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Designing the Creative Child – Playthings and Places in Midcentury America - Minnesota Scholarship Online
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Designing the Creative Child: Playthings and Places in Midcentury America

Amy F. Ogata


This book explores how a perception of children as imaginative and “naturally” creative was constructed, disseminated, and consumed in the United States after World War II. I argue that educational toys, playgrounds, the smaller middle-class house, thousands of postwar schools, and children’s museums, were designed to cultivate an ideal of imagination in a growing cohort of Baby Boom children. Psychologists avidly studied creativity after 1950, and their research was embraced by the educational toy industry, invoked in parenting guides, taught in school arts classes, and erected in new school ... More

Keywords: Childhood, Creativity, Cold War, Toys, Playhouse, Playroom, Playground, children’s museum, schools, American material culture

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2013 Print ISBN-13: 9780816679607
Published to Minnesota Scholarship Online: August 2015 DOI:10.5749/minnesota/9780816679607.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Amy F. Ogata, author
Professor of History, University of Southern California