America at Play Contest Winners!

The America at Play: Play Stories Video Contest ended on Friday, April 15, and the results are in! Voters selected the first, second, and third place winners: How WE Play in Justin, TX, Dance, and My Game. All three videos prove that play doesn’t end when you become an adult; “grownups” embrace and enjoy play too! Congratulations to the prize winners and thanks to everyone who submitted a video to the contest. You’re to be commended for your dedication, creativity, and love of play.

In addition to the prizes determined by popular vote, the Curators’ Choice Award allowed a panel of play experts to celebrate a video that, in their view, went above and beyond contest requirements. As it turned out, selecting just one video for that award proved a daunting task!

Reviewing the contest’s nearly 100 submissions revealed impressive variety and appealing qualities. Some used props and demonstrations. Others employed advanced editing techniques. Some contestants included family photos and video footage, while others told colorful and well-narrated stories. Browsing the videos, you can experience the thrill of successful parachute deployment with Adventure People; meet Cardboardy, a friendly and much-loved cardboard companion; learn the finer points of bicycle tag; discover the adventures of the princess and her Star Wars guy; get transported into a creative and spontaneous game of backyard baseball; journey to ancient Rome; and hear a charming rendition of “Down by the Bay.” Needless to say, there were dozens of viable options for the award.

After much discussion, the panel selected Micro Machines Memories for the Curators’ Choice Award. In it, Justin tells about a thriving and active city of Micro Machines, complete with a Back to the Future DeLorean, a police cruiser, a lake for motorboats, crashes and spills, and dozens of other exploits. The toys kept Justin, his brother, and his sister—if she was lucky—occupied for hours, imagining new playtime scenarios and cultivating their Micro Machine city. A Micro Machine car even brightened a long hospital stay when Justin was eight years old. The well-crafted video stars the Micro Machine toys and embodies the essence of the contest’s theme of playing with friends.

But with so many contenders for the Curators’ Choice Award, the team also wanted to recognize a number of videos for honorable mention, including Adventure People, Bicycle Tag, Cardboardy, Princess Star Wars, Summer of 94, and 2min. Jay Play.

Although the contest has come to an end, it’s not too late to share your story! The Strong will continue collecting play memories to preserve in the museum’s permanent archive and contribute to the America at Play exhibit currently in development. Though we have a wide variety of videos, there are countless stories we have yet to hear. Did you ever have an adventure with nothing more than a cardboard box? Was dress up your favorite playtime activity? Were your games inspired by a favorite movie or television show? Make sure your story is heard too! Visit America at Play: Play Stories to find out more.