The Science Behind the Expression Swing

The Expression Swing by GameTime is based on the science of play & the principle of attunement. This is the bonding which occurs between a child & an adult where they are engaged in a play activity together whilst they make eye contact.  The Expression Swing is purposely designed and manufactured so that a child and adult can swing together, face to face and of course eye to eye.

Watch this video below to hear Mr Dr. Stuart Brown, Medical Doctor. discuss the overall science behind an Expression Swing & how it is a catalyst for creating intergenerational play in communities not only in Australia but around the world.


Science for Social Change

When a parent and a child make eye contact during play, something special happens. The portions of the brain that are responsible for balance and coordination, thought and language are stimulated. Scientists have observed an increase in brain activity in both parent and child at the moment of eye contact by using an encephalograph. This moment of “play attunement” is critical in the development of the parent/child bond and is essential in the early development of a child’s life.

Three-dimensional movement, like that experienced in swinging, stimulates the parts of the brain that enhance our emotions and cognitive development. By combining three-dimensional movement with eye contact, we can create a play experience that provides cognitive, emotional and physical benefits for both adult and child.

All over the world, we talk with people who are looking for opportunities to create mixed-age (intergenerational) social play. A U.K. study 1 found that 1 in 5 adults have forgotten how to play with their children, and 55% of children desire more play interaction with their parents and grandparents. A report 2 on baby boomers in the United States found one of the top priorities of adults  reaching retirement age is living in neighborhoods that enable them to play and interact with their children and grandchildren on a regular basis. The need for adult/child play interaction drove us to create more than just a swing. We leveraged the science of play attunement to create a catalyst for social change.

Expression Swing™ is more than an adult/toddler combination swing. It is an opportunity for adults and children to interact with one another in meaningful, social play. Rather than standing behind a child and pushing him or her without being able to see one another, the patent pending, face-to-face design pairs a bucket seat for children with a comfortable adult swing seat that allows a parent and child (or grandparent and grandchild) to interact with each other and experience one another’s facial expressions during play. Dr. Stuart Brown, M.D. is a world-renowned expert on  the benefits of play. He is the founder of the National Institute for Play and the author of Play: How it Shapes the Brain, Opens the Imagination and Invigorates the Soul.

He describes Expression Swing as “a wonderful design that brings many foundational elements of play, based on good play science, into action. This swing allows mutual, joy-filled eye contact that activates the hard-wired play ‘state’ to spontaneously and vigorously emerge. It allows intergenerational mutual play to occur throughout the life cycle and stimulates cerebra-cerebellar circuits that we know are hugely important for developmental competency.”

Expression Swing brings adults and children together in play like nothing has before. Just as parents and grandparents relish the memory of a child’s first step or first day of school, Expression Swing allows them to participate, first-hand, in a child’s first swinging play experience and to see what you’ve been missing.