Elements of Play

Play is difficult to define because it is complex. Many scholars find that  describing play is easier than defining it. To help advance discourse around a definition of play, research undertaken at The Strong suggests that six basic elements—anticipation, surprise, pleasure, understanding, strength, and poise—are present each time someone plays fully. The Strong explores these elements of play in its Field of Play exhibit, and Scott G. Eberle, the museum’s vice president of play studies, writes about them in the next issue of The Strong’s American Journal of Play. Both feature the chart below.

Elements of Play chart© 2014 The Strong®

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Elements of Play by The Strong is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.