Play Object Play

The aim of the project is to collect toys and tools made for and/or used by children from today’s subsistence societies, such as a hunter-gatherer, pastoralist, horticultural, or agricultural community in a database.

The researchers behind the project combine their respective research fields of archeology, anthropology, psychology and cognitive science. From an archeologist perspective, toys and play objects are rarely found in excavations or, if found, they are likely to be attributed religious ceremonial usage rather than being toys. Looking into toys in today’s subsistence societies may provide insight into the role of toys and play in ancient cultures, and into the importance of play in a broader sense in human evolvement and innovation. 

Play|Object|Play (P|O|P) aims to bring object play and, crucially, play objects in focus. The project seeks to develop an integrative child-centred model of material culture change, drawing on emerging psychological and anthropological understandings of the cognitive and cultural processes by which children develop their tool making skill. The open-access and user-driven cross-cultural database of play objects from ethnographic and ethno-historic contexts is a key research tool in this endeavour.

The role of Center for Humanities Computing

Center for Humanities Computing created the full online database platform Play|Object|Play for the project. The database is open for object contributions. Contributions are categorized, and details of origin, context of use, and description allow for researchers to filter the play objects.
All aspects of the frontend are developed from scratch to fit the requirements of the project. The backend is build using Strapi, MySql and Elastcisearch and customized to fit the requirements of the project.  
The public facing part of the website enables browsing and searching of all published entries in the database. Furthermore, users are able to contribute directly with new entries making the project partially community driven. Entries submitted by the community will be reviewed by an administrator before publication in order to prevent misuse of the contribute form.
The backend, built on Strapi, enables administrators to create, update and delete entries, manage users profiles etc. through an intuitive and professional interface. 

Project affiliation


Play Object Play is funded by Interacting Minds, AUFF, Lego Foundation, Alexander von Humboldt Foundation.

Databases and web-development

CHC offers database development from the initial design of the database schema to the final online website presenting your data in a nice and intuitive design fitting your specific project needs.

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