Top Video Picks

Over the past few weeks, the America at Play: Play Stories Video Contest has received dozens of fun and creative videos that illustrate the way Americans play, now and in years past. Browsing through all of them takes some time, so I wanted to share a few of my personal favorites and guide you to the ones that I think shouldn’t be missed. Click on the picture to view the video!

Bicycle Tag

Though it was the first submission to the contest, this video remains one of my favorites. This fond, lighthearted, and somewhat cautionary tale of bicycle tag could serve as a how-to for aspiring “ghostriders.” The user also added some very expressive cartoons that I thought captured the essence of the game perfectly.

Causing Mischief

I happily admit that, in this case, I’m biased, because this is a video of my grandfather. In my defense, he has a very vivid memory and dozens of stories to tell about growing up in Rochester, New York. I found myself surprised and amused by his childhood exploits, and think his video proves just how rewarding it can be to take the time to sit down with loved ones and hear their memories.

Father and Son = Family Fun

This adorable and well-crafted video will surely put a smile on your face. It tells the story of all the fun a father has while playing with his young son, and is sure to elicit “awww”s from viewers. It serves as a wonderful and heartwarming testament to the importance of play, regardless of your age.

Army Games on the Playground

This young man offered to tell me his memory of playing with friends when I was capturing videos in the museum. In his clip, he talks about the army games he plays with his friends, all based on a story he wrote called “Mini People Wars.” It shows just how creative kids are, how intricate and imaginative their games can be, and also attests to how play can be an extension of an activity such as reading or writing.

It’s Howdy Doody Time

This submission caught my attention for its subject matter, unlike anything else in the contest. The narrator recalls visiting the set of the 1950s children’s television program The Howdy Doody Show when he was very young. His appreciation of the disconnect between the set’s reality and the illusion created on television offers a unique personal experience, one that I loved hearing about.

2 Min. Jay Play

This video is worth watching for its creative compilation of fantastic childhood photographs that bring the contestant’s story to life. I found the photos expressive, amusing, and effective in capturing some wonderful playtime moments that provided a glimpse into a fun-filled childhood.

Adventure People

This great video shows the contestant, now in his 30’s, having fun with the same Adventure People toys he played with as a youngster. Not only does he still have his toys—they haven’t been given away or forgotten in a dark corner of the basement—and his video provides proof that you never grow too old to play.

My Runners Up:

Cardboardy

Easy Bake Oven

Getting in Trouble on the Farm

Magic Shows

My Game

Playing Dog

Sing to your own tune

Sledding

Don’t forget, it’s not too late to submit your own video or vote for your favorites! Visit the America at Play: Play Stories Video Contest to find out how. The contest ends April 15, 2011.