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ALL ‘PLAY’ MEANS
SOMETHING, EXPLORE.
“By removing and supressing the acts of natural play, do we restrain
ourselves creatively?”
This research will explore my research findings on ‘Play’ and, if any it’s impact
and connections to creativity. The research follows a group of 12 participants,
which were divided into 2 separate groups as they engaged in set tasks and
exercises focused around ‘Play’, one group were encouraged to use ‘Play’, and
the other group restricted in only being able to use pens and paper to participate
in the exercises.
The main focus behind this was to examine the findings and find a pattern in the
results leading to my hypothesis on whether or not restricting play can restrain
people creatively.
To start making the students think about and engage in the acts of play I used
an exercise created by a man named Robert McKim who was an author and
professor at Stanford University in the late 1960’s, I gave the students 30
seconds and asked them to draw the person sitting next to them as quickly as
they could. The room became very loud and frantic very fast and the
participants became more and more animated as the time went on.
Once I asked the class to show their drawings the reaction changed and was
consistent throughout the entire class, there was a lot of embarrassment,
awkward laughing and apologies in the room. However this was the whole point
of this exercise, the exercise is designed to highlight that, we as now young
adults fear the judgment of our piers, of our classmates and the people around
us and how we’re embarrassed about showing our ideas.
However, McKim found that when you do this exact same study with children the
reactions are quite the opposite, children show no embarrassment or
awkwardness and are actually really proud to show their ‘masterpiece’ to anyone
and everyone who wants to see it.
Children are more engaged with open possibilities. When they come across
something new they will ask what is it, but most importantly they’ll ask what can
they do with it? And I believe its this openness of children that is the beginning of
‘Exploratory Play’ and that that’s something as adults we lose our sense of
Exploratory Play and that has an effect on the way we encounter new challenges
and obstacles in everyday life.
“To play a game is to engage in activity directed towards bringing about a specific state of affairs,
using only means permitted by rules, where the rules prohibit more efficient in favour of less efficient
means, and where such rules are accepted just because they make possible such activity.”
(Suits, B.1990 p34)
THE MASTERPIECES
“Fear causes us to be
conservative with our
thinking” (Tim Brown –
Tales of Creativity and
Play, 2008)
Something really interesting, but also
quite sad happened when I took the
questionnaires back when the
intervention was finished, 2 boxes were
left unfilled, so even in the exercise I
had used only to explain to the
students and make them think about
how we as adults are afraid to show our
work 2 of the participants chose to
leave them out.
OTHER RESEARCH STUDIES
Jeffrey Dansky 1980; “Does engaging in play facilitate creativity? There are a wide number
studies that provide evidence that pretend play facilitates divergent thinking in nursery
school children” (Dansky and Silverman 1973). Dansky and Silverman found that children
who played with toys or day to day objects during a free play session produced more and
more uses for those objects than a control group
Smith and Whitney (1987) criticized Dansky’s methodology, and raised the issue of Dansky’s
unconscious experimenter bias because the same experimenter administered the play
intervention and the divergent-thinking task. They had different experimenters administer
the play segment of their study and the divergent-thinking portion. Their study failed to
confirm that play enhances divergent thinking in preschool children.
THINKING
WITH YOUR
HANDS
For the next activity I handed out a4 paper and pens to
group one and for group 2 I gave out Play- Doh, rolling pins
and dough cutters as well as a3 pages to act as a canvas
and something to write on, this was purposely constructed
to both fully restrict creativity in group 1 and to maximise
the creative potential in group 2. Each group had 10
minutes to try to explain to me their understanding of
Interactive Media, I chose interactive media because it can
be defined in a number different ways and it would be
interesting to see what way the second years interpreted
the subject matter using only the tools I provided for them.
GROUP 1
Whilst observing each group I took opportunities to walk around the room and
take note of the reactions and behaviours of each individual to get a better
scope of the effects each task was having on the participants.
As expected group 1, who were only allowed to use pens and paper get very
agitated and bored very quickly, it was as if they had lost interest immediately,
at one point a participant even asked me how long was left? Again this behaviour
was expected from Group 1 but also there were attempts and cracks of creative
potential trying to get through in that one participant used colourful gel pens and
playful shapes to help pictate her idea and concept of interactive media.
“Creativity means a persons capacity to produce new or original ideas, insights, restricting,
inventions, or artists objects, which are accepted by experts as being of scientific, aesthetic,
social, or technological value”
(Vernon, 1989,
pg94)
GROUP 2
The results I got back were very positive and we got some really creative outcomes, some people
used key terms to describe their creation such as ‘Typography’, ‘Colour’, ‘Design’ and ‘Space’. We
then had a participant describe Interactive Media as something that “Will lead you to a bright
future”. But for me one of the most interesting pieces was from a first year student, which is the
picture in the middle he states “Getting from one place to another trying to create something new!
The ‘S’ represents the start and the ‘F’ represents the finish and its about the journey of hitting
corners and edges, trying new ideas to then reach the finish.
Behavioral
Differences
Findings & Statistics
0 1 2 3 4 5 6
Stongly Disagree
Disagree
Neither
Agree
Strongly Agree
Stongly Disagree Disagree Neither Agree Strongly Agree
0 1 2 3 4 5 6
Stongly Disagree
Disagree
Neither
Agree
Strongly Agree
Stongly Disagree Disagree Neither Agree Strongly Agree
I FOUND THIS TASK TO BE
ENJOYABLE
Group 1
Group 2
58.33%
WERE FEMALE
12 PARTICIPANTS
0 1 2 3 4 5 6
Stongly Disagree
Disagree
Neither
Agree
Strongly Agree
Stongly Disagree Disagree Neither Agree Strongly Agree
0 1 2 3 4 5 6
Stongly Disagree
Disagree
Neither
Agree
Strongly Agree
Stongly Disagree Disagree Neither Agree Strongly Agree
I ENJOY MAKING THINGS WITH
MY HANDS RATHER THAN USING
A PEN AND PAPER
Group 1
Group 2
Only 7 participants agreed that
they preferred making things with
there hands than using a pen and
paper and there were 4 females
so a little over half (57%) and 3
males (60%).
I purposely based this question to
get a better understanding of the
participants and the way the
would encounter the challenge, if
they preferred building things
with their hands they would have
more of an advantage at the Play-
Doh task.
0 1 2 3 4 5 6
Stongly Disagree
Disagree
Neither
Agree
Strongly Agree
Stongly Disagree Disagree Neither Agree Strongly Agree
0 1 2 3 4 5 6
Stongly Disagree
Disagree
Neither
Agree
Strongly Agree
Stongly Disagree Disagree Neither Agree Strongly Agree
THE INTERVENTION RESTRICTED
ME CREATIVELY
Group 1
Group 2
This was something I didn’t anticipate from the findings of Group 2, two
participants stated that they strongly agreed and agreed that this task
restricted them creatively.
This could be put down to preference and peoples own personal interest
as when I analysed the data between these findings and the students who
didn’t like makings things with their hands, they matched up.
0 1 2 3 4 5 6
Stongly Disagree
Disagree
Neither
Agree
Strongly Agree
Stongly Disagree Disagree Neither Agree Strongly Agree
0 1 2 3 4 5 6
Stongly Disagree
Disagree
Neither
Agree
Strongly Agree
Stongly Disagree Disagree Neither Agree Strongly Agree
I FOUND THIS METHOD
MADE ME THINK MORE
CREATIVELY ABOUT MY
TASK
Group 1
Group 2
This was again a positive outcome, more than half of the
Group (5) confirmed that the Play-Doh exercise made them
think more creatively about their objective and in Group 1
the opposite this confirmed my initial thoughts on how
each student would digest the information and perform in a
similar aspect there work lacked little substance but again
this is excepted when you consider the limitations they had
to execute their tasks.
0 1 2 3 4 5 6
Stongly
Disagree
Disagree
Neither
Agree
Strongly Agree
Stongly Disagree Disagree Neither Agree Strongly Agree
0 1 2 3 4 5 6
Stongly
Disagree
Disagree
Neither
Agree
Strongly Agree
Stongly Disagree Disagree Neither Agree Strongly Agree
USING THIS METHOD AGAIN
WOULD HELP ME THINK MORE
IMAGINATIVE IN MY THINKING
PROCESS
Group 1
Group 2
Only 16.6% (2) of participants reacted in a different way than I had originally
anticipated when it came to the this final statement, however I can put these
irregularities in my data again down to personal preference as it was the same 2
participants in both occasions who disapproved of the task.
To conclude my research findings along with my
research on different studies and other concepts
from academics and industry professionals I was
still unable to find a direct link to ‘Play’ and
creativity, however there were brief connections or
glimpses between the two that would be hard to
ignore such as the behavioural changes and positive
responses towards the Play-Doh task compared to
the Pen and Paper task. Perhaps because the act of
defining creativity is hard in of itself then to find a
direct connection between the act of ‘Play’ and
creativity itself would take more than one
intervention and a focus group of twelve
Participants to get amore significant data set.
But I do believe that even at our earliest stages in
life the acts of ‘Play’ act as communication
systems between others and even animals. Play has
shown to have significant impacts in our every day
society and I feel my findings could help support
that hypothesis.
To further my research I would like to
explore the possibility of carrying this
research out on a larger number of
participants in a more exploratory style
of ‘Play’ to get an better understanding
of the links between both ‘Play’ and
Creativity.
I would of preferred to carry this task
out on small Primary School children,
Secondary Educated children,
University Students and then Adults to
try and get a better scope of each
individuals creative process and
thinking and try to find a pattern in
where we become most self conscious
about showing others our ideas.
BIBLIOGRAPHY
Tim Brown – Tales of Creativity and Play. (2008) Available
at: http://www.ted.com/talks/tim_brown_on_creativity_and_play#t-61351
Suits, B. (1990) - The act of playing a game. p34
Vernon, PE. (1989). The nature-nurture problem in creativity. Handbook of Creativity, 93-
110.
Dansky, Jeffrey L. 1980. “Make-Believe: A Mediator of the Relationship between Play and
Associative Fluency.” Child Development.
Smith, Peter K., and Sue Whitney. 1987. “Play and Associative Fluency: Experimenter
Effects May Be Responsible for Positive Results.” Developmental Psychology

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All ‘play’ means something, explore

  • 1. ALL ‘PLAY’ MEANS SOMETHING, EXPLORE. “By removing and supressing the acts of natural play, do we restrain ourselves creatively?”
  • 2. This research will explore my research findings on ‘Play’ and, if any it’s impact and connections to creativity. The research follows a group of 12 participants, which were divided into 2 separate groups as they engaged in set tasks and exercises focused around ‘Play’, one group were encouraged to use ‘Play’, and the other group restricted in only being able to use pens and paper to participate in the exercises. The main focus behind this was to examine the findings and find a pattern in the results leading to my hypothesis on whether or not restricting play can restrain people creatively.
  • 3. To start making the students think about and engage in the acts of play I used an exercise created by a man named Robert McKim who was an author and professor at Stanford University in the late 1960’s, I gave the students 30 seconds and asked them to draw the person sitting next to them as quickly as they could. The room became very loud and frantic very fast and the participants became more and more animated as the time went on. Once I asked the class to show their drawings the reaction changed and was consistent throughout the entire class, there was a lot of embarrassment, awkward laughing and apologies in the room. However this was the whole point of this exercise, the exercise is designed to highlight that, we as now young adults fear the judgment of our piers, of our classmates and the people around us and how we’re embarrassed about showing our ideas.
  • 4. However, McKim found that when you do this exact same study with children the reactions are quite the opposite, children show no embarrassment or awkwardness and are actually really proud to show their ‘masterpiece’ to anyone and everyone who wants to see it. Children are more engaged with open possibilities. When they come across something new they will ask what is it, but most importantly they’ll ask what can they do with it? And I believe its this openness of children that is the beginning of ‘Exploratory Play’ and that that’s something as adults we lose our sense of Exploratory Play and that has an effect on the way we encounter new challenges and obstacles in everyday life. “To play a game is to engage in activity directed towards bringing about a specific state of affairs, using only means permitted by rules, where the rules prohibit more efficient in favour of less efficient means, and where such rules are accepted just because they make possible such activity.” (Suits, B.1990 p34)
  • 6. “Fear causes us to be conservative with our thinking” (Tim Brown – Tales of Creativity and Play, 2008) Something really interesting, but also quite sad happened when I took the questionnaires back when the intervention was finished, 2 boxes were left unfilled, so even in the exercise I had used only to explain to the students and make them think about how we as adults are afraid to show our work 2 of the participants chose to leave them out.
  • 7. OTHER RESEARCH STUDIES Jeffrey Dansky 1980; “Does engaging in play facilitate creativity? There are a wide number studies that provide evidence that pretend play facilitates divergent thinking in nursery school children” (Dansky and Silverman 1973). Dansky and Silverman found that children who played with toys or day to day objects during a free play session produced more and more uses for those objects than a control group Smith and Whitney (1987) criticized Dansky’s methodology, and raised the issue of Dansky’s unconscious experimenter bias because the same experimenter administered the play intervention and the divergent-thinking task. They had different experimenters administer the play segment of their study and the divergent-thinking portion. Their study failed to confirm that play enhances divergent thinking in preschool children.
  • 8. THINKING WITH YOUR HANDS For the next activity I handed out a4 paper and pens to group one and for group 2 I gave out Play- Doh, rolling pins and dough cutters as well as a3 pages to act as a canvas and something to write on, this was purposely constructed to both fully restrict creativity in group 1 and to maximise the creative potential in group 2. Each group had 10 minutes to try to explain to me their understanding of Interactive Media, I chose interactive media because it can be defined in a number different ways and it would be interesting to see what way the second years interpreted the subject matter using only the tools I provided for them.
  • 10. Whilst observing each group I took opportunities to walk around the room and take note of the reactions and behaviours of each individual to get a better scope of the effects each task was having on the participants. As expected group 1, who were only allowed to use pens and paper get very agitated and bored very quickly, it was as if they had lost interest immediately, at one point a participant even asked me how long was left? Again this behaviour was expected from Group 1 but also there were attempts and cracks of creative potential trying to get through in that one participant used colourful gel pens and playful shapes to help pictate her idea and concept of interactive media.
  • 11. “Creativity means a persons capacity to produce new or original ideas, insights, restricting, inventions, or artists objects, which are accepted by experts as being of scientific, aesthetic, social, or technological value” (Vernon, 1989, pg94)
  • 13. The results I got back were very positive and we got some really creative outcomes, some people used key terms to describe their creation such as ‘Typography’, ‘Colour’, ‘Design’ and ‘Space’. We then had a participant describe Interactive Media as something that “Will lead you to a bright future”. But for me one of the most interesting pieces was from a first year student, which is the picture in the middle he states “Getting from one place to another trying to create something new! The ‘S’ represents the start and the ‘F’ represents the finish and its about the journey of hitting corners and edges, trying new ideas to then reach the finish.
  • 16. 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 Stongly Disagree Disagree Neither Agree Strongly Agree Stongly Disagree Disagree Neither Agree Strongly Agree 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 Stongly Disagree Disagree Neither Agree Strongly Agree Stongly Disagree Disagree Neither Agree Strongly Agree I FOUND THIS TASK TO BE ENJOYABLE Group 1 Group 2
  • 18. 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 Stongly Disagree Disagree Neither Agree Strongly Agree Stongly Disagree Disagree Neither Agree Strongly Agree 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 Stongly Disagree Disagree Neither Agree Strongly Agree Stongly Disagree Disagree Neither Agree Strongly Agree I ENJOY MAKING THINGS WITH MY HANDS RATHER THAN USING A PEN AND PAPER Group 1 Group 2
  • 19. Only 7 participants agreed that they preferred making things with there hands than using a pen and paper and there were 4 females so a little over half (57%) and 3 males (60%). I purposely based this question to get a better understanding of the participants and the way the would encounter the challenge, if they preferred building things with their hands they would have more of an advantage at the Play- Doh task.
  • 20. 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 Stongly Disagree Disagree Neither Agree Strongly Agree Stongly Disagree Disagree Neither Agree Strongly Agree 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 Stongly Disagree Disagree Neither Agree Strongly Agree Stongly Disagree Disagree Neither Agree Strongly Agree THE INTERVENTION RESTRICTED ME CREATIVELY Group 1 Group 2
  • 21. This was something I didn’t anticipate from the findings of Group 2, two participants stated that they strongly agreed and agreed that this task restricted them creatively. This could be put down to preference and peoples own personal interest as when I analysed the data between these findings and the students who didn’t like makings things with their hands, they matched up.
  • 22. 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 Stongly Disagree Disagree Neither Agree Strongly Agree Stongly Disagree Disagree Neither Agree Strongly Agree 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 Stongly Disagree Disagree Neither Agree Strongly Agree Stongly Disagree Disagree Neither Agree Strongly Agree I FOUND THIS METHOD MADE ME THINK MORE CREATIVELY ABOUT MY TASK Group 1 Group 2
  • 23. This was again a positive outcome, more than half of the Group (5) confirmed that the Play-Doh exercise made them think more creatively about their objective and in Group 1 the opposite this confirmed my initial thoughts on how each student would digest the information and perform in a similar aspect there work lacked little substance but again this is excepted when you consider the limitations they had to execute their tasks.
  • 24. 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 Stongly Disagree Disagree Neither Agree Strongly Agree Stongly Disagree Disagree Neither Agree Strongly Agree 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 Stongly Disagree Disagree Neither Agree Strongly Agree Stongly Disagree Disagree Neither Agree Strongly Agree USING THIS METHOD AGAIN WOULD HELP ME THINK MORE IMAGINATIVE IN MY THINKING PROCESS Group 1 Group 2
  • 25. Only 16.6% (2) of participants reacted in a different way than I had originally anticipated when it came to the this final statement, however I can put these irregularities in my data again down to personal preference as it was the same 2 participants in both occasions who disapproved of the task.
  • 26. To conclude my research findings along with my research on different studies and other concepts from academics and industry professionals I was still unable to find a direct link to ‘Play’ and creativity, however there were brief connections or glimpses between the two that would be hard to ignore such as the behavioural changes and positive responses towards the Play-Doh task compared to the Pen and Paper task. Perhaps because the act of defining creativity is hard in of itself then to find a direct connection between the act of ‘Play’ and creativity itself would take more than one intervention and a focus group of twelve Participants to get amore significant data set. But I do believe that even at our earliest stages in life the acts of ‘Play’ act as communication systems between others and even animals. Play has shown to have significant impacts in our every day society and I feel my findings could help support that hypothesis.
  • 27. To further my research I would like to explore the possibility of carrying this research out on a larger number of participants in a more exploratory style of ‘Play’ to get an better understanding of the links between both ‘Play’ and Creativity. I would of preferred to carry this task out on small Primary School children, Secondary Educated children, University Students and then Adults to try and get a better scope of each individuals creative process and thinking and try to find a pattern in where we become most self conscious about showing others our ideas.
  • 28. BIBLIOGRAPHY Tim Brown – Tales of Creativity and Play. (2008) Available at: http://www.ted.com/talks/tim_brown_on_creativity_and_play#t-61351 Suits, B. (1990) - The act of playing a game. p34 Vernon, PE. (1989). The nature-nurture problem in creativity. Handbook of Creativity, 93- 110. Dansky, Jeffrey L. 1980. “Make-Believe: A Mediator of the Relationship between Play and Associative Fluency.” Child Development. Smith, Peter K., and Sue Whitney. 1987. “Play and Associative Fluency: Experimenter Effects May Be Responsible for Positive Results.” Developmental Psychology