While Light Pavilion was installed at the Herbert I loved watching the audience playing within it. Adults would try and get all the lights to be the same colour and children would clatter down the ramp (who knew a ramp could be so fun). I was captivated by them and decided in that moment I would focus my practise on play. I had applied for a Project Grant with the Arts Council to investigate the benefits of play in art in partnership with the BALTIC, Coventry City Council and MK Gallery. This has sadly fallen through due to Covid.19.

Coventry City of Culture had agreed to provide match funding towards the project to help me grow my practise. They have kindly honoured this commitment. I am using their contribution to spend my time researching play. Over the next month or two I’m going to read documents and books around play and watch documentaries and then write short blogs about them to make sure I’ve digested the information and to share my insight.


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This chapter focusses on work and our life responsibilities. We feel that work is serious, if we’re playing we will be seen to not be taking work seriously, not working hard enough or focusing on the task in hand. Not playing can make us depressed and unhappy.

“Our inherent need for variety and challenge can be buried by an overwhelming sense of responsibility. Over the long haul, when these spice-of-life elements are missing, what is left is a dulled soul.” Page 126

If we can get the right balance of play and work they can support each other and equally make for a happier life.

“We need newness of play, its sense of flow, and being in the moment. We need the sense of discovery and liveliness that it provides. We also need the purpose of work, the economic stability it offers, the sense that we doing service for others, that we are needed and integrated into our world. And most of us need also to feel competent.” Page 126

This is certainly true in the UK. I had a period of working at Wagamama’s between jobs and it was great fun but I hated telling people that’s what I did. When you meet new people or even old friends you’ll always asked ‘what do you do?’. I just didn’t feel competent with the role as I’ve always felt I should be an artist. To get here I’ve had to have a lot of different jobs to make it possible. Now my job is creative and when I create I’m playing and creating playful experiences for others giving me that sense of doing a service for others.

“When people come back to work from true play vacations, they are eager and energised for work. Page 127

Play is nature’s greatest tool for creating new neural networks and for reconciling cognitive difficulties. The abilities to make new patterns, find unusual among common, and spark curiosity and alert aberrations are all fostered by being in a state of play” Page 127-128

I can’t change everyones work for them but I can create play vacations with my art installations. It could be at a festival over a weekend where they visit with their friends and family and all play together or it could an installation in the city centre which they stop and play with during their lunch time.

“Sometimes when a situation is really heading south, a moment of imaginative play is the only thing that provides enough distance to see the way out of a predicament” Page 131

Having an playful installation in a city centre or at a business park could be just what someone needs to allow them self to step back from the situation and then to go into work and approach the situation with a fresh new mind.

“Work matters, but we often allow day-to-day events at work to give us more anxiety than they are worth. Getting oneself into a play safe, however, masks the urgent purposefulness and associated anxiety of work, increasing efficiency and productivity.” Page 133-134

Having a moment of play will help creativity and innovation flow giving new ideas and different ways to approach problems.

“Allow yourself to be abundant in your creativity, at first not making judgements about what you think, feel, or do. Simply play with your ideas, with how you things.” Page 141

This mixture of playing with work will help you to become a master.

“People reach the highest levels of a discipline because they are driven by love, by fun, by play.” Page 143

The more I read the more I feel compelled to make playful installations near to peoples work places to give them a moment to play and in turn to become their best self.

It seems easy for us the loose play in our work. With all of our responsibilities it seems like play gets lost and pushed to one side. Today this is leading to mid-life crises as teens, in our twenties, thirties and forties. I particularly remember having one when I was about twenty. My husband was working for couple who are a bit older than us, we went to a birthday at their house. It was the first time I’d visited their home and it was so lovely and I felt this huge burden of how I am ever going to achieve this? It seemed impossible. Interestingly now I don’t have as lovely home as they did but I am happy, content. This must be because I get to play everyday, not only in my work, with my lovely dog, amazing husband and in my social life with my friends and family. Others aren’t as lucky as me, they’re lives and mind set just don’t allow for play.

“Most of the time, we have internalised society’s messages about play being a waste of time that we shame ourselves into giving up play.” Page 145

“Perhaps this fact lies behind the culturally supported idea that people who play are superficial, are not living in the really worlds, are dilettantes or amoral slackers.” Page 147

Thanks to Covid-19 I think this has changed a bit. Many of us have been given the gift of time and we’ve been encouraged to play outside and we’ve had to spend time with our families. I’m hopefully that this will continue to be encouraged to do this but I have a feeling that life will go back to what it was, full of busy-ness and the need to achieve.

“If we had a simple test for play like we do for diabetes or high blood pressure, we could look at a number and realise that we are in danger. But we don’t have such a test. Instead we have a smouldering, play-deficient sense that something is missing in life, that we are not getting the feeling of joy and energy that we once did. The question is how do we get the feeling back?” Page 150

Could playful art be part of the answer?

“There is no simple recipe for bringing back a sense of play in your life and work… There are ways to jump-start play… I find that physical activity – movement of any sort – has a way of getting past our mental defences.” Page 150

Maybe if it included movement. I try and encourage movement through my work, I feel that people get a lot more from it if they are physically involved. Until now it’s just been a hunch, it’s great to know that there additional benefits to playful movement.

“I conducted a study showing regular physical activity could help seriously depressed women rise out of their depressions.” Page 150

“The first three months were titanic struggles, but then the positive effects of conditioning, exercise, and group solidarity allowed the majority (some had dropped out) to note lessening their depressing and improved overall well-being.” Page 151

This is incredibly helpful to know. Health and well-being is a popular benefit that people want from art commissions. To have this as a fact will be really helpful for future applications. It encourages me to continue to include movement from the participants within my work and to continue to make interactive elements that encourage team.

“Body play is the first thing that shows up in evolution. Species capable of play show this in their exaggerated jumps, twists and turns, quirky off-balance to gain balance movements, done apparently because they are fun to experience.” Page 152

I’m up for continuing to make it happen. Being able to have installations that allow people to break from their day-to-day lives to help them bring play into their lives is the dream. I just need to make it happen!

The closing statement of chapter five is from James Michener’s autobiography:

“The master in the art of living makes little distinction between his work and his play, his labor and his leisure, his mind and his body, his information and his recreation, his love and his religion. He hardly knows which is which. He simply pursues his vision of excellence at whatever he does, leaving other to decide whether he is working or playing, To him, he’s always done both.” Page 152


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Chapter 4: Parenthood is child’s play

“We grow out of childhood and leave behind “childish things”. We feel that we shouldn’t act this way anymore, and get a sort of wilful amnesia for pure play experiences.” Page 78

I don’t feel like I’m this kind of person, I am playful and I feel like it’s inbuilt. I certainly remember being told and still being told “stop being silly Julia” by my mother who comes across as very serious but since being gifted with two fantastic grandchildren (thanks to my sister and brother-in-law) her play personality has come out, she is endlessly patient with them and plays with them all day long. Interestingly Stuart writes on the following page..

“I get the sense that adults feel that they themselves didn’t get it right, that they had something special and let it go. They don’t know where it went or how to get it back, but they would like to give their children (or grandchildren in my mum’s case) more options then they had.” Page 79

I don’t remember playing with my mum much as a child, we lived on a brilliant street where there was lots of kids all the same age, we all played outside together. Back then she would have been busy cooking our dinner and do all the things we don’t notice that our mums do. Now she has more time and can give Henri and Harri maybe something she feels we and her self missed.

Interestingly my dad was and is incredibly playful, he gets a lot of “stop being silly’s” and he’d play What’s the Time Mr Wolf when he got home from work with us before dinner and did a lot of imaginary play with me of an evening. Now as Grandad he likes reading his paper and drinking coffee after having a short play with the boys.

What I want to do as an artist is to make opportunities to play, if parents do feel like they want to encourage play there is an playful setting for the whole family to do it and have fun doing together and with other passers-by. I want to make work that is fun at all points in life.

Play at the beginning of life
Attunement

When a baby is is three or four months old and is well fed and safe, and mother is open and calm, when the baby and parent make eye contact they have a harmonic meeting of minds. They are synchronising the neural activity in the right cortex of their brains: Attunement.

“If we assume the neurophysiological models of animal play apply to us, then attunement (the base state of play) buffers the growing infant and child against excessive sores if emotion. It also helps orchestrate the symphony of genetic signals the govern optimal brain development during childhood, adolescence, and young adulthood.” Page 83

Pretty amazing stuff!

Body and Movement Play

“Movement is primal and accompanies all the elements of play we are examining, even words or image movement in imaginative play. If you don’t understand and appreciate human movement, you won’t really understand yourself or play. Learning about self-movement creates a structure for an individuals knowledge of the world – it is a way of knowing. Through movement we play, we think in motion.” Page 84

If you think about expressions we use to describe emotion interestingly there are a lot of movement words; closed, distant, open. And we: grasp, wrestle and stumble across ideas. I think about the sea squirt – couch potato they are still in motion which losses them their brain. Don’t be a sea squirt, move and your brain will develop.

“Movement play lights up the brain and fosters learning, innovation, flexibility, adaptability, and resilience. These central aspects of human nature require movement to be fully realised.” Page 84

We should definitely keep moving! Which I am doing now. I’m sat on a ball and every time I go to read the book I start bouncing and bounce along to the songs on the radio. It just makes me giggle as I write about playful movement – here I am writing about it and doing it at the same time!

“The play-driven pleasures associated with exploratory body movements, rhythmic early speech (moving vocal cords), locomotor and rotational activity are done for their own sake; they are pleasurable and intrinsically playful. Yet they also help sculpt the brain.”Page 85

I need to make sure my installations encourage movement to encourage body and movement play.

Object Play

Object play is about manipulating objects. It starts with spoons and teething rings, to toys, then to puzzles and footballs. In my case it could be manipulating my installations, touching them and pressing their buttons. Playing with objects in our hands helps us develop brains that are suited for understanding and problem solving. My husband is the worlds best problem solver, he must have done and continues to do lots of object play.

Imaginative Play

“Imagination is perhaps the most powerful human ability. It allows us to create simulated realities that can we explore without giving up access to the real world.” Page 86

Imaginative play nourishes our spirit and it is something we do throughout our whole life. Making up stories in our head, in my case imagination art works. I picture them in head long before they exist, many of them will never exist but I love imagining them and then drawing them out.

Imagination is key to emotional resilience and creativity, imagining helps us to develop empathy, understanding, trust and helps us with our coping skills.

This makes me think about Light Pavilion and the different things the audience imagined about it. I remember a friend telling Chris it must be about octopuses and he was so sure. His imagination did a brilliant job of convincing him. I’d love to know what the rest of the audience had imagined.

Social Play

Social play can be peekaboo to dancing in pub to your favourite band with your best mates.

“Humans are social animals, and play is the gas that drives the engine of social competence.” Page 87

It includes friendship and belonging, rough and tumble play, celebratory and ritual play (birthday parties), storytelling, narrative play, transformative-integrative and creative play.

I find Transformative-Integrative and Creative Play really interesting. I feel it really demonstrates the benefits of play…

Sometimes, though, in kids who are really stuck, play can provide a dramatic and obvious example of transformation. In the process of completing the PBS film series The Promise of Play, our crew was allowed to follow the progress of a nine year old girl who had been identified as depressed, friendless, and playless. At her school, time was set aside for her to work with a group called Positive Intervention Through Play, which was orchestrated by a teacher trained as a play therapist. We observed and filmed the girl over a four-month period. As she began to tap into basic play models, dance, play with toys in a dollhouse setting and so on, her isolative and inappropriate behaviour began to chance, and her mood lightened. At the last filming, the crew was in tears as she exuberantly and freely played on the playground with friends (who had previously shunned her due to her bizarre non playful behaviour) and was affectionate with her teacher. Her actual engagement in play, not coaching of her teachers had transformed her. Through play, her internal narratives had changed from sterile and sad to rich and imaginative.”Page 92-93

This is incredibly amazing and really shows how play can help our mental health. I am passionate about having work in the public realm to create chance encounters. I hope from doing this I can create playful opportunities for people who really need it, like this little girl and be able to help them to begin to transform their lives.

With families who provide healthy households play will come about naturally and bubbly up from inside their children. With love, a safe atmosphere and playfulness the play drive will naturally occur.

Sadly play and more playful subjects are being cut in schools, the book is American however I know the story is the same for the UK especially at second school. The system is being designed to provide a “skills-and-drills” approach with subjects like art and music being stopped. In some schools recess and physical education are being reduced and cancelled.

“The neuroscience of play has shown that this is the wrong approach, especially considering that students today will face work that requires much more initiative and creativity than the rote work this educational approach was designed to prepare them for.” Page 99

It’s thought that without play, optimal learning, social functioning, self control and other executive functions night not mature properly.

This makes me feel like artists roles are even more important to show that creativity can lead to great things along with creating creative and playful opportunities.

Learning and memory

Learning is an area I don’t have much experience about apart from my own learning. I am interested in bringing it into my artist practise, often commissioners like the audience to learn something about the site’s history. It does feel like a great benefit to bring in for the audience.

“Learning itself is enhanced by play.” Page 100. If I create an playful installation with a learning theme there is a higher chance that the audience will learn about it as they played while discovering it. This is further demonstrating on page 101:

“Play isn’t the enemy of learning, it’s learning’s partner. Play is like fertiliser for brain growth.”

To develop Light Pavilion I spent time attending Mini Engineers at the Transport Museum and Mini Makers at the Herbert Art Gallery & Museum. These are both incredibly playful sessions for under 5’s with loads of fantastic learning built in. They are both great examples of play being learning’s partner. To find more out about them follow @mummy_lous_crew and @aplaylife on Instagram.

“Learning and memory seem to be fixed strongly and last longer when learned through play.” Page 101

This means learning that is inbuilt to my commissions should be remembered by the viewer. This makes me even keener to build in learning to my installations.

“The state if play is one in which attention is focused exclusively on the pleasurable play activity, and memory fixation has been shown to closely related to heighten attention and emotional rewards.” Page 102

Gifts of Play

“The excited boy or girl tears into the wrapping to uncover the box, then opens the box to find the perfect gift that the parent has worked so hard to find… Imagine the family chagrin, then, when three little darling is more interested in playing with the box than the toy.” Page 103

“Parents should be happy about such a turn of events. It shows that their child has developed a healthy play drive, one that comes from their own fantasies and desires.” Page 104

This is exactly what happen with toddlers and Light Pavilion. I brought a ramp to make it accessible and kids loved sliding down it and banging it. They’d do this for agers, never mind the amazing light installation that they could play with they just liked the ramp! This is inspired me to research play, it just makes me laugh!

“Later, kids get toys that come straight out of the movies or TV shows, toys that come with a present collection of ideas about who the characters are and how should play with the toys. This kind of performed script can rob the child of the ability to create his own story… A chance for imaginative flights of fancy is lost.” Page 104

At the moment this is happening with my eldest nephew. He loves Spider Man. Personally I don’t think it is totally a bad thing, he is creating his scripts and stories within the characteristics. I suppose it’s keeping that balance being proscribed play and imaginative play.

“Authentic play comes from deep down inside us. It’s not formed or motivated solely by others. Real play interacts with and involves the outside world, but it fundamentally expresses the needs and desires of the player. It emerges from the imaginative force within. That’s part of the adaptive power of play: with a bunch of pleasure it integrates our deep physiological, emotional, and cognitive capacities. And quite without knowing it we grow” Page 104

If my nephew plays Spider Man spontaneously and involves his brother and the sofa (sometime the curtains) he is expressing his desire to play. He writes the script with his imaginative forces within; there he grows without knowing it. If a child slides down my ramp and makes it rattle and tat they express they’re need to play, using their imagination and world around them. They have grown without knowing it.

Coming into adulthood: sophomoric rites of adolescence

This area doesn’t come into my practise so much. I do want to make my work accessible to all ages, it’s good for me to have an understanding of teenagers and their play. I do really enjoy working with 13/14 year olds. I had my first experience with the V&A and Transport Museum for Design Lab Nation and my second with Ludic Rooms and Warwick Art Centre for MiLab. I really did love my groups, they were great kids and didn’t express any Kevin and Perry traits while I worked with them! After reading this section I really do feel for teenagers.

“… a whole new set of brain genes that have been silent since brith turn on, creating a flowering of new neural growth and pruning of the cortical neuronal trees at a level unmatched since our early development in the womb. As the neural tangle works itself out, kids can see the world in unique and surprising ways.”
Page 109

With all of this they have to grow up and prepare for the adult world, actually staying playful would be a big help.

“True mastery over a lifetime comes from one’s internal play compass. When parents and teacher push too hard to get kids to perform, children do not experience feels of competence and do to create from within their own sense of mastery.” Page 111

Maybe the reason the teenagers I worked with didn’t act up was because we were playing, they were playing with textiles and tech and being helped to master new skills in a playful way.

From child to adult

“If we are not completely full of ourselves or too serious, we can see that we can do a better job of helping our children be more joyful if we help ourselves remember how to play. If we are open to some self-evaluation, and do so with a lightness about our life opportunities, we will actually find a way to play” Page 122

If I create free, accessible ways to play that aren’t overly prescribed I hope adults can let go and let joy come and remember the pleasures of play. With inbuilt learning families can experience play together and will remember the experience. From the playful moment I hope they experience lightness opening them up to find ways to play throughout life.


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The sea squirt is one of our more ancient relatives. Its primitive nervous system is closely related to ours. Young sea squirts spend their time growing and exploring the sea. When they reach adulthood they attach them selves to a rock or boat’s hull for life. Now it doesn’t need to monitor the world as it did as a child sea squirt as the passing current provides the nutrients it needs to survive. The sea squirt becomes a couch potato! It digests it’s own brain “all work and no play make sea squirt a brain-eating zombie.” Page 48. The sea squirt is a brilliant example of use it or loose it.

Most animals grow lots of nerve connections as children and stop playing as adults and at this point their brain stop growing. But not humans.

“The brain can keep developing long after we leave adolescent and play promotes that growth. We are designed to be lifelong players, built to benefit from play at any age. The human animal is shaped by evolution to be the most flexible of all animals: as we play, we continue to changed and adapt into old age. Understanding why many animals stop playing in adulthood, and why humans don’t, help us further understand the role play has in adult life.” Page 48

Throughout our lives we can grow and develop our brains through play. What an amazing gift we have been giving. We should all try and play throughout our lives, we have the characteristic to be young forever and who doesn’t want that?

“In an individual who is well adjusted and safe, play very likely continues to prompt continued neurogenesis throughout our long lives.” Page 58

Dementia studies shows that play prevents mental decline as it stimulates the neurogenesis which is defiantly a reason to keep playing and making sure others are playing too. Making playful art installations gives people an invitation to play. I feel it is critical to have them in accessible places like parks and out on the street, not just art galleries but in the public realm to ensure as many people as possible are encouraged to play. It is thought that art is a play impulse.

“The newer thinking is that art and culture are something that the brain actively creates because it benefits us, something that arises out of the primitive and childlike drive to play.” Page 61

“Watch a two-year-old who is drawn to spontaneously dance to the beat of a summer and concert in the park. Fifteen years later, that kid may be consummate pianist or just sound hours humming and strumming a guitar. But the draw to rhythm and music were kindled by spontaneous playfulness when the band started laying during that long -summer. The emotions that fostered this embrace were not verbal nor a product of thoughts like “I think O’d like to be a musician.” They were promoted by a deeper, more primal process, which I believe Jaak has captured in his descriptions of processes that link brain stem (movement) to limb (emotional) to cortex (thought).” Page 61

As humans we have open hearts that are ready to play. Creating change encounters for play can lead to a world of possibilities. An interaction with one of my installations could lend a child to art in later life or help an adult reduce their likelihood of developing dementia.

Art and culture has the added benefit of bringing people together, it creates a deep none verbal communication that binds people together. It is a form of communication within it’s self. This makes me think of a day I visited Light Pavilion with my friend Shaun and a little girl was playing with Light Pavilion on her own, her mum was watching from a seat in the gallery. With no verbal communication the little girl indicated that she wanted to press the buttons that were higher up (I’d done this on purpose to get people working together), she went round one by one pressing the buttons and I picked her up for the ones she couldn’t reach. I don’t her name, she has no relation to me but I will never forget the playful moment we had together that she led.

Playful communication works for both adults and children:

“Taking part in this play is a way to put us in sync with those around us. It is away to tap into common emotions and thoughts and share them with others.” Page 63

I like to think I create these beautiful moments for people, like the one for me, Shaun and the little girl.

From this chapter I have learnt a lot, play keeps us developing, it creates stepping stones for our lives and brings us together. If you don’t play you’ll become like a sea squirt, keep playing and don’t stop! I’ll keep creating opportunities for people to play..

“When we stop playing, we stop developing, and when the happened, the laws of entropy take over – things fall apart. Ultimately, we share the fate of the sea squirt and become vegetative, staying in one spot, not fully interacting with the world, more plant than animal. When we stop playing, we start dying.” Page 73


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Play by Stuart Brown, M.D., with Christopher Vaughan

I love this book. It is so insightful into play. What I’m really pleased about is it covers adults and not just children. I think it’s really important for adults to continue to play and I want to create installations that gives them the opportunity to play. Understanding the value behind it will be really helpful.

Part One: Why Play?

Chapter one; the promise of play, chapter two; what is play, and why do we do it?

Accidentally I read all of chapter one and two, obviously it’s a very good book and there is some much good stuff I could write about. I want to try and keep the blog concise which I think is best represented in the example that Stuart Brown gave to HP engineers in pages 17-18.

“Apparently purposeless (done for it’s own sake)
Voluntary
Inherent attraction
Freedom from time
Diminished conscious of self
Improvisational potential
Continuation desire”

Play doesn’t have an obvious value, we understand why we eat and sleep, plays purpose isn’t as obvious, we play for it’s own sake. It is voluntary, we aren’t required to do it but we do. It’s inherent attraction, it is that is fun, it makes you feel good. Play gives us freedom from our day to day lives, time doesn’t matter within a playful moment. We diminish our conscious of self, we don’t worry about how we look when we play, we just let go and play. It has improvisational potential, there isn’t a set way to play or act when playing. Play provides a continuation desire, we desire to keep playing and the pleasure of the experience keeps us wanting to do it.

Play is “anticipation, surprise, pleasure, understanding, strength and poise.” Page 19

In my opinion play is beautiful. It shapes our brains as we grow, we learn through play, we can test out scenarios, grow relationships and experience a vast amount of joy.

The book speaks about adults who have introduced play back into their lives and their lives flourish as a result of it. This makes me think about my play, do I do enough? Would I mind tidying and cleaning less if I played more? To answer this question I am going to embark on a playful experience everyday this week and then see if I can tolerate the house work with grace!

The closing page for this section, page 44 speaks about the amazing outcomes of play and really demonstrates why we should play at all ages “The first steam engine was a toy. So were the first airplanes. Darwin got curious about evolution initially through collection samples from the seaside and garden where played as a kid… Fireworks in China preceded the cannon.”

“When we are not against life or death, trial and error brings out new stuff. We want to do this stuff not because we think that paper airplanes will lead to 747s. We do it because it’s fun. And many years later, the 747 is born” Pretty profound stuff. I wonder what the result of people playing with Light Pavilion will result in in years to come!


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It’s a mouth full of a title! The report was recommended at the V&A’s conference on Play back in November. It was a really interesting read. It’s written from the perspective of the need to prescribe play to families as the opportunity to play has reduced due to how we now live our lives.

The report highlights that play is great for joy, family relationships, stress for both the child and parent, learning and school readiness. Here are a lot of quotes that express this in many difference ways…

“The mutual joy and shared communication and attunement (harmonious serve and return interactions) that parents and children can experience during play regulate the body’s stress response.” page 1

“it is fun and often spontaneous. Children are often seen actively engaged in passionately engrossed play; this builds executive functioning skills and contributes to school readiness.” page 2

“Play is fundamentally important for learning 21st century skills, such as problem solving, collaboration, and creativity, which require the executive functioning skills that are critical for adults success.” page 2

“Play is not just about having fun but about taking risks, experimenting, and testing boundaries.” page 2

“Bruner et al stressed the fact that play is typically buffered from real-life consquences. Play is part of our evolutionary hertiage, occurs in a wide spectrum of species, is fundamental to health, and gives us opportunity to practice and hone skills needed to live in a complex world.” page 2

“Play and leaning are inextricably linked. A Russian psychologist recognised that learning occurs when children actively engage within a supportive social context. The accumulation of new knowledge is built on previous learning, but the acquisition of new skills is facilitated by social and often playful interaction.” page 2

“It has been demonstrated that children playing with toys act like scientists and learn by looking and listening to those around them.” page 3

“Successful programs are those that encourage playful learning in which children are actively engaged in meaningful discovery.” page 3

“In play, children are also solving problems and leaning to focus attention, all of which promote the growth of executive functioning skills.”page 5

“The benefits of play are extensive and well documented and include improvements in executive functioning, language, early math skills, social development, peer relations, physical development and health, and enhanced sense of agency.” page 6

“Children who were in active play for 1 hour per day were better able to think creatively and multitask.” page 6

“Playing with children adds value not only for the children but also for the adult caregivers, who can re-experience or reawaken the joy of their own childhood and rejuvenate themselves.” page 7

“Parents learn to see the world from their child’s perspective and are likely to communicate more effectively with their child” page 7

“Play enables children and adults to be passionately and totally immersed in an entity of their choice and to experience intense joy.”

“Positive parenting activities, such as playing and shared reading, result in decreases in parental experiences of stress and enhancement in the parent-child relationship, and theses effects mediate relationship between actives and social-emotional development.”page 7

“Most importantly, play is an opportunity for parents to engage with their child by observing and understanding nonverbal behnavoir in young infants, participating in serve and return exchanges, or sharing the joy and witnessing the blissing of the passions in each of their children. “page 7

Play not only provides opportunities for fostering children’s curiosity, self regulation skills, language development, and imagination but also promotes the dyadic reciprocal interactions between children and parents, which is crucial element of healthy relationships.” page 7

“Adults who facilitate a child’s play without being intrusive can encourage the child’s independent exploration and learning.” page 7

“cultivating the joy of learning through play is likely to better encourage long-term academic success. Collaboration, negotiation, conflict resolution, self advocacy, creativity, leadership. and increased physical activity are just some of the skills and benefits children gain through play.” page 8

In short play creates joyful discovery for the child and parent. To me this demonstrates the need the play. Interactive installations that are playful is a way to create an opportunity for families to do just this.

Today families are busy and life has been focussed on work, for some families there isn’t time for a play or a safe environment for them to play in. Where I live there is a play park in walking distance but I wouldn’t want my children to play there as I’m concern of drug use taking place. Both of these issues are shown below…

“For many families, there are risks in the current focus only on achievement, after-school enrichment programs, increased homework, concerns about test performance, and college acceptance.‍” page 8

“As a result, there is little time left in the day for children’s free play, for parental reading to children, or for family meal times.‍” page 8

“Unsafe local neighbourhoods and playgrounds have led to nature deficit disorder for many children. A national survey of 8950 preschool children and parents found that only 51% of children went outside to walk or play once per day with either parent. In part, this may reflect the local environment: 94% of parents have expressed safety concerns about outdoor play, and access may be limited.‍ Only 20% of homes are located within a half-mile of a park.” page 8

“Cultural changes have also jeopardised the opportunities children have to play.‍ From 1981 to 1997, children’s playtime decreased by 25%.‍ Children 3 to 11 years of age have lost 12 hours per week of free time.‍” page 8

From reading this I feel installations that make people feel safe would create brilliant opportunities for play. This could be within a gallery or outside. I feel that outside could work as positive interventions as families could be walking past in their day-to-day lives and feel comfortable spending 5 minutes playing. The installation could have properties that make it feel safe like use of lighting and openness. Interventions like this have been tried…

“An innovative program begun in Philadelphia is using cities (on everyday walks and in everyday neighborhoods) as opportunities for creating learning landscapes that provide opportunities for parents and children to spark conversation and playful learning.‍For example, Ridge et al have placed conversational prompts throughout supermarkets and laundromats to promote language and lights at bus stops to project designs on the ground, enabling children to play a game of hopscotch that is specifically designed to foster impulse control.”page 8

This has been a very interesting read for me. I had know about the benefits but hadn’t considered the barriers to play. This makes me feel more passionate about creating installation that are playful, making sure that they feel safe to use and having them in outside settings so they can used as part of a busy day.

These are the key points from the documents, although they are directed at paediatricians I feel that word can definitely be switched to artist..

“Paediatricians have a critical role to play in protecting the integrity of childhood by advocating for all children to have the opportunity to express their innate curiosity in the world their great capacity for imagination.” page 9

“Advocate for the potation of children’s unstructured playtime because of it’s numerous benefits, including the development of foundational motors skills that may have lifelong benefits of the prevention of obesity, hypertension, and type 2 diabetes.” page 10

“Children take the lead and follow their own curiosity.” page 10

“In today’s world, many parents do not appreciate the important of free play or guided play with their children and have come to think of worksheets and other high structured actives as play. Although many parents feel they do not have time to play with their children, paediatricians can help parents understand that playful learning moments are everywhere.” page 10

“Active play stimulates children’s curiosity and helps them develop the physical and social skills needed for school and later life.” page 10

“Cultural shifts, including less parent engagement because of parents working full-time, fewer safe places to play, and more digital distractions, have limited the opportunities for children to play. These factors may negatively affect school readiness, children’s healthy adjustment, and the development of important executive functioning skills.” page 11

“Play is intrinsically motivated and leads to active engagement and joyful discovery.” page 11

“With our understanding of early brain development, we suggest that learning is better fuelled by facilitation the child’s intrinsic motivation through play rather than extrinsic motivations, such as test scores.” page 11

“Play helps to build the skills required for our changing world” page 11


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