Adam Blatner

Words and Images from the Mind of Adam Blatner

Tell Me About Your Play Experiences

Originally posted on December 17, 2011

I’m preparing a revised edition of my Art of Play book. So, trying to update my background material, this is an open letter to those interested in the phenomenon of play, and mainly more improvisational and imaginative types, pretend play, etc. I’m interested to hear about a number of things:
   – people doing research or writing about pretend play in adulthood. (There are already hundreds of academics and thousands of papers about play in early and middle childhood.)
  – any conferences, associations about play—at least with some focus on applications for grown-ups (and not just how parents can play with their young children)
  – deeper considerations about spontaneity or/and imagination development in adults, elders, and older teens
  – any summaries of overall developments in play studies in last 20 years

I am somewhat aware of developments in a parallel large category—applied drama—which includes sociodrama, psychodrama, drama therapy, Playback Theatre, Theatre of the Oppressed, Bibliodrama, and other approaches (see table of contents of a 2007 anthology I published, “Interactive & Improvisational Drama.) Of course, more about these fields would also be welcome.

I have been aware that Sara Smilansky coined a term, “sociodramatic play,” in a paper she wrote in the late 1960s. Does anyone know where she got that term? I suspect that Moreno’s psychodrama and sociodrama methods were known in Israel at the time and she got the term from there—saw that what young kids to is related. Is not simply make-believe or pretend play equally descriptive?
Thank you! Email to

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