Play is Good!

Tony Whitfield, product design department chair at Parsons School of Design’s, writes about his students in The Rituals of Play: Their projects “investigated the role play performs in ideation and experimentation, in design as a professional practice, and in creativity as a means for learning, socialization, and individuation.”

Huh? Recent graduate Carly Yates distills this into lay terms: “the pieces themselves are playful or have the user playing.” Carly’s project, Dyslexia and Play, gives physical form to her finding that “dyslexic people are good at recognizing patterns, so the whole game is designed according to pattern and pattern shifting.” Not coincidentally, Dyslexia and Play bolsters a dyslexic person’s self-esteem.

Jin Ah Lee’s My Car is a full-sized car for children that is customizable to their personality and size. My Car takes a jab at the one-size-fits-all attitude of mass-produced kiddie cars and gets a child to articulate his or her preferences.

Then there is Aviva Maya Shulem’s tWist, a big multicolored tube that can be manipulated into a variety of shapes and, thanks to its magnetic ends, lengths. Although tWist may “investigate the role play performs in ideation,” it’s also just plain fun.

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