Play Digest: Play to Learn

PlayTime opens in one month and we couldn’t be more excited. For this week’s link pack, we’re thinking about play as an important means of learning and developing—not just for children but all of us.

While PlayTime can’t help but be based on the tenets of having some fun, we also recognize that the very nature of play possesses the potential to teach, transform, and thrill (tell us your thoughts on our play manifesto!). Play comes naturally. Learning through play is an especially rich vein and not one we should abandon in adulthood.

Peter Gray of Boston College has seen a decline in children’s and teen’s mental health that he attributes to a decline in play and adult (over) supervision of play time. But he and other psychologists think that moving away from a culture that values play and becoming one that views “play as a luxury”—for children and adults—is ignoring an important part of being human.

Playworks founder Jill Vialet is just one of the growing community of people who believe that a better play experience at school leads to better learners. (And by the way, Global School Play Day is February 7.)

Museums are paying attention to play and visitors’ needs, too (and not just PEM).

And it’s not only kids who are playing to learn . . . .

Stay tuned, too, for more on our upcoming PEM Partnership. We’re putting play into action with Horizons for Homeless Children and commissioned artist Marisa Morán Jahn.

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

(Image credit: Courtesy aAlok Khemka via Flickr.)

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.