Assemble a metal strainer, a windmill, some bicycle wheels, four butterfly wings, a sail made of flowers, a whale skeleton, two fans, lots of CDs, two giant luminous wheels, a pair of seven-league boots, and plenty of goody bags filled with buttons, and then you will have the Playcraft. Created specifically for young adventurers, the Playcraft will take explorers over land and sea, past the moon and beyond the stars. Together, the team of navigators will invent a fantastic never-ending story, tinker with a Dream Machine, discover buried treasure, then go back and do it all again. The countdown to cast off has begun! 3, 2, 1…
From the stern to the bow, the team is set up to construct and repair the Playcraft. Explorers of every age will find tools that they can use to develop their hidden talents. At the front of the ship, the cabin boys screw and unscrew sheets of wood onto the ship, creating a perpetually changing mosaic. At the rear, other sailors open and close pockets full of buttons and other surprises. In place or upside down, buttoned or unbuttoned, all the elements combine to personalize the Playcraft.
The sailors become digital artists, decorating the Playcraft. Two computer stations allow them to design and create. The young prodigies of the 21st century draw with their fingertips, tracing out big brushstrokes and tiny detailed lines. They can select shapes and combine patterns and colors. The drawing is multiplied, creating a pattern that is projected on the side of the Playcraft. Cyber-artists can manipulate this giant luminous work of art through their movements; the art dances and undulates in response to the artists’ motions.
For mechanics in training, the engine room offers a wonderful world where they can manipulate all kinds of mechanisms. Cranks move a complex system of gears, composed of foam wheels with child-safe cogs. A set of ropes and pulleys allow sailors to raise the sails and activate a set of fans.
The Playcraft is also a theater, where each person plays his or her role alongside others. On the top deck, the helmsman steers the ship, assisted by sailors who scan the horizon through binoculars. Below, aspiring captains familiarize themselves with the commands listed on a large dashboard. To avoid being shipwrecked, the sailors above and below deck transmit important information through a periscope and acoustic tubes. Careful; the one who finds the secret code will trigger flashing lights!
The inventors who dream big and reach for the stars will go on a journey to another planet. The Playcraft allows them to familiarize themselves with the process of building a ship. The amateur builders will reassemble the ship’s blueprints, which have been scrambled in a Chinese puzzle. They can also transform themselves into Lilliputians, exploring a virtual world. On touchscreens, the explorers draw their own stick figures, complete with tools, and send them to join other imaginary characters. These virtual adventurers are free to explore a wonderful world. And who knows? They may even discover a lost treasure!