Urban Thinkscape transforms public spaces in neighborhoods into opportunities for playful learning by infusing them with durable, replicable, and attractive activities that challenge the mind while encouraging caregiver-child interactions. Puzzles at bus stops stimulate spatial skills; movable parts on park benches become opportunities for exploring language, color, and numbers; and on-site signage and a website connect caregivers to additional information and resources about the links between play and learning.
Through its projects, Urban Thinkscape shares three key messages with families and communities:
- There is a science-based connection between play and learning.
- Play helps children develop academic skills.
- Playful learning can occur in everyday interactions between adults and children.
The program brings together architects, psychologists, city planners, local civic associations, and community members to reimagine and design neighborhood spaces and structures that promote the development of spatial, language, and socioemotional skills. Urban Thinkscape has piloted its program in the Belmont neighborhood of West Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.