While out to dinner one night, Rhode Island School of Design grad student Christina Kazakia recounted favorite childhood memories with her friends. The common theme among those memories? Outdoor play.

For her thesis project, Kazakia focused her research on outdoor play. She eventually honed in on the ways children play with fallen sticks. Sticks could provided open-ended opportunities for both imaginative and construction play.

Building on that concept, Kazakia wanted to find ways to bridge outdoor and imaginative play with STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) concepts. Since many adults she spoke with fondly recalled fort building and similar play, the now Philadelphia-resident wanted to encourage more of this type of play, particularly for children in urban areas.

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