Play in a Covid Frame: Everyday Pandemic Creativity in a Time of Isolation - cover image


Anna Beresin; Julia Bishop;

Published On





  • English

Print Length

522 pages (xxxii+490)


Paperback156 x 36 x 234 mm(6.14" x 1.42" x 9.21")
Hardback156 x 40 x 234 mm(6.14" x 1.56" x 9.21")


Paperback981g (34.60oz)
Hardback1166g (41.13oz)



OCLC Number





  • JF
  • JHB
  • JHBS
  • JNC
  • MBNH
  • JMC
  • JHMC


  • SOC026040
  • SOC002010
  • SOC047000
  • PSY012000
  • PSY034000
  • PSY004000
  • PSY002000


  • HQ782


  • coronavirus
  • lockdowns
  • play
  • pandemic
  • folklore
  • psychology
  • sociology
  • anthropology
  • education
  • playwork

Play in a Covid Frame

Everyday Pandemic Creativity in a Time of Isolation

During the international coronavirus lockdowns of 2020–2021, millions of children, youth, and adults found their usual play areas out of bounds and their friends out of reach. How did the pandemic restrict everyday play and how did the pandemic offer new spaces and new content? This unique collection of essays documents the ways in which communities around the world harnessed play within the limiting frame of Covid-19.

Folklorists Anna Beresin and Julia Bishop adopt a multidisciplinary approach to this phenomenon, bringing together the insights of a geographically and demographically diverse range of scholars, practitioners, and community activists. The book begins with a focus on social and physical landscapes before moving onto more intimate portraits of play among the old and young, including coronavirus-themed games and novel toy inventions. Finally, the co-authors explore the creative shifts observed in frames of play, ranging from Zoom screens to street walls.

This singular chronicle of coronavirus play will be of interest to researchers and students of developmental psychology, childhood studies, education, playwork, sociology, anthropology and folklore, as well as to toy, museum, and landscape designers. This book will also be of help to parents, professional organizations, educators, and urban planners, with a postscript of concrete suggestions advocating for the essential role of play in a post-pandemic world.


This inspiring book gives insight into the strength of the human spirit when faced with extreme adversity, and especially our determination to play. Indeed, it may be that we have an instinctive drive to play in order to avoid descending into despair. The book highlights the creativity and resilience of children and adults throughout the Covid pandemic, not only as a mechanism for maintaining their psycho-social equilibrium, but also as a response to the shocking socio-cultural environment. With contributions from around the world, we see further confirmation that play is often a representation of how we see our immediate reality. There is strong evidence within these pages that when the wider world is beyond our understanding, we use play and creativity to take back control of our immediate surroundings. Read and enjoy.

Fraser Brown

Emeritus Professor, Childhood Development and Playwork Team, Leeds Beckett University



(pp. xix–xxxii)
  • Anna Beresin
  • Julia Bishop
  • Holly Sienkiewicz
  • Shanielia Lewis
  • Jenn Beideman
  • Beatriz LeBron
  • Emma Morrison
  • Lydia Rivera
  • Dina Faticone
  • Anna Beresin
  • Julia Bishop
  • Anna Beresin
  • Julia Bishop
  • Chloé Beatty
  • Caron Carter
  • Suzanne Egan
  • Beatriz LeBron
  • Ruth Hazleton
  • Katriina Heljakka
  • Nicolas Le Bigre
  • Shanielia Lewis
  • Emma Morrison
  • Danni von der Borch
  • Judy McKinty
  • Nevena Mitranić
  • Patricia Neville
  • John Potter
  • Martha Radice
  • Holly Sienkiewicz


Anna Beresin

Professor of Psychology and Folklore at University of the Arts

Anna Beresin, PhD, serves as professor of psychology and folklore at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. She co-edits the International Journal of Play and studies children’s folklore, primate physical play, language play and the connections between play, culture and art. Her books include The Character of Play (2019), The Art of Play: Recess and the Practice of Invention (2014), and Recess Battles: Playing, Fighting, and Storytelling (2010). She co-authored Group Motion in Practice: Collective Creation through Dance Movement Improvisation with Brigitta Herrmann, Manfred Fischbeck, and Elia Sinaico (2018). Visit her at

Julia Bishop

Research Associate at University of Sheffield

Julia Bishop is research associate in the School of Education, University of Sheffield, UK with a PhD in folklore from Memorial University of Newfoundland. She has documented play and social inclusion, playground games and songs in the new media age, digital play in the early years, memories and experiences of play, and play during the Covid-19 pandemic. Julia is co-chair of the British Academy research project Childhoods and Play: The Opie Archive (, and on the editorial board of the International Journal of Play. Her publications include contributions to Play Today in the Primary School Playground (2001), Children, Media and Playground Cultures (2013), Children’s Games in the New Media Age (2014), Changing Play (2014), and The Lifework and Legacy of Iona and Peter Opie (2019).