6-3 | Designing the Creative Child: Playthings and Places in Midcentury America

Book Review

Designing the Creative Child: Playthings and Places in Midcentury America

Amy F. Ogata
Minneapolis: University of Minnesota, 2013. Introduction, images, notes, bibliography, index. 229 pp. $34.95 cloth. ISBN: 9780816679614

by Susan J. Matt

First Paragraph:

In Designing the Creative Child: Playthings and Places in Midcentury America, Amy F. Ogata shows how a cultural preoccupation with childhood creativity left its mark on American material life. While the idea of the child as naturally creative first emerged in the eighteenth century and grew steadily during the nineteenth, it was only in the twentieth century that it took root across America. The belief that children were naturally creative, and that their creative sensibilities could be further nurtured and expanded by exposing them to stimulating environments and objects spread rapidly during the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s, particularly among middle- and upper-class Americans.