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Description Itinerary Playhouse Playful Approaches Issues in Play 

Invention at Play: Issues in Play—Past, Present, and Future
Invention at Play: Issues in Play—Past, Present, and Future
Smithsonian photo by Richard Strauss
Issues in Play—Past, Present, and Future This area, with its banner message, "Shape your thinking through play," encourages visitors to reflect upon questions and debates in the history and future of play.

Experimental playthings from the Lifelong Kindergarten program at MIT's Media Lab demonstrate how microprocessors equipped with sensors and tiny motors can be used with traditional craft materials in new kinds of play. Examples of these playful inventions are featured in the exhibition. They also form the basis for gallery demonstrations for which staff training will be provided.

A collage of historic and current toys and games, including many artifacts from the collections of the National Museum of American History, resonate with visitors' recollections about play. Questions in this area include: "Have you ever played with toys and games like those in the nearby cases and drawers?" and "Do you see a link between how you played as a child and what you do now?" Responses from inventors and innovators gleaned from Lemelson Center interviews and other sources are displayed next to their favorite playthings. Visitors can also leave their own answers to this question in a comment book, or draw designs for a toy that they would like to invent.

Two videos invite visitors to listen to educators, child development specialists, historians, inventors, and children themselves reflect on some of the current questions and debates about the present and future of play.


Description Itinerary


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