hand-made play notes from a collaborative + open research project investigating, enjoying, and learning from the self-initiated non-commercial play of children in Tokyo

Resources (bit-by-bit, some by me, most by others)

Patterns of Play Research

Rough categorization working draft of gender/age/materials/concepts for Patterns of Play research. 108 examples of self-initiated, non-commercial play: View Data Sheet.

Playtime in Africa: Site and Global Supporters

I’m honoured that this research, and the 雨の日の宝物(Rainy Day Treasures) Pamphlet was a source of inspiration for the Playtime in Africa project that aims to “turn two acres of land in the Dzorwulu neighborhood into a groundbreaking natural playspace”.
Global supporters map [HERE]
Playtime in Africa WEBSITE

Articles / Presentations

(Me, 2011) Understanding the Child-Scale in the City (1): Excerpts from Rainy Day Treasures (雨の日の宝物)
“Start developing an idea of (non)designing for playing.”
(Benfield, 2001) Imagining cities as a kid growing up in the Bible Belt
“As a kid living with working-class parents in a small, sleepy southern city, I mostly imagined – rather than experienced – larger, historic cities of consequence.”
(Donahoo, 2011) Toca Boca: Social Play on the iPad
What Toca Boca have turned to is how to make apps that engage children in domestic role playing in a digital environment.
(Easton, 2011) Our children need time not stuff
“…the pressure of the working environment and rampant materialism combine to damage the well-being of our children.”
(Free Play Network) PLACES for PLAY: Exhibition
Illustrating “some of the many imaginative ways of creating play environments.”
(Gill, 2004) Bred in Captivity
“For the first time in 4 million years of human history, we are effectively trapping children indoors”
(Gill, 2005) In Need of an Unlevel Playing Field
“It’s time to scrap steel corrals and let children get to grips with the natural world”
(Gill, 2011) The End of Zero Risk in Childhood?
“The time is right to move beyond health and safety debates to an expansion of our children’s horizons”
(Lester and Russell, 2010) Children’s right to play (PDF)
An examination of the importance of play in the lives of children worldwide.
(Loring, 2010a) Designers of the Future
“…the increasing importance of involving play across all platforms as an important training ground for kids to understand greater complexity and introduce new ways of seeing.”
(Loring, 2010b) Sandbox Summit
“…the Summit is a collaborative event focused on how media and design influence children’s education and perspectives of society.”
(Loring, 2010c) Serious Play at the Sanbox Summit
2010 Sandbox Summit®, “iPlay, YouPlay, Wi iPlay: How Play is Changing Media and Media is Changing Play,”
(Naughton, 2011) Kids today need a licence to tinker
“Forget the old approach of the national curriculum, we need to open young minds to the creative possibilities of computing”
(Phillips & Phillips, 2011) Designing Cities with Children in Mind
” The Playtime in Africa Initiative: taking two acres of undeveloped land and transforming them into a child-centric, play-friendly public centre where the entire community can re-imagine 21st century urban living.”
(Seargeant Richardson, 2010) The Four Secrets of Playtime That Foster Creative Kids
“Our world is increasingly filled with play that makes kids passive consumers instead of active creators. Here’s how we can change that.”
(Seargeant Richardson, 2011a) Play Power: How to Turn Around Our Creativity Crisis
The division between work and play is a myth. If America is going to teach its youth to innovate, we need to unite the two.
(Seargeant Richardson, 2011b) Shaping The Future of Play
“Play is our greatest natural resource, so how do we make sure that our kids are playing in the right way?”
(Shackell, Butler, Doyle and Ball, 2008) Design for Play: A guide to creating successful play spaces (PDF)
For commissioners and designers of children’s play areas. It is non- statutory guidance to ‘playbuilder’ local authorities.
(Stout, 2011) Effort to Restore Children’s Play Gains Momentum
“..a growing movement to restore the sometimes-untidy business of play to the lives of children.”
(Wolfe, 2011) Rediscovering the Urban Eye of a Child
“Acknowledging an inherited penchant for city observation only spurred a further question—will my own children, now college age, have similar inclinations?”


(Bronson, 1995) The Right Stuff for Children Birth to Eight: Selecting Play Materials to Support Development
(Certeau, 1984) The Practice of Everyday Life
“..examines the ways in which people individualise mass culture, altering things, from utilitarian objects to street plans to rituals, laws and language, in order to make them their own.”
(Gill, 2007) Growing Up in a Risk Averse Society (PDF download)
“..advocates a philosophy of resilience that will help counter risk aversion and strike a better balance between protecting children from genuine threats and giving them rich, challenging opportunities through which to learn and grow.”
(Hurtwood, 1968) Planning for Play (Buy Used)
“The Adventure Playground quite simply tries to answer one question: What kind of play did we all most enjoy when we were young and how can we best provide these opportunities in a crowded city?”
(Katz, 2004) Growing Up Global: Economic Restructuring and Children’s Everyday Lives
“…a provocative account of development and global change through the perspective of children’s lives…”
(Pesce, 2001) The Playful World: How Technology Is Transforming Our Imagination
“[A] thought-provoking look at how these gifted researchers turn theories into realities far beyond anything we can imagine, things that would have seemed like magic only a generation ago.” - The Dallas Morning News
(Ward, 1979) The Child in the City. Magnificent.


Neighborhood Play, Every Day
Mike Lanza‘s presentation at the Craigslist Foundation Boot Camp.
Making a Magical Children’s App: The Toca Boca Approach
CTR’s Warren Buckleitner interviews Toca Boca’s CEO Björn Jeffery on the process of making apps.

Websites / Resources

Fair Play for Children
Promoting the Child’s Right to Play since 1973 in the UK and Worldwide according to the Convention on the Rights of the Child.
Free Play Network
An independent voice for play.
An informal organization for the promotion of creative international exchange amongst children and young people.
A New Culture of Learning (Douglas Thomas & John Seely Brown)
“..exploring play, innovation, and the cultivation of the imagination as cornerstones of learning..”
Playtime in Africa Initiative (Mmofra Foundation)
Advocates for open space in the built environment for children, as well as thoughtful child-centered design of outdoor and indoor spaces.
“Free, unstructured play (or what we refer to as simply “play”) has virtually vanished from the lives of most children in America. We are committed to doing whatever we can to bring it back for our children and yours.”
Rethinking Childhood (Tim Gill)
One of the UK’s leading thinkers on childhood and an effective advocate for change.
..”a programming language that makes it easy to create your own interactive stories, animations, games, music, and art — and share your creations on the web.”
SuperPowers of Play (Laura Seargeant Richardson
“From education to play consumption, we have unknowingly created a society of game players rather than game designers — and that’s an important distinction.”


Little Frogs
An interactive consultancy specialising in children and youth.
Mammoth School
A project which aims to create a new standard of education with the goal of nurturing children that become adults who are knowledgeable about and inspired to take responsibility for the sustainability of the world.
Toca Boca
A very nice play studio that makes digital toys for kids.


Me – @a_small_lab
Play (list) – http://twitter.com/#!/a_small_lab/play