Venturing into Barbie’s World

Venturing into Barbie’s World

In August 2015, I received a research fellowship from The Strong that provided funds for me to come to the museum to study artifacts and printed materials from its vast collection. My dissertation work focuses on studying interactions with Barbie among Puerto Rican females, making The Strong the ideal destination to build my understanding of…

Seeing Is Believing: Play Twister!

Seeing Is Believing: Play Twister!

When Twister’s three developers brought the concept to game publisher Milton Bradley in 1966, the firm agreed, initially, to manufacture the game. All it took was a demonstration of the play and they were persuaded. Twister’s play was simple and innovative. It had few rules, and never before had a boxed game’s players served as…

Puppets Stage a Big Showing in the National Toy Hall of Fame

Puppets Stage a Big Showing in the National Toy Hall of Fame

Maybe you read a blog I wrote about four years ago proclaiming (politely, of course) that the puppet belonged in the National Toy Hall of Fame. That year, 2011, the dollhouse and Hot Wheels cars took their places among the classic toys in the hall—which may suggest that my talents at prognostication are somewhat wanting….

Super Soaker Joins National Toy Hall of Fame

Super Soaker Joins National Toy Hall of Fame

The National Toy Hall of Fame is awash in good news these days. On November 5, 2015, The Strong announced that Super Soaker—along with puppets and the game Twister—joined the 56 classic toys in the hall of fame. Kids had water toys before the Super Soaker debuted in 1990, but the drenching machine altered the…

Random Knowledge: Brain Games

Random Knowledge: Brain Games

“All right, play time is over; it’s time to get your head in the game,” my friend Lauren sternly implores our team. We’ve been through six rounds. By our calculations, we must only be behind our chief rivals by a few points. Our highly competitive team has its regular starting line-up this week, and we…

Work vs. Play: Do I Even Call This Work?

Work vs. Play: Do I Even Call This Work?

An interesting dynamic exists between work and play. In my last blog, I discussed how domestic chores can be play. The work versus play issue came to mind recently since so much of what I do in my current job is playing (just don’t tell my boss that). When it comes to a career, I…

Reader Beware—You’re in for a Scare!

Reader Beware—You’re in for a Scare!

Childhood is sometimes punctuated with brief but potent moments of blinding fear. Children often have imaginations that run amok and dark, isolated places are perceived as settings of unspeakable horrors that must be avoided at all costs. Kids can convince themselves (and some of us, even as adults, are still convinced) that horrible creatures await…

Let There Be Light

Let There Be Light

What do you get when you take a grand Victorian mansion, all of its ornately detailed furnishings, wallpaper, wooden flooring, and inhabitants (including pets!), and shrink them down to 1/12 their natural size? Well, a dollhouse, of course!   Dollhouses were a passion for museum founder Margaret Woodbury Strong Strong, as they have been for…

Go Greyhound!

Go Greyhound!

From my childhood, I seem to recall an early TV advertising ditty that ended with: “Lucky us in a Greyhound bus!” Growing up in a village too small for Greyhound service, my introduction to the transportation line came from ads in magazines, newspapers, and television and from glimpses of Greyhound buses in movies, songs, and…

Art and Creativity with Lite-Brite

Art and Creativity with Lite-Brite

What is it about light that makes it so appealing as an element of play? One of my recent blogs focused upon glow-in-the-dark toys that use phosphors and a form of light emission known as photoluminescence to provide a familiar greenish glow. I also described chemiluminescence, a form of light emission dependent upon a chemical…