Keep Calm and Avoid Biscuits

One of the biggest take-aways from playworker Marc Armitage’s March talk at the Providence Children’s Museum– part of his “Keep Calm and Play On” tour– concerned Vygotsky, the Russian theorist who died in 1931.  Armitage said that Vygotsky’s zone of proximal development (ZPD), what is contemporarily known as scaffolding, really focused not on “adult guidance”Continue reading “Keep Calm and Avoid Biscuits”

New Happy Museum Report

There has not been much research on the connections between museums, art and wellbeing– until now. The Happy Museum Project has commissioned new work from Daniel Fujiwara– the London School of Economics professor responsible for innovative work around the Life Satisfaction Valuation methodology– to explore the impact of museums on personal and community wellbeing. TheContinue reading “New Happy Museum Report”

Maurice Sendak and the “Bullshit of Innocence”

I enjoyed this Believer magazine interview with Maurice Sendak. It was one of his last. Maurice Sendak didn’t sugar-coat reality for his audience, which happened to consist primarily of kids. In the interview, he says “I refuse to lie to children. I refuse to cater to the bullshit of innocence.” That’s a nice, blunt answer to the romantic rhetoric ofContinue reading “Maurice Sendak and the “Bullshit of Innocence””

The Fullness of the Moment

It’s the day after the presidential election, and I just watched the trailer for the documentary project Seriously, directed by Gwen Gordon. It concludes with a short bit by evolutionary cosmologist Brian Swimme: “There’s a fullness in the moment of play that can be considered the way in which the universe is expressing its ownContinue reading “The Fullness of the Moment”

Democracy + Habits of Playfulness

The morning after the final presidential debates, some thoughts on play and democracy from Meier et al., Playing for Keeps: Life and Learning on a Public School Playground: “Leaving no time or space in education for children’s ‘playful’ efforts to make sense of the world risks the future not only of poetry and science but alsoContinue reading “Democracy + Habits of Playfulness”

Nostalgia, both Sippy Cup- and Super-Sized

At work, we have been thinking deeply about a milestone: next year, we’ll reach one hundred years of developing playful people and spaces. Nested within those hundred years are millions of stories of people who experienced those exhibits and spaces, from the 72-year-old man who remembers a displayed object and its exact location in theContinue reading “Nostalgia, both Sippy Cup- and Super-Sized”