Free Play, Back in the Day

Free Play, Back in the Day

As kids, we would sometimes say, as a mean joke, “He’s so dumb, he forgot how to play!” We thought it was funny then—as 10 year olds. But it’s hardly a laughing matter, then or now. The worry today comes with the knowledge that more and more kids aren’t learning how to appreciate free play—the…

Back in the Day: Early Television for Kids

Back in the Day: Early Television for Kids

“Plunk yer magic Twanger, Froggy!” Back in the early 1950s, these magic words enabled that impudent rubber frog known professionally as Froggy the Gremlin to suddenly appear out of nowhere on The Buster Brown Show. Materializing in a puff of smoke and uttering his famous “Hiya kids; Hiya, Hiya!” greeting, Froggy’s subsequent antics and smart…

Musick Has Charms to Sooth a Savage Breast

Musick Has Charms to Sooth a Savage Breast

Music is one of the first forms of play we engage in as infants, noted The Strong’s Vice President for Play Studies, Scott G. Eberle, in his American Journal of Play article, “Playing with the Multiple Intelligences: How Play Helps Them Grow.” Music plays a critical role in our development. Our subsequent education practically depends…

Gridiron Memories

Gridiron Memories

Yes, it’s that time of year again. Football teams all across the country are well into their fall schedules with countless fans flocking to see their favorite clashes, anticipating the season’s end with that American tradition—the Super Bowl. Though I played both football and baseball in high school, I have to admit that football was…

Happiness Is a Good Vacation

Happiness Is a Good Vacation

Vacationing has a long tradition for working folks the world over. Most of us look forward each year to taking any break(s) we may have earned from the routines of everyday living. We all anticipate and welcome regular periods of relaxation during which we say to ourselves, “I’m on vacation now, and I will do…

Play and the Core of Happiness

Play and the Core of Happiness

Jennifer Giambrone’s blog Nostalgia: It’s Good For You! told us about the importance of preserving memories. Our good memories remind us that we have value, that we are happy (or, at least, can be), and that life does in fact have meaning. In Once Upon a Time, I tried to convey much the same thing—that…

Playing with Living Pictures: Clockwork Tableaux

Playing with Living Pictures: Clockwork Tableaux

Imagine that it’s January 1896. To your dismay, you find yourself stuck at your aunt’s house one particularly dreary winter day with absolutely nothing to do. Your aunt’s parlor is cold, with the wind whistling in through the single-pane windows and the wood fire barely taking an edge off the chill. Even worse, there’s nothing…

Dolls and their Care

Dolls and their Care

Here at The Strong, we take dolls seriously. Archeological evidence places dolls among the very oldest playthings and proves that children have enjoyed them since ancient times. More recently, dolls played an important part in the life of the museum’s founder, Margaret Woodbury Strong. Margaret started collecting dolls as a girl and amassed more than…

The Squirrel Says “Go Fish”

The Squirrel Says “Go Fish”

Some 135 years ago, four squirrels romping merrily through the woods met an unfortunate end. But, fortunately for us, those squirrels found a place in a playful diorama in the museum’s collections. Situated in a well-decorated parlor, the four squirrels are now posed in an eternal game of cards. That made them a perfect illustration…

Capturing your Past for our Future

Capturing your Past for our Future

In my May 12 blog, I noted that the museum will soon be embarking on an important project—collecting play histories from all of you. These firsthand recollections and stories will help us bring new life to the objects in the Strong’s collection and will add a new dimension to the meaning of play for us…