The role of play
For my research I’m going to focus on childhood, toy and play.
‘One of the luckiest things that can happen to you in life is, I think, to have a happy childhood’ (2018, p. 27) that what thinks Agatha Christie. ‘Childhood is another country but also a waiting-room, a state of accommodation and acceptance’ (2002, p. unknown) said Antoine de Saint Exupéry because and I completely agree with his statement. That’s a fact that all grownups used to be children. It’s true that childhood was different for everyone but it had a big impact on their entire lives. Moreover, childhood is a time of various questions, opportunities and consequences.In the world of childhood reign their laws, their own rules and down space. Kids completely differ from adults. They have a different height, children do not have such physical strength and mental skills. Children see the world with new eyes. Often adults forget, what is like to be a kid.

In order grown ups could feel themselves as a full member of the society сhildren have
to live in a world of beauty, play, music. Pablo Picasso states that ‘Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up’ (New Times. 1976, p.unknown). For solving this issue it is important to allow a child to play enough in his childhood. Play is a sparkle that lights up a flame in inquisitiveness mind and curiosity. A dutch psychologist and culturologist Johan Huizinga writes in the book Homo Ludens (1938) about the main role of play. He puts the deep meaning in the concept of play. The culturologist believes that without any game components can exist neither one kind of a human’s cultural activity such as: justice, war, philosophy, art and so forth. The culture itself appeared from play, Johan Huizinga considers neither the labor originated a human but the leisure time did it. During that time a person could implement his fantasies, develop imagination, create artistic values, communicate with others this definition of play gives the psychologist. He describes the term play and it is an activity which do willingly in specific place and time. The play is necessarily based on the rules. It is accompanied by tension and thrill. The essence of play implies games that relate to intelligence, dexterity with
the use of wit and strength. He considers that the play itself is tend not only to people but animals too.
Johan Huizinga brings an example of playing puppies. Games of primitive humans are similar to children and
animals. Their game also, includes elements of sequence, tension, movement, and excitement. A child plays with a complete self-forgetfulness, an athlete plays with seriousness and courage, an actor plays in full immersion in the game. A violinist goes through sacred thrill. Hence, the manner of play may be inherent in most sublime actions. An adult plays like a child for enjoyment and relaxation. Although, the adult understands that this activity is not real and it does not connect with his routine.The psychologist claims that play is an exercise on the threshold of a serious, adult life.

In my point of view one of the necessary objects in playing is a toy.
The expert Jiří Dostál’s claims that toy has experienced many historical changes throughout evolution era and even at the current time it has an immeasurable value because its nature remains unchangeable. From the book: Manual of Egyptian Archaeology and Guide to the Study of Antiquities in Egypt: For the Use of Students and Travellers the first toy occurred 4000 years ago. They were made by primitive humans at that time those things were made from stone, pottery and wood. The first rattle originated in Egypt. The rattle was protecting an infant from evil spirits. The word “toy” was initially used in France during the era of Renaissance.
Toy serves as an education part of a child. As a matter of fact, preschool children in need of diversity toys that challenge them to use their minds, bodies and feelings. When a child plays with a toy, it positively effects on the cognitive, emotional and physical development of a kid. For a child it symbolises the world in a realistic or stylized way, the universe which surrounds them, motivates their activity, living and acting. During the play children apply toys which determine the type, manner and richness of their playing activities.
Thus, a child grows and develops. He needs special toys for harmonious formation. What are these toys? Educational toys are the toys that teach something. They evolve imagination, memory, fantasy, logic and thinking and motor skills. Hence, the toys contribute to the mental and creative growth for a baby.
One of the ancient authors was a German
pedagog and preschool teacher Freidrich Froebel.
In his work The Education Of Man he makes
a conclusion of a child who reveals during the play and it’s the main idea of the publication. He applied music, dance and game for the educational process. Freidrich Froebel invented the definition of kindergarten and he was one of the first creators who designed educational toys such as: paper origamis, brain teasers, cubes and blocks.
His contrivances for children the writer called Froebel’s gifts. For the 19th century it was a revolution upheaval.

The same theme unfolds Bruno Munari who was an Italian artist and tutor who had
been designing educational toys and books (2007). He’s one of the most pioneering and ingenious thinkers of the 20th century, who deeply explores the area of visual narration in children’s literature. By the artist opinion books had to motivate to think creatively. The books like: The Elephant’s Wish (1945), Zoo (1963), In the dark of the night (1961),The circus in the mist (1969) which visually demonstrate it. For instance, in the book Zoo the author highlights his evident observations about the animals such as: Some camels are more bumpy than others. Something similar say kids when they go to the zoo. Children are more sharp-eyed than adults. Also, Bruno Munari created the cards that are called Visual Games. They consist of 72 cards, with 48 transparent ones that can be superimposed to compose complex images and stimulate a child’s creativity. A child can overlap pictures of trees, this way he creates a wood. By adding some rain, the sun or the moon, or some birds, a passing dog, or whatever he wants. The child is able of changing the sequence of his story which consists of various images. Moreover, the designer invented Montessori Mobile-Black and White Baby Mobile is constructed from two-dimensional geometrical shapes that are in black and white color because new borns cannot define colors.
The slow movement of this toy allows a kid to focus his attention on this specific object. The Montessori Mobile is produced from plastic sheer, paper, birch wood, cotton cord.

Emile-Georges Cuisenaire was a Belgian school teacher, who designed a colorful set of rods for teaching students basic Mathematics. Emile-Georges Cuisenaire thought that education goes in an effective way if a kid is able to play with this visual aid.
He was inspired by Maria Montessori and Friedrich Fröbel in order to create rods. The idea of the rods is simple and interesting. They have different length from 1 to 10 cm and various 10 colors. Each rod is a number which has specific color and length. This object contributes in the development of logical thinking, exploring for patterns and concentrating attention. Here’s another practitioner Zoltan Paul Dienes who related to games too. He was a Hungarian mathematician, psychologist, pedagog-author of the play approach for children in terms of education. In order to evolve analytical abilities and the logical ones Zoltan Paul Dienes elaborated games. The mathematician used blocks that differ by color, shape, size and width. The game that involves Diene blocks have impact on the development of children’s speech.
In conclusion let’s highlight great meaning of play in human’s civilisation, in adults and kids life. It’s not surprising that nowadays, psychologists and educators came to the understanding of the earliest significance in development of kids. In shops appear a lot of educational toys. At the present there are various brands that manufacture such toys like: the Fisher-Price company which produces toys for children that don’t have a sophisticated design and it’s colorful. The company is famous for durable toys that offer a lot of opportunities like awaking imagination.

By the manufacture’s opinion, all elements of growth are: learning, fine and general motor skill, imagination, creativity, speaking, communication and emotional development. Yookidoo’ is an American brand that makes toys for babies that bring fun, entertainment, exploration and discovery. Chicco is an Italian company that manufactures various products for infants that encourage to evolve motor skills and fundamental activity
for baby’s growth.

It is clearly seen from the examples that were mentioned above that teachers, psychologists and modern toy makers are aiming to prepare children for changing world and new challenges that occur in front of him. Edutainment is one of the ways by moving with the times. This is an education through entertainment and implementation of games elements in education.Edutainment is a special approach of showing how to soak up information through entertaining process. One of the most complicated things is teaching children rather than giving education to a person who studies in college. It is very important that kids would be be able to absorb the given information from the first class.

It is necessary to base a taste and interest for learning among the young ones. Children are interested in play and they want to see the world as fun and amusement in general. The ground-breaking educational method was invented in order to reach the interests of the young audience through having fun and learning it productively. Currently education is full of tests during the learning time because the main goal is making this study more effective and productive. The idea of edutainment is not modern because it has been experienced for the past decades. This strategy is becoming more popular nowadays. The the concept of edutainment is often stimulating children to soaking up new things without losing the fun component.
Everything new is actually well-forgotten old because Bruno Munari, Freidrich Froebel, Emile-Georges Cuisenaire, Zoltan Paul Dienes used in their methods absolutely the same idea of teaching kids by playing with them, maintaining interest and their engagement in the cognitive process.

Anastasia Shmeleva|shmeleva

Design and Play

Tanya Ermolaeva