George Szekely documented set-up artists, cabinet artists, and home chore artists. I can relate to the activities he observed in children who get creative and aesthetic satisfaction from carefully arranging objects in fun and functional ways. So often my play with the kids takes the form of sorting, organizing, and displaying their toys. It’s not cleaning, it’s play.
I get pleasure from seeing all the Playmobil people collected in a single container or the Legos in color-coded piles. I like hanging the dress-up to invite new character development. And I love organizing the spice rack and fruit and veggie bin in the play kitchen. I know these things will not stay neat and tidy for long, and I’m okay with that (for the most part). For me, the set-up is the game. And imagining how my work will enable the kids to play more efficiently, if you can imagine such a thing as efficient play, gives me great gratification.