PlayThings: understanding play with toys
The PlayThings research bootcamp supplies tools for studying play though the lens of toys. Although some forms of play are imaginary, bodily or interpersonal, play is almost always an interaction with the surrounding material environment. And nowhere is play more clearly visible in our culture, than in children’s and adults’ interactions with toys.
From imaginary transformations of sticks into guns and magic wands, over function and role specific toys like dollhouses and pirate hats. From rough and tumble play facilitated by playground architecture, too elaborate emergent creations and narratives emerging from construction projects with sand, LEGO or MineCraft blocks. Toys enable, inspire and sometimes supply constraints for play but als act as social and physical invitations to join into interactions with players and the world – and for researchers to observe and decode how play unfolds.
This bootcamp collects four exiting international researchers’ methods for studying play: From toys, to digital playthings and the material properties of playground spaces.