4-1 | Playing with the Multiple Intelligences


Playing with the Multiple Intelligences
How Play Helps Them Grow

Scott G. Eberle


Howard Gardner first posited a list of “multiple intelligences” as a liberating alternative to the assumptions underlying traditional IQ testing in his widely read study Frames of Mind (1983). Play has appeared only in passing in Gardner’s thinking about intelligence, however, even though play instructs and trains the verbal, interpersonal, intrapersonal, logical, spatial, musical, and bodily intelligences that Gardner regards as original human endowments. Playing out of doors also enhances and exercises the faculty that Gardner later marked as the naturalist intelligence. As recess dwindles in American schools, and as free play shrinks in the childhood experience, this article finds fresh cause to inspect the merits of multiple-intelligence theory through the lens of play. Key words: bodily-kinesthetic intelligence; Howard Gardner; interpersonal intelligence; intrapersonal intelligence; logical intelligences; multiple intelligences; musical intelligence, naturalist intelligence; spatial intelligence; verbal intelligence