The Power of Play

Jon-Paul C. Dyson, of the Strong National Museum of Play in Rochester NY might exemplify change. The Strong Museum was formerly focused on American history and American life;  it’s the second largest children’s museum in the country, with a large collection of toys, dolls (over 3,000) and games (1000 board games from the early twentieth century). Learned the audience wanted a hands on experience, changed their mission, and jumped from 68,000 to a half million visitors over last couple of years. Expansions include the National Toy Hall of Fame, and Reading Adventureland, a history of children’s books. There is an intersection of games play and reading. What is play? (you know it when you see it! ) It’s not unique to species (birds, dogs, primates). Play is:

  • Fun
  • Voluntary
  • Rewarding (its own reward)
  • In a Magic Circle (its own world)

6 Elements of Play

  1. anticipation
  2. surprise
  3. pleasure
  4. understanding
  5. strength
  6. poise

Benefits of Play

  • It refreshes us
  • Increases our flexibility

Next steps for libraries: do we seek that intersection of play, games and reading? Support some games? All games? Provide any play? Best play? Resources: