Fall 2024

Psychology of Play

Listed in: , as EDST-206  |  Psychology, as PSYC-206


Carrie Palmquist (Section 01)


(Offered as PSYC 206 and EDST 206)  This course will explore how children learn through play. The first part of the course will focus on defining play and exploring researchers’ differing perspectives on whether children can learn by playing. The second part of the course will involve visits to the Beneski Museum and Holyoke Children’s Museum to explore the role of museums in studying and advancing children’s playful learning. Students will learn about the unique strengths and weaknesses of museum-based research and how socio-economic, educational, ethnic, and racial factors affect how children and families interact with museum exhibits. The third part of the course will be devoted to designing interventions that will encourage playful learning goals established in cooperation with the director and administrators at Holyoke Children’s Museum in Holyoke, MA. These interventions will be designed in small groups and implemented in the museum. This class requires a significant amount of work and travel that takes place outside of class meeting time. This course fulfills the lab/research methods requirement for the Psychology major.

Requisite: PSYC 100. Limited to 15 students. Offered Fall semester. Professor Palmquist.

How to handle overenrollment: Priority given to psychology majors and students who have taken Developmental Psychology

Students who enroll in this course will likely encounter and be expected to engage in the following intellectual skills, modes of learning, and assessment: emphasis on written work, readings, independent research, oral presentations, in-class participation, and group work. Students should also be prepared to travel to take part in this course.

Course Materials


Other years: Offered in Spring 2019, Spring 2020, Spring 2023, Fall 2024