ISA at the Children’s Festival

Every year, the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust holds the Pittsburgh International Children’s Festival, attracting hundreds of children and their parents. This year Interactive Story Adventures made its first appearance at the Festival in the Sprout Fund’s tent with a perfect springtime activity for children of all ages—even those still in strollers. This activity, called Seedville, is one of ISA’s Community Engagement events that all involve semi-structured scenarios where children and their loved ones are presented with a story context and materials to make the story their own. Children were introduced to Seedville and the story of the seed friends who were seeking a place to grow tall and explore the environment around them. To help their new friends, children got the chance to decorate their very own potters. Choosing from the many colorful markers and crayons spread out on the table, they made swirls, colorful dots and creative drawings — one potter even got a face! At the next station, children scooped fresh soil into their stylized potters. Children then faced a dilemma: they had choose whether they wanted their new seed friends to be beans or sunflowers. Some knew exactly which seeds they wanted, while others took a long time debating what three seeds to plant. Amy, Creative Director at ISA, explained to one child, “only one or two of the seeds you plant will grow, so you need to decide if you want to know who your seed friends will be by planting only one type of seed, or if you want to plant one to two of each type so you don’t know what you will get”. Before they could take their pots home, the children were given instructions on caring for their plants. They would need damp soil to grow. Once a plant began growing from the soil, the entire potter could be placed in a decorative pot in the window or planted directly in the garden because the potter they decorated would degrade in the soil. Families were asked to send pictures or drawings of the plants once the seed friends sprouted and grew-up. If you brought home some seed friends, please do the same.

About the Author:

Jordan Lippman, Ph.D., Founder and President of an educational startup in Pittsburgh, PA named Interactive Story Adventures. His academic work at the University of Illinois and at the University of Pittsburgh’s prestigious Learning Research and Development Center focused on designing and evaluating learning environments. As one of the founders of NameGames ( a company that creates developmentally appropriate mobile games for infants and toddlers, he brings experience related to developing and user testing an educational product to our team. As a father of two toddlers and a baby girl, he has hands-on experience and access to expert testers of our programs.

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