How is play a window into creative thinking and social life?

Anna Beresin, PhD is a professor of psychology and folklore in the School of Critical Studies at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia, PA.
She is a founding co-director of NEUARTS, Neighborhood Engagement at the University of the Arts. She also co-edits the International Journal of Play.


The Art of Play

Recess Battles

Group Motion
in Practice


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"Anna Beresin—'recess lady'—has brought her long-term study of the folklore of children in an elementary school on the 'wrong side of the tracks' to a welcome conclusion. The book is that rare offering that provides pleasure and enlightenment in the minute---gem-like scenes of children playing—and more globally.  The global issues could not be more timely or pressing."


Author of Anthropology of Childhood: Cherubs, Chattel, Changelings

"Beresin and her team observe and analyze the children's play, and their responses to the opportunities to play.... The results are both inspiring and disturbing.... The book also includes hundreds of children's ink drawings of their play experiences with Beresin's materials. The value of the opportunity for children to play with art supplies and have a chance to express themselves through art is clear through Beresin's accounts."

"(Beresin's) tone is playful and fun, not stereotypically academic, as she manages to integrate authoritative source material effectively with her descriptions of children playing four-square and hopscotch."




NEUARTS, Neighborhood Engagement at the University of the Arts was created in 2013 to simultaneously address two needs: a lack of access to arts programming for children in our local community and the development of hands-on skills in arts advocacy, education, and engagement for our university students.  

Rashaya Dancing_edited
House copy
Gp shot

Photographs by Co-Pirate Lindsay Sparagana. For more information about our play and art program email

© Anna Beresin 2018