Play Digest: Back to the Future

As we come up with new games and ever more new ways to play and express our playful selves, some game and toy makers are looking backward to recapture both the charm and simplicity of play. With this week’s link pack, we check out the trends in play things.

The folks at Tech Will Save Us want to get kids into electronics before they’re ready for Snap Circuits by introducing a Play-Doh–like product that conducts electricity and  can safely teach kids about circuit building in an extremely tactile way.

Octogenarian toy company Fisher Price is considering the year 2025 by imagining what today’s millennials will look like as parents and how their children will play—and what with. The slightly more youthful Mattel is also looking forward by joining with Silicon Valley game makers and tech giants to revive old toys for new generations.

Speaking of Mattel, their new Shero line of Barbie dolls, which includes the likenesses of Ava Duvernay and Misty Copeland, added Olympic fencer Ibtihaj Muhammad to its roster in November—the company’s first hijab-wearing doll.

Here is a fantastic and moving recent episode of This American Life about The Dukes of Hazzard, a Hot Wheels car, and confronting the Confederacy as a child.

Check in next week for a new roundup of the latest play news and stories.

(Image credit: Courtesy of Candylab Toys.)

About Eugenia Bell

Eugenia Bell is the guest editor for She is the former executive editor of Design Observer and Design Editor of Frieze. Her writing has appeared in Frieze, Artforum, Bookforum, and Garage, among other places.