Frequently Asked Questions

This Frequently Asked Questions list is primarily designed for the following audiences:

  • Those who are considering starting a Destination Imagination team in their area.
  • Parents and Students who are considering participation in DI.
  • Participants who are new to DI and want to learn more.
  • Teachers and school administrators who would like to know more about the program.

Current participants, their Team Managers, and parents are urged to visit Current Participants for programmatic announcements, and the Resources area for helpful team information.

What is Destination Imagination®, or “DI”?

The Destination Imagination Program: 

  • Destination Imagination is a non-profit that helps students around the world learn and experience the creative process from imagination to innovation.
  • We hold tournaments where student teams solve problems in astonishing ways.
  • Our participants build a lifelong confidence in working together to solve any challenge.

Read more: What is Destination Imagination®, or “DI”?

What are the goals of Destination Imagination?


To develop opportunities that inspire the global community of learners to utilize diverse approaches in applying 21st century skills and creativity.

The Destination Imagination program encourages teams of learners to have fun, take risks, focus, and frame challenges while incorporating STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics), the arts, and service learning. Our participants learn patience, flexibility, persistence, ethics, respect for others and their ideas, and the collaborative problem solving process. Teams may showcase their solutions at a tournament. (Click here to download our Strategic Plan.)

Described Another Way:

The goal of Destination Imagination is to help children learn that through a combination of creativity, teamwork & tenacity, that they can develop creative solutions to complex problems completely on their own.

How Can DI Improve my Child's Education?

You see the unique and talented individual your child is, and want to give him or her every opportunity to grow, learn and prosper. The Destination Imagination program not only encourages creativity and self-awareness, but it teaches patience, flexibility, persistence, ethics, respect for others and the collaborative problem solving process.

Read more: How Can DI Improve my Child's Education?

I am a school administrator. How can DI help my District?

As a leader in your school district, your budget is tied to the success of your students in and out of the classroom. Destination Imagination programs meet national education standards and have been shown to improve student performance.

The Destination Imagination Challenge Program is an easy and cost-effective way for school administrators to complement the curriculum and teach kids 21st century skills. It provides opportunities for kids to learn how to work together, solve problems effectively and experience the creative process.

Read more: I am a school administrator. How can DI help my District?

I am a teacher. How can I use DI with my students?

The opportunities you give your students impact them on a daily basis and provide them with knowledge and experience that can last a lifetime. Destination Imagination encourages kids to have fun, take risks, work with others and identify each individual’s personal strengths.

Our Challenges are engaging, fun and inclusive. Each child finds their place within the team and is able discover and display his or her unique abilities and talents in ways they may never have imagined.

Read more: I am a teacher. How can I use DI with my students?

How does DI Complement Curriculum?

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A Destination Imagination program at your school can be part of your curriculum, can augment your curriculum as an elective, can be a co-curricular activity, or could be a parent / student run club.

Teams in our program improve in creative thinking, critical thinking, and collaborative problem solving. Participants experience the creative process, develop new friendships, and learn to work together. The creative process is about 21st century learning where students experience project management, creativity, imagination, collaboration and communication.

Superintendents, Principals, and Teachers around the world are bringing Destination Imagination to their school systems.

Read more: How does DI Complement Curriculum?

What Does Creative Problem Solving (CPS) Really Mean?

Creative problem solving (CPS) involves combining brainstorming, creative thinking, critical thinking, and implementation of the ideas generated. If someone can’t think of an example of creative problem solving, suggest that the Apollo 13 astronauts are alive because of creative problem solving. At one point, they needed a round filter to fit in the slot for a square one. The engineers on earth had to creatively solve the challenge using only the items that the astronauts had available to them. This was truly the case of CPS saving lives!

How many people participate in DI?

Some amazing figures about Destination Imagination:

number of children that participate in Destination Imagination, Inc. programs annually
number of Destination Imagination, Inc. volunteers worldwide

Read more: How many people participate in DI?

What are the parts of Destination Imagination?

The Destination Imagination program asks teams to creatively solve two different kinds of Challenges, each with its own purpose and educational focus. The two Challenges, or components, are called the Team Challenge (Central Challenge and Team Choice Elements) and the Instant Challenge. Teams present their solutions to both Challenges at a Tournament where the solutions are evaluated by friendly people we call “Appraisers.”

Read more: What are the parts of Destination Imagination?

What is a DI Solution?

The Solution is where the Team's commitment and the Challenge provided by Destination Imagination come together.

Once the team has formed and selected a Challenge, the work begins. The Program Materials set out the requirements of the Challenge in detail – everything from what materials may be used and the allowed budget, to rubrics for appraising the solution. Teams meet on a regular basis, plan a course of action, and execute that plan. When the solution is complete, they have the opportunity to show off their solutions at one of our Tournaments.

Team Managers may facilitate the process, and provide or arrange for skills training, but they may not contribute to the solution in any way.

No two solutions to a Challege are the same. Each team brings its own set of talents, skills, interests and desires to the table, and the result is always unique and amazing.

It is through this solution process that the goals of Destination Imagination becomes reality.   Participants learn how to research and plan a viable solution, how to work together in collaborative teams, and how to manage their time efficiently.  They meet and overcome obstacles, gaining resiliance, confidence, and important critical thinking skills.  And all of this takes place not through the input of adults, but rather is self-generated on the part of the team.

What do Students Get Out of DI?

Destination Imagination yields great results for participants, who report consistently that DI was one of the most memorable and important parts of their experience.   They describe it as fun and exciting – and love the opportunity to compete against teams from around the world.

Read more: What do Students Get Out of DI?

How Does DI Differ From Other Programs Available For Our Kids?

 While any child would be lucky to participate in most programs of this type, Destination Imagination is a non-profit, volunteer-run, child-centric organization. Every aspect of the program, by design, is extremely responsive to the membership, and most important, to the students in our programs. We maintain communities to share our best practices, as well as globally collaborating on areas of improvement. The result is a very child-friendly program that rewards teams, within the rules, for their creativity, teamwork and innovation. Our success is reflected in the Destination Imagination Alumni group, or DIA. The growing numbers of our alumni in DIA maintain year-round contact at collegiate and professional levels for years to come, and are instrumental volunteers in the program at all levels.

Where Can I Go to Get Information About the Program?

You have taken the first step by visiting this web page!  If you have further questions, please contact one of our staff members by clicking the button below:

What Does It Take To Form A Team?

Kids often discover hidden talents they didn’t know they had! Any eligible student can be on a Destination Imagination team, provided that he or she understands the commitment of time and effort involved, and can fulfill the eligibility requirements for students who wish to participate in cocurricular activities.

Competitive teams can have a maximum of seven students. There is no limit on the number of team members in Rising Stars (early learning - K-2) teams.

At least one parent, teacher, or dedicated adult supporter must act as the Team Manager. The Team Manager helps the students stay on schedule, gathers materials for the team, and guides them through the problem-solving process, but does not contribute to the solution. Time commitment is about 2 to 4 hours each week, gradually increasing as tournament time approaches.

How Do I Start the Program?


Often schools provide educational, facilities and financial support to teams – giving teachers time to help Destination Imagination teams or manage a team themselves, space for teams to meet at the school, or financial support by purchasing memberships, giving teams money or helping teams that advance to state/global finals.

If you are looking for school support, approach the school administration or get a teacher excited about the program.

Other Organizations and Individuals:

Any community organization, or even an individual, can start a Destination Imagination team.  All it takes is a group of individuals who would like to form a team, and an adult who is willing to be a Team Manager. Individuals and non-school organizations should visit the appropriate  for instructions, or  for guidance from one of our staff members.

How Do We Join and Get Started?

If there is an established Destination Imagination program at a sponsoring organization in your area (e.g.school), you should contect them to find out how to get started.

Otherwise, the first step is to purchase a Team Number (which will allow you to download the Program Materials) and pay the Regional Fee (which will allow you to register for a Regional Tournament).

The procedure for Team Number purchase and Regional Fee payment differs by region.

Visit your  for instructions, or for assistance from one of our staff members.

Who Pays for This?

Your school, PTA, gifted program, YMCA, 4H club, house of worship, homeschool group, after-school program, community organization, your family – it all depends on whose name the membership is in.

How Much Does It Cost?

Registration costs per student is comparable to or less than many other youth activities (e.g. sports teams, lessons, scouting, etc). For a Competitive team of seven students registration fees usually are less than $65 per student; for a K-2 (Rising Stars) team it is less than $30 per student:

Fee Paid To Competitive
Rising Stars
Team Registration / Team Number DI Inc. $110 $110
Affiliate Fee DI Inc. $325 $80
2021 Program Year Discount You! -$100  
Team Manager Background Check DI Inc. $40 $40
Total Team Fees DI Inc. $375 $230
Instant Challenge Fiesta (optional) NYDI $15 $15


Want more detailed cost information? See your Region Page and visit Budgeting and Fundraising!

If your team is being registered through a school or other sponsoring organization, the organization may manage the registration process. Some organizations may cover the full cost of registration - while others may add additional fees to cover local costs, etc.

Our Regional Tournament is an integral part of the program, and all teams are invited to attend and present their solutions. As such, there is no additional registration fee for participation in the tournament.

Beyond the registration fees mentioned above, each Challenge has a maximum allowed solution cost, usually less than $200, which applies to the materials which make it onto the performance stage. This limited budget leads to teams being very creative in finding free or inexpensive materials.

What if our team advances?

If your team advances from the Regional Tournament to the NY Affiliate Finals there is is no additional registration fee required to participate in the tournament.

There may, however, be additional costs for travel to the tournament. Travel arrangements and their funding are the responsibility of the team and/or it's sponsoring organization.

What if we are going to Global Finals?

Teams which excel at the NY Affiliate Finals are invited to present their solutions at Global Finals, a 4 day event held in Knoxville, Tennessee in May of each year. There are significant additional registration fees, housing fees and transportation costs associated with Global Finals.

For more information, registered teams should see our Budgeting and Fundraising section for a more detailed discussion of team finances.

How Do I Fund It?

Teams find their funding in a variety of ways:

Schools or sponsoring organizations may give teams money to use; and/or they may donate space for the team to use.

Teams may ask each team member to pay a certain amount of money up front to fund projects; team members may be asked for more money if they change their solution several times and more resources are necessary.

Teams may fund-raise to get the money they need. Some schools may cooperate with fundraising.

Items may be purchased at regular stores, at discount stores, at secondhand stores, Goodwill, or they may be found in dumpsters, the attic, closets or the basement. All used items (other than "free" items such as newspaper and cardboard) must be assessed a fair-market garage sale price, no matter the source, even if they have been donated.

For snacks, many teams ask either parents to alternate bringing snacks; or everyone brings snacks at the beginning and then they are stored and used as necessary; or a snack fund may be started and one or more adults buy snacks each meeting.

What is the Time Commitment Involved?

Team meetings usually start at 2 hours per week for most teams. Meetings can be after school, in the evening, or during the weekend, with the times are determined by availability of team manager and/or team members. Most teams want to increase their meeting time in February in order to accomplish the Central Challenge according to their expectations. Thus, there is a possibility of multiple weekly meetings, and additional work sessions as the Tournament approaches. That decision is one the Team Manager & the team members make.

The season runs from team formation in the fall to the Regional Tournament, usually in March. Tournament day is usually an all-day commitment for teams.

First and second place teams at the Regional level will advance to the Affiliate Tournament (usually in April). On an annual basis Destination Imagination, Inc. determines how many teams from the Affiliate Tournament can advance to Global Finals, held at the end of May in Knoxville, Tennessee.

Teams which advance to these upper level tournaments generally continue devoting significant time to their solutions, making improvements and practicing their performances to be ready for the higher level of competition.

What are Team Managers?

Being a Team Manager is a fun and rewarding way to spend time with great kids! The Team Manager is an adult facilitator, administrator, and supporter of the team. You may consider sharing the responsibility with another parent. Support & training will be provided, and first timers are welcome! Team Manager Information Nights and Trainings are available. More information is available at About Team Managers

What is Interference?

Interference PyramidOnly team members may contribute ideas and create Challenge solutions. Help from non-team members, including Team Managers, is called Interference.

Non-team members can assist with skills training, and can provide the Challenge and Rules of the program.  But the team's solution is theirs alone.

Read more: What is Interference?

How Can Parents Help the Team?

Only team members may contribute ideas and create the Team Challenge and Team Choice Element solutions.  Help from non-team members, including Team Managers, is called Interference.

So how can Parents and other family members help out with DI?

Read more: How Can Parents Help the Team?

How Can I Volunteer With DI?

There are lots of ways to volunteer and support NYDI in providing its programs to more students.

You can:

If you are interested in volunteering, please contact your Regional Director.

Our Mission

To engage participants in project-based challenges that are designed to build confidence and develop extraordinary creativity, critical thinking, communication, and teamwork skills.

We inspire and equip students to achieve anything they can imagine in life.

We offer seven exciting standards-based Challenges in STEMImprovVisual ArtsService Learning, and Early Learning. Each Challenge is open-ended and enables students (K-university) to learn and experience the creative process from imagination to innovation. In solving our Challenges, teams learn important 21st century skills which will prepare them for a brilliant future. Students have fun and gain confidence in their ability to solve any challenge.

NYDI is the New York affiliate of Destination Imagination Inc.: a non-profit, volunteer-led, cause-driven organization.


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