TASP Play Scholars Gather in Martian Landscape!

TASP Play Scholars Gather in Martian Landscape!

Studying play yields crucial insight into fields such as history, psychology, anthropology, biology, dance, ecology, education, ethology, folklore, leisure and recreation studies, musicology, philosophy, psychiatry, developmental psychology, neuroscience, sociology, mathematics, and the arts. There are others, too. In short, play is important. Yet you’ll find no Department of Play Studies at your local university. In…

Punxsutawney Phil, Ritual, and Prognostication as Play

Punxsutawney Phil, Ritual, and Prognostication as Play

Once heading upward in the enforced conviviality of a chairlift I was so sure I knew the other rider—a jolly, talkative, round-faced fellow—that I asked if we knew each other. We didn’t. He wanted to know if he looked familiar. I said he did as a matter of fact, but something didn’t look right about…

No Having Fun at the Beach!

No Having Fun at the Beach!

Here’s an amusing news item that’s got me a little steamed. Killjoys in Los Angeles County have passed a rule against play. Maybe you’ve heard of it. A 37-page ordinance recently promulgated prohibits any person “upon or over any beach” between Memorial Day and Labor Day “to cast, toss, throw, kick, or roll” any object…

Garth Fagan: Play and the Innovative Dancer

Garth Fagan: Play and the Innovative Dancer

As an educator, I’m curious about how childhood play and learning experiences shape individuals at the top of their creative fields. Recently I asked Garth Fagan, Tony Award winning choreographer of the Lion King, just that question. “As a child,” Fagan began, “I loved anything that got me moving.” One of his favorite haunts, an…

When Chewing is Play: The Dood and His Toys

When Chewing is Play: The Dood and His Toys

If you have ever owned a puppy, you know how they like to chew and chew and then chew some more. Puppies are chewing machines. They chew to celebrate when they’re happy. They chew to calm themselves when they’re anxious. They chew to soothe their erupting teeth and ease the ache in their growing jaws….