March of the Robots – encouraging creativity through play

The child friendly Leeds awards are an opportunity to reflect on the people, places and organisations making Leeds a fantastic city to grow-up in, as well as for people from the city to share their stories about the child friendly activities they organise and participate in.

Today we hear from Kay Brown, an organiser of the March of the Robots, a project engaging Leeds’ young people through play….

March of the Robots is a year-long project that’s been asking what happens when we get creative and play together. When you reach adulthood you can easily forget how to let yourself relax and play and we wanted to encourage creativity across all ages.

Play is an important way of learning and we’ve discovered that playing together and making robots on games like Minecraft is a really powerful way to engage with children through platforms they use and enjoy. As a result, parents have realised why kids  like it so much! And it’s not just play through games, sometimes we need to use our imaginations and see what we can create with everyday materials like cardboard and old tech that doesn’t work in the same way anymore. We’ve enjoyed seeing people break things down and fix them back together into new creations. Tinkering about has been a great metaphor for this project.

We’ve seen some amazing examples of what happens when people come together in our robot lab (formerly a shipping container), in parks like Charlie Cake Park in Armley and in places like Victoria Gardens and The Tetley. We’ve put on over 70 events and we don’t want to stop there though, we want to recruit as many robots and robot creators as possible and we need your help.

You see, a year ago we set ourselves a rather big challenge. A challenge to create 10,000 robots by the end of October 2014. We’re well on our way there, but imagine if we could beat our challenge? Robots can be made from everything from cardboard to code, and we want to showcase as many as possible at a fun robot party we’re hosting in Leeds City Centre on the 25 and 26 October.

We’ve got lots of activity planned including a Minecraft Party in Leeds City Museum; The Merrion Centre are displaying their magical Emmet machines (think of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang); JunkBots (big robot sculptures made out of junk) made in Armley; Hyde Park and Seacroft are coming into the city centre to showcase their communities; and on Sunday we have a big robotbop planned, where everybody needs to come dressed as or with a robot and join in our big robot dance. Plus we have cake for those who have really made an effort- it is a party after all!

There’s much more than this happening with us adding new activities all of the time, so head over to our website to learn more and to RSVP for the party so Leeds City College and Sunshine Bakery make a cake big enough!

The March of the Robots Party Weekend takes place on 25-26 October at various locations in Leeds City Centre. For the full listings and to RSVP for your free ticket to the party, please visit: marchoftherobots.com.

Nominations for the child friendly Leeds awards 2015 close 31 October, so if you can think of an adult, organisation or young person doing something inspirational in Leeds and you’d like to make a nomination, please visit our awards page. You can also follow us on Twitter @child_leeds #CFLawards.

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