Last weekend, I was asked to speak at the Games in Education Forum, part of the Chicago Toy and Game Fair at Navy Pier. My presentation was called Play and Creativity in the Classroom. The air in the room and the showroom below was filled with fun, excitement, and energy, so, in a way, I felt like I was preaching to the choir.
Play is a hot topic these days. Some fantastic books on the subject are:
by Kathy Hirsh-Pasek Ph.D., Roberta Michnick Golinkoff Ph.D.
Rodale/St. Martin's Press 2003
Play How It Shapes the Brain, Opens the Imagination, and Invigorates the Soul
by Stuart Brown M.D.
Penguin Group 2009
In Defense of Childhood Protecting Kids' Inner Wildness
by Chris Mercoliano
Beacon Press 2007
The Case for Make Believe Saving Play in a Commercialized World
by Susan Linn
The New Press 2008
The easy route in talking about play would have been to stand in front of the group and read several passages from these books, but I did have an outline:
- History of Toys (Blocks, Dolls, Wright brothers, etc)
- Toys in American History (Pioneer toys, Native American toys, Immigration, etc)
- Toys in Other Cultures (Balls, Jacks, Marbles, Bilboquet, Tangrams, String, Hopscotch, etc)
- Toys in Math (Dominoes, Dice, Building, Tangrams, Qubits, Zillio, Wrap-up, Games, etc)
- Other Areas for Play & Toys (Recycling, Art Projects, Puppets, Bingo, etc)
- Hands-On Activities
The Hands-On Portion included donated product from:
- Play-doh: included lesson plan ideas I created
- Qubits: Educators loved playing and building with shapes
- Jukem Football Card Game: Game developed by a dad to help his sons with Math
A few of the books that I referenced were:
Kids Around the World Play
by Arlette N. Braman
John Wiley and Sons 2002
Children at Play: An American History
by Howard P. Chudacoff
New York University Press 2007
My nine-year-old's fourth grade class is doing a nonfiction book unit. After checking out his school library and the local public library, he came home empty-handed from his search for a nonfiction book. Mind you, this child is the opposite of a reluctant reader so I was very surprised. After checking out my collection, he picked one of my favorite books.
Toys! Amazing Stories Behind Some Great Inventions
by Don L. Wulffson
Henry Holt and Co. 2000
We've had a great time talking about the history behind some of the classic toys. In fact, I bought him some Silly Putty and that's the only toy he's played with for the last two weeks.
Remember that this Black Friday, during the toy buying scramble --- Silly Putty = $1.99 and hours, days, weeks of fun!
And, remember Toys and Games for the Classroom, too!