Game Night!

Game Night!

It’s game night and my friends are gathered in my dining room. Four of them are face-down in a plateful of whipped cream, with their hands tied behind their backs, desperately trying to find snack-size candy bars hidden underneath. The rest of the group are laughing raucously, cheering their partners on. The goal of the first group to find and eat all five hidden snack-size candy bars is well on its way, and it looks like it’s coming down between my friend, James, and my wife, Kaytlyn. As James and Kaytlyn are frantically searching for the last candy bar, it looks like James has spotted it. He quickly grabs it with his teeth, and swallows it in record time. He won!

No, games such as this are no longer reserved just for children. In fact, on this particular night there wasn’t a child in sight—a testament to the universal appeal of games. Board games, party games, and card games all have the ability to bring adults together to play as they once did as children, providing a few hours of stress-free fun.

When the Old Becomes New—Timeless Toy Designs

When the Old Becomes New—Timeless Toy Designs

“Hey! I had one of those growing up!” is a frequent statement we hear from guests roaming through The Strong. With such a large and diverse collection on display, everyone young and old can discover personal treasures behind the glass cases. The nostalgia of smiling childhood memories brings joy, as toy companies have discovered. Although…

Finding Race and Play at The Strong

Finding Race and Play at The Strong

The Strong’s research fellowship program not only provides an opportunity for scholars to view rare material in the museum’s collection and archives, but it also expands the potential for the study of play in academia. Being surrounded by the artifacts of play with which we all have experiential knowledge helped me realize the importance of…

Batman v Superman: Batman Wins

Batman v Superman: Batman Wins

Okay, I’ll confess that I haven’t actually seen the movie Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. But in my personal comparison of the two iconic superheroes, Batman wins almost every time. I should explain that I grew up in the 1960s and hadn’t really paid much attention to superheroes until 1966 rolled around. Superman, who…

They’re Gr-r-r-eat! Cereal Box as Serial Docs

They’re Gr-r-r-eat! Cereal Box as Serial Docs

Can you get enough of that Sugar Crisp? Does the crunch always give you away? And are Trix just for kids? Cereal slogans have become embedded in popular culture, and even satirized in television shows. Such slogans were made memorable at the time by the cereal mascots that voiced them in animated commercials. However, these…

Old Timey Cures for Cabin Fever: Feathers, Forfeits, and Fortune Telling

Old Timey Cures for Cabin Fever: Feathers, Forfeits, and Fortune Telling

Record low temperatures and un-melting piles of snow kept parents scrambling to entertain house-bound children in the winter of 2015. This winter hasn’t been quite as cold or snowy in Rochester but, just in case the snows return, I’m ready with some practical advice drawn from The Strong’s Brian Sutton-Smith Library and Archives of Play,…

PEZ—the Candy with a Playmate

PEZ—the Candy with a Playmate

It is no question that candy and toys are among many children’s favorite things. So when the two are paired together, the result is bound to be a success. Coined “the candy with a playmate,” PEZ dispensers prove what a great combination candy and a toy can be. In 1927, Eduard Haas III of Austria…

Thinking Outside of the Toy Chest: Where Playthings Live

Thinking Outside of the Toy Chest: Where Playthings Live

Plunging temperatures likely make us all a bit more grateful for the comfort of a warm home, sheltering us from blustery winds and swirling snowflakes. We know that shelter is a necessity of life, but I recently began thinking about the significance of homes for playthings. Not so very long ago, a toy chest was…

Domestic Hobbies: The Search for Calm in Life’s Storms

Domestic Hobbies:  The Search for Calm in Life’s Storms

“I knit so I don’t kill people.” You can buy a mug, a tote bag, or a shirt with this phrase emblazoned on it. You can meet a handful of fellow knitters out on the town for World Wide Knit in Public Day or you can share your projects and patterns with the 5.5 million…

Margaret Woodbury Strong: Collector and Philanthropist

Margaret Woodbury Strong: Collector and Philanthropist

As an “everything” intern at The Strong, I had the privilege of working with different teams within the museum on multiple projects that relate to my education as a history major. Through my work with the Brian Sutton-Smith Library and Archives of Play, I became acquainted with the story of the woman behind the museum…