Play as an educational concept is vital, but it’s also amorphous and hard to define. As curriculums increasingly focus on measurables like vocabulary and math skills, education becomes more quantifiable and less fun. Enter Laura Richardson: toy design consultant, play expert, and creator of the “Periodic Table Of Play.”
The table breaks play into 11 distinct categories populated with related actions and qualities, effectively codifying the uncodifiable. Bring it with you the next time you’re at the playground and you’ll start to see how time in the sandbox is spent “manipulating” or “morphing,” while time on the jungle gym is spent “moving” or “questing” – and the specific ways that they differ from each other.
Richardson envisions a day when standardized testing can assess more than just kids’ mental storage capacity; with the Table as a starting point, maybe it can assess a mind’s acuity, too. And that would be more fun for everyone.