The experience of Challenge Island is what sets it apart from other educational tools. By being hands-on, students are able to connect with the things they are learning.

While most of the education industry might be moving towards digital learning, one program is continuing to focus on hands-on creativity and has made its way to the Hillsborough community.

Challenge Island, an educational program that promotes creativity and critical thinking, was founded in 2003. The local South Hillsborough location began serving our community 20 years later in 2023.

Through on-site field trips, after-school care, churches, libraries and more, the program allows children to get engaged with their learning and gives students something to be excited about. Challenge Island has developed many learning plans and is able to provide the supplies and tools necessary to implement the program in different settings.

It strives to give all children access to its educational tools and is able to work with organizations and schools to build programs that work within different types of budgets.

“We wanted to provide an innovative and engaging educational platform for children,” said Rod Recine, owner of the local Challenge Island. “Challenge Island fosters creativity, teamwork and critical thinking through STEAM activities.”

This program offers a unique educational experience through science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics (STEAM) learning. The goal is to encourage imagination and teamwork while allowing students to find creative solutions and increase their problem-solving skills. Along with STEAM knowledge, Challenge Island helps students establish healthy relationships and build confidence.

The benefits extend beyond traditional classroom settings, and with no screens or digital platforms, Challenge Island provides a learning environment that inspires passion for STEAM subjects and fosters an environment where students feel comfortable to be whimsical in their learning. Through the interactive and imaginative challenges, students gain skills that are needed in the 21st century.

Challenge Island empowers young minds to explore and appreciate the hands-on experience of learning. “It promotes creativity, offering a tangible and experiential educational experience for children,” said Recine.

This program has served as a catalyst for compelling and dynamic educational experiences in all kinds of ways. From Girl Scouts workshops to after-school camps to birthday parties to family engagement programs, Challenge Island is able to deliver a hands-on, educational experience however it fits best.

For more information, please contact Recine at or visit

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