Book Review: Understanding Kids, Play, and Interactive Design: How to Create Games Children Love by Mark Schlichting

by Julia DeKorte | 29 Nov 2022

Book Reviews

Mark Schlichting’s Understanding Kids, Play, and Interactive Design: How to Create Games Children Love is more than a comprehensive guide, it is both a map and a treasure chest of information on how to create games for children. Diving into all related categories: play patterns, developmental stages, ancestral biology, the digital world versus the physical world, Schlichting covers any question, concern, or curiosity you may have about designing a game.


Split into six parts and further into chapters, Schlichting writes in depth about every aspect of not only the design process, but the how and the why of play. First beginning with identifying play patterns, reviewing different types of play for different developmental stages, and explaining the biological roots and significance of play, Schlichting creates a foundation for which a successful game can be built on. He then moves into the specifics of the components of a game: physical versus digital, audio and visual design choices, the importance of characters and community. He finishes with the nitty gritty: the predesign process, the design process, the production stage, and testing with kids. A final part includes case studies where he shares personal experiences of designing games applying all the information he just shared.


A crucial book to have for anyone involved with the creation of a game, Understanding Kids, Play, and Interactive Design is a complete guidebook filled with information, graphics, anecdotes, and “designer’s notes”. With this book, readers are fully equipped with everything it takes to create dynamic, engaging, and fun play experiences.

game game design game designing play patterns childrens games childrens entertainment

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