Japan & the Art of Play

Eli Whitney Museum

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2018 Summer Program

Play is universal. But children in each culture invent distinct playthings, pastimes and games. Japan’s play is artful, original, and and refined by long tradition.

Explore the materials the make Japanese toys unique: wood, bamboo, clay, paper, paper maché, & tape. Explore the purposes of play.

Construct a roly-poly Daruma doll whose eyes will teach you to keep promises. Construct a stacking toy that will teach your hands to strike quickly. Construct Sumo wrestlers that will practice the national sport. Construct a Kobe Box to make funny characters move. Construct figures to scare away ghosts, and rain, and bad luck. Construct a Dragon and a pill drum to make it dance. Construct characters to tell stories. Construct and fly kites. Learn Ken,Ken,Pa: a variation of hopskotch. And games with cards and balls.

You will learn new names and rulles for play that you already know. Create a Bento Box to keep your treasures safe and in order: an important lesson from Japanese play.

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