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.


Play allows us to step temporarily out of reality, often in ways that allow us to understand and cope with that reality. This is especially true for children, but to some degree is true for all of us. The COVID pandemic offered a unique opportunity to witness ways that stressful disruption can alter play and play can ameliorate stressful disruption. Anna Beresin, Julia Bishop, and the chapter authors of this book have documented wonderfully some of the ways the world adapted, playfully, to a disruption that, without play, would have been more tragic than it was.

Peter Gray

Research Professor of Psychology and Neuroscience, Boston College, and author of 'Free to Learn: Why Releasing the Instinct to Play Will Make Our Children Happier, More Self-Reliant, and Better Students for Life'.


There is only one word to describe [...] Play in a Covid Frame: monumental. [It] will set the standard for all further discussions on the topic of creative play in times of pandemics, as well as being a rich resource of folkloric material for use by future researchers.

James H. Grayson

Folklore, 2024. doi:10.1080/0015587X.2024.2351283

Full Review



(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).