#TBT Constructive Play, c. 1917

“The value of constructive play as a factor of development is an unworked educational mine”  Edgar James Swift, 1917

In Manual training — Play problems; constructive work for boys and girls based on the play interest, William S. Marten extols the virtues of constructive play (basically building stuff from tops to ‘roller coasters’).  In keeping with Victorian notions of play as an element of social control and reform, constructive play is said to counter ‘destructive play’ tendencies.

Our philosophy of play has changed since then, but the illustrations and how-tos in the book for playful items like kaleidoscopes, spinning tops, swings, stilts and slingshots are charming, and Marten’s recommendation of collecting scrap materials for constructive play prefigures the adventure playground as well as the modern idea of the Scrap Store (which I wish I saw on more playgrounds!).

See the whole book at the PublicDomainReview, original source the Library of Congress, and thanks to Chris for the tip!

2 Responses to “#TBT Constructive Play, c. 1917”

  1. Paige Johnson said:

    Thanks Anna! I will look up the Curtis books as well!

    January 28, 2016 at 2:22 pm

  2. Anna Forrester said:

    Thanks for this — so interesting!

    I have another, related book that MacMillan published 3 years later (in 1920) called THE PRACTICAL CONDUCT OF PLAY, by Henry S. Curtis (“Former Secretary of the Playground Association of America and Supervisor of the Playgrounds of the District of Columbia” and “Author of ‘Play and Recreation in the Open Country’ and ‘Education Through Play’) All three of Curtis’s books were part of MacMillan’s “Home and School Series”, ed. Paul Monroe.

    January 28, 2016 at 1:18 pm

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