Playhouse BuildFest April 12

Article Published: Apr. 10 | Modified: Apr. 13
Playhouse BuildFest April 12

Elliot Holcomb builds with Thinker Linkers at The Children’s Playhouse.

Photo submitted

The Children’s Playhouse presents Playhouse BuildFest from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, April 12, at Parkway School.

This free event for kids ages 2 to 12 is part of the 2014 North Carolina Science Festival. Families wanting a sneak peek at BuildFest offerings are invited to browse the festival Passport available at

Dr. Tonya Coffey will present a physics demo show at 11 a.m. This show is aimed at generating interest in physics among people of all ages and backgrounds. The heart of the program is a fast-paced presentation of physics demonstrations carefully chosen to be entertaining, as well as educational.

Not surprisingly, there will be lots of building at the fest including a huge cardboard fort facilitated by Mary’s Montessori School to miniature Fairy Houses offered by Appalachian State University theater students. Thinker Linkers allow kids to build creative structures out of wood.

Kids will also get to operate working Lego robots built by the Watauga High School Robotics Club. In another corner, they will get design the robot of their dreams, using recycled materials.

There will a variety of races, ranging from balloon-powered rocket races (offered by ASU Secondary Science Education) to the Boy Scouts’ pinewood derby track to “Puff Mobiles” constructed by kids with help from Watauga 4-H.

Preservice teachers from Appalachian State University have designed many of the activities and learned a lot in the process. For example, “The Eggsperts,” a child development group led by student Ali Rhodes, will invite kids to “test force and velocity as you drop paint-filled eggs from varying heights.” Rhodes specified that the paint is quite washable.

Another group of ASU students will offer catapults kids can stomp on to launch a bean bag assault on wobbly cardboard towers.

Respect for the environment will be a big theme. The ASU Sustainability Club will be constructing and testing clay watershed models to help kids “learn about connections between our land and our water,” while the Solar Decathlon team will help kids “design a row house using a cardboard box, with windows and photovoltaic panels to understand that a house functions like a human.”

Another activity offered by the Appalachian State Child Development Department invites preschool children to help construct build wetlands and savannah ecosystem models, using Play-Doh and natural materials.

Professor Jeanne Mercer Ballard and graduate student Carson Cole of the ASU Department of Technology & Environmental Design will present a lighting experiment. Cole also prepared the site plan for the fest.

Admission will be free at the event, but families making a day of it may want to purchase lunch at the festival. Pizza, fruit and water will be available.

For more information about Playhouse BuildFest, visit, or call (828) 263-0011.
BuildFest is featured in 2014 North Carolina Science Festival promotions. NCSF spans two weeks, March 28 to April 13, and features science events across the state. Learn more at

For more information on The Children’s Playhouse, visit Parkway School is located at 160 Parkway School Drive, just off Old U.S. 421 in Boone.

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