

“Destination ImagiNation allows my son to think creatively and use his imagination to solve complex challenges. He has learned important lessons about teamwork and respecting the ideas of others. As a team manager, it is very rewarding to witness students growing in their abilities to relay ideas effectively and cooperate at a team. Destination ImagiNation gives kids real-life collaborative skills and develops their innate sense of innovation and out-of -the box thinking,” said DI team manager Heidi Faber.

The large Team Challenge usually involves a core team problem to solve, some type of presentation or play to be written and performed, as well as other team choice elements to be created and used in the final challenge. Teams choose a team name and Team Challenge early on in the season. The DI season typically extends from fall to spring, culminating in a tournament in the spring.

“It’s so exciting to see the changes that take place within a team as the season progresses, both individually and as a group. Children learn that their unique skill set and perspective is of great benefit to their team and the team learns that it needs every single person involved in order to reach its full potential,” said DI team manager Melissa Edeburn. “This is the closest to real-life, mature problem solving that most kids will get before graduation. Because adults are hands-off in the decision-making and creative process, students learn to brainstorm, compromise, negotiate, and delegate responsibilities all on their own. The end result is a dynamic, creative presentation of which the students can take full, 100% ownership. They are so proud of what they’ve accomplished together. It truly is ‘kid power’ at its best!”

Destination ImagiNation provides an excellent opportunity for students to exercise their minds, creativity, problem-solving and teamwork skills. DI provides an environment where students are able to explore the outer limits of creativity and imagination!

For more information about Destination ImagiNation or any community education program, contact 763-477-4563.