Orange Conference Interview with IDS Creative Consultant Erin

IDS recently embarked on an exciting journey to Atlanta, Georgia, where we had the incredible opportunity to attend the Orange Conference 2024. Trust us when we say, it was an experience like no other! We were surrounded by passionate individuals, all dedicated to making a difference in the lives of children and families.

Creative Consultant Erin Blondin had the absolute pleasure of chatting with the amazing crew behind the Orange Conference, getting the opportunity to share the passion we have for transforming children’s spaces. Read the exclusive interview below.

Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and Imagination Design Studios?

I’m Erin, a Creative Consultant at IDS. We specialize in creating welcoming spaces for children through themed decor.

For the last 17 years, we used the power of theming to take the anxiety out of dental and medical appointments, giving children a better experience and setting them up for a lifetime of better health outcomes. We recognize the benefit of our theming for creating welcoming spaces, so we began offering our services to other child-friendly businesses, like libraries, daycares, and of course, churches!

What exactly is themed decor?

When we talk about themed decor for kids, we’re talking about all the fun stuff that makes a space feel like an adventure! Think murals covering the walls, cool 3D backdrops, and interactive activities like video games and slides. The themes are endless, from forest adventures to underwater explorations or even stepping back in time to biblical cities, it’s all about creating an awesome world that kids can dive into headfirst.

What do you think the biggest challenge facing church leaders today is?

Churches face the challenge of engaging younger generations amidst a distracting world filled with tech and temptation. Youth leaders face a daily struggle to build connections, maintain relationships, and retain members as they grow up.

What are some common pain points church leaders face when trying to create meaningful connections with children?

Creating a welcoming environment for children in spaces often designed for adults is challenging. Youth leaders must contend with distractions like technology and competing activities vying for kids’ attention. This makes maintaining engagement during religious education programs or services quite difficult.

Themed decor can play a crucial role in creating an inclusive environment. Children feel a connection with a space catered to them, giving them a sense of belonging. This welcoming atmosphere not only makes children feel valued and accepted but also encourages them to actively engage in church activities. Themed decor is about getting kids excited and involved in everything from Sunday school to youth group hangouts and special events. It’s like magic; once they’re surrounded by the right atmosphere, they’re all in, ready to jump in and participate wholeheartedly.

What should people know about the impact of themed decor in creating a welcoming and engaging environment for families?

Our themed decor isn’t just about looks—it’s a strategic tool for attracting and retaining families. By creating standout environments, we draw in new visitors and keep existing ones engaged. This approach transforms your church into a sought-after destination where families feel welcomed and connected.

Just as theming has helped kids in the dental industry think positively about their appointments, helping kids form awesome memories strengthens their connection to the church and enriches their spiritual journey for years to come.

Can you share any specific examples of situations where themed decor has helped address a particular challenge for a church leader?

The same phrase comes up every time a church leader contacts us – they want to “revitalize their youth spaces”. And that’s exactly what we do – we bring energy and excitement into a space.

Our recent project addressed a pressing concern for a community: the lack of safe spaces for kids to hang out after school. Kids don’t have places they can hang out anymore. They’ll get in trouble for loitering! With public spaces becoming increasingly restricted, we worked with this church to design a lounge area specifically for kids and young teens. It was a big hit! Not only did it provide a safe and welcoming environment, but it also sparked a renewed sense of excitement among the youth. As a result, there was this buzz of energy and connection that you could feel throughout the congregation. It just goes to show the power of creating inclusive spaces where everyone feels like they belong.

What advice would you give to church leaders who are unsure about where to start?

Talk to us, we’re the experts on kid-centric spaces. We’ll help you understand the needs of your congregation and find the best solution for you. And we recommend focusing on the areas that will have the biggest impact first – daycare playrooms, nursery rooms, and Sunday school classrooms. You can expand out from there as your attendance grows.

What trends do you foresee in themed decor for children in churches?

We brought a woodland themed booth for a reason! Nature-themed decor, such as woodland settings with characters on adventures and trees as focal points, creates calming atmospheres that resonate with both children and adults. Additionally, themes reflecting “community,” like backyard settings, are gaining popularity for their welcoming feel.

But it’s not just about looks; it’s about creating spaces where kids can really dive in and explore. That’s why interactive products, like play areas and hands-on activities, are becoming a big hit.

Flexibility is key! Being able to switch things up and move seating around easily to suit different age groups and activities makes a huge difference.

You can make a big impact with minimal effort by using murals. They transform a space and make it feel like you’re stepping into a whole new world. It’s all about creating environments that draw people in, spark their imagination, and make them feel at home.

Thank you for chatting with us today.

My pleasure! We can’t wait to come back again next year!




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