News Release

  6500 East Arapahoe Road, Boulder, CO 80301

For Immediate Release

Randy Barber

BVSD Chief Communications Officer



Unique partnership helps hospitalized children

Elementary & college students teamed up to design, create toys for children being treated at Children's Hospital Colorado

LAFAYETTE - This morning students at Boulder Valley School District's Ryan Elementary STEAM School in Lafayette had the opportunity to see the toy they helped design in partnership with CU Boulder Engineering students.

The "Water Cycle Toy" is a small, safe, durable, transportable and easy-to-clean therapy toy, meeting the needs of the patients at Children’s Hospital Colorado. It was built to provide sick children with an educational tool that is intuitive and engaging. It allows students to experience the cycle water molecules go through every day as they become clouds, fall as rain or snow and then are eventually recycled back into the air through evaporation.

It was a remarkable partnership because the students at Ryan had the opportunity to share their creative ideas and honest criticism, while the CU Boulder students were able to use their engineering expertise to create the prototypes and refine the device based on feedback until its completion. Together, using the design process, they were able to create a toy that patients at Children's Hospital Colorado will use and enjoy for years to come.

“We at Children’s Hospital Colorado greatly appreciate the contributions of the students in their desire to brighten the hospital experience for the special patients that we serve by designing a toy that is safe, engaging, and transportable. By giving so generously of their time and talents, the patient experience is certain to be enhanced," said Kathleen McBride, director of volunteer services at Children's Hospital Colorado.

Learn more about the project and see more quotes at:

The project, made possible through the support of CU Idea Forge and CU Science Discovery, is part of a “design therapy” focus at the University of Colorado Boulder, aimed at proving design and engineering can help to empower students both in and out of the hospital. Efforts are underway to expand this idea by engaging Colorado educators at the K-12 and college level to design more toys for these and other hospitals.

Additionally, Ryan Elementary STEAM School and several other BVSD schools have been working to add hands-on learning opportunities, including project-based and design thinking experiences, as part of the Educational Innovation aspect of the Success Effect strategic plan.

Photos from today's event:

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