The Future of Creative Play: PLAYPER
Creative play is something we want to encourage and often aspire to. We miss those days as a child of boundless creativity. The idea of building something from nothing and bringing it to life with imagination. It’s difficult to hold on to as we grow older, but we recognize its importance. There’s plenty of evidence to show the importance of this creative play. We seek out a wide variety of creative endeavors, especially in childhood, and find a number of products to suit those needs. Going forward into a world of technology it can be hard to keep focus on hands-on creative toys. Products must find a way to bridge this gap to embrace the future.
We’ve known for a long time that creative play is important, and play has an important role in childhood development. One particular study, titled “The importance of creative play” published in the American Journal of Occupational Therapy, discusses the various benefits of these activities for both handicapped and non-handicapped children. It articulates how creative play promotes problem-solving behavior that leads to learning, coping, and adaptation to change. As well as this, it also identifies the positive results of the creative process as curiosity, flexibility, improvisation, commitment, and the courage to risk. All of these are attributes we want to promote in our children, and creative play is a great way to do just that. A number of products have emerged to meet this need.
When you start talking about creative play a lot of things pop into mind, most prominently are probably crafting and building, though in both cases the object is to create something new and then play with that object you created in a way you find fun. You might be instantly thinking “Oh! Like LEGO!” and you’d be absolutely right. LEGO has long established themselves as the king of building toys, allowing you to create whole worlds of toys limited only by the imagination. They sure use a lot of plastic though, and that’s not good for the environment. Beyond specific brands, there’s the whole crafting industry. Using a variety of materials to create all sorts of things to play with. Careful with all those scissors and glue though! Moving into the future we must find ways of promoting this play in a new environment and culture.
The world has moved into one driven by and reliant on technology. Not only do we need this technology to operate in our everyday lives, but we crave it for a number of reasons, not the least of which is entertainment. Children are especially prone to becoming obsessed with “screen time” and it can be difficult to break them away from technology products when they go to play. Our culture is pushing toward the necessary initiatives of going green and being eco-friendly, as well as ensuring the products we, and especially our children, use are safe. In this new environment it can be difficult to find the right balance. LEGO struggles with using too much plastic in a culture of conservation where plastic is a major problem. Parents have to worry and watch their kids more closely when they’re crafting due to worries about unsafe materials like glues and scissors. But we can see companies finding the right niche in this environment.
One great example of this is Osmo. Marrying together a variety of creative play and then using technology to make those creations interactive and compelling, Osmo is an established company with a foothold in this space. They have married together tablets and creativity to bring your child’s creations to life in a new and unique way. Playper, and their product Kung Fu Boogie, are chiseling out another great niche in the future of creative play. Using the latest in augmented reality (AR) technology combined with a paper crafted toy they allow kids to just bring their creation to life, but interact with it in a unique way, through a free to download dance battle game. Playper and Kung Fu Boogie really take things exactly where they need to be going these days. They’re committed not just to unique and innovative play. Not just to this fascinating marriage of technology and hands on play. But they are also committed to being green, keeping their products eco-friendly by using no plastic and sticking to paper, which is recyclable. Beyond that they are dedicated to making a safe product. Their paper toys are like origami, only requiring the folding and shaping of paper, no glue, no scissors, no worry. Then they take this amazing toy that your child has created and bring it to life using augmented reality technology. It keeps kids enthralled with their paper toy and promotes a whole new avenue of exciting creative play. Products like this are the future, and need your support. Please show support for this incredible type of creative play by donating to this amazing new game, which is live on Kickstarter now.