Plenty of universities claim their students “work hard and play hard.” At MIT, definitions of the two can be hard to separate. Curiosity, humor, experimentation, intensity—you’ll find these qualities in the lab, in the classroom, and in the unabashed pursuit of fun.

Compete against thousands to find the “coin” in MIT’s internationally famous Mystery Hunt, held every January since 1981, and win the right to design next year’s elaborate, esoteric series of puzzles. Prior themes include Monopoly, the ocean, and the (mostly fictionalized) history of the hunt itself.

View an exhibit of students’ paper creations for the annual OrigaMIT competition, with award categories ranging from “tessellation design” to “cuteness.” Or stop by any of the club’s weekly Sunday meetings, open to the public, to fold structures ranging from a prickly cactus to a spouting whale.

Develop your playful tech startup through Play Labs, a new incubator/accelerator open to MIT alumni as well as students, run by Bayview Labs in partnership with the Seraph Group, and hosted by the MIT Game Lab. “Playful tech” encompasses virtual and augmented reality, artificial intelligence, 360 video, and more.

Bring the whole family and contribute a segment to the MIT Museum’s FAT (Friday After Thanksgiving) Chain Reaction—celebrating its 20th anniversary this year—or just step back and watch the collectively constructed contraption unfold in all its Rube Goldbergian glory throughout the Rockwell Cage Gymnasium.

At MIT, we also play:

…with our food.


…with juggling pins.


Jeopardy! (and win)


…with robot cheetahs.


…with self-driving rubber duckies.


…with flying machines.


…with drone art.


…with the beat.


…with light.


…with speed.


…with reality.


…with our jewelry.


…with our icons.


…with the possibilities.


  1. Donna Smith

    What a wonderful place to live, to learn, to work, to play. I’m proud my daughter is part of the community!

    Thanks for sharing!

  2. Leah Griffith

    I really hope to someday be a part of this amazing community of brilliant, creative, fantastic students with amazing mentors and teachers! Thank you so much for sharing and making me love MIT even more; I can’t wait to apply next year!

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