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Pursuing Play, NOT Greed

In our previous blog post, we saw how a multibillion dollar company makes money by habituating parents and children, using the science of psychology to pull it off. Here, by contrast, is what we at Play Tectonics are doing for children by applying the science of play.

We Identify Play as an Energy Form

As opposed to plugging kids into their screens, big or small, we show educators how kids can be immersed in the nutrients of Play. By harnessing and directing Play Energy into their hands and minds, kids learn to love learning in the Playground of their minds.

Play has a profound presence inside the human brain. In fact, Play is an invention of the brain. It’s as if the brain understood that it needed emotions to warm up cognition in order to learn–and evolved a behavior that is arguably the best side of human nature. In a clinical study I conducted with W. Thomas Bass, Bonnie L.Burke, and L. Matthew Frank, tasks that incorporated play were shown to Increase cerebral cortical blood volume compared to the same tasks absent the element of play. This was measured to be particularly true for children. The Project was published in the Journal of Child Neurology.

When Play is injected into the flow of communication, it creates experience fueled by fun, spontaneity, and safety; I like to call this flow – which is neither attached to, nor dependent on technology – the Play-Communication Wavelength. Play-Based Communication stimulates articulation, behavior, and knowledge – all of which can add measurably to Tech's role as a tool rather than as slick-looking solution for everything.

Largely unknown and unobvious, yet firmly established as the simple basis of two utility patents, the benefits and discoveries of Play-Based Communication are found in an innovation reminiscent of Japanese origami and other paper craft which we call PuppetoolsTM or ‘Play Language’. Recorded in the annals of neuroscience, the innovation is based on a folded paper hinge, which provides users with a practical, economical springboard for leaping into the world of ‘handheld ideas’, far beyond the familiar ornamental paper craft – and far, far beyond the slick-swipe realm of Technology.

Just as the sun that warms and produces life on Earth, Play is the solar energy of curiosity and learning. Play Language propagates the natural growth of handheld ideas and symbols that kids’ minds are already attuned to. Rooted in Play, these living ideas are made of the same quality of thinking that kids are born with. Albert Einstein wrote, “We shall require a substantially new manner of thinking if mankind is to survive.” The Language of Play is what Einstein must have had in mind.

Over the course of my 40-year journey into Play, I had the opportunity to present these ideas to brain scientists from all over the world when the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (O.E.C.D, Paris) invited me to present original papers on Play, Media, and Learning. Additionally, I have shared conversation and writings, spent time, enjoyed dinners with the following figures in the field of brain science: Dr. Stuart L. Brown, Founder, The National Institute for Play; the late Britton Chance in his lab at the University of Pennsylvania; with Frank A. Wilson, author of The Hand: How its Use Shapes the Brain, Language, and Human Culture; and of course my extended collaboration with the late Paul D. MacLean, who was Senior Research Scientist Emeritus in the Department of Neurophysiology at the National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland, and opened the door to his mind and pre-published writings, invited me into his lab, and made time for extended phone conversations to explore the nature of Play...something of a miracle for this largely unknown independent inventor and citizen scientist!

- Jeff Peyton, Founder

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