This accessible and focused text for early childhood studies and early years students takes the reader through a detailed exploration of the nature of play. It begins by examining definitions of play and supports students to understand some of the key concepts of play. It goes on to consider the benefits of play, creativity and risk and the contexts for play. The final section considers children's rights and the adult role in the facilitation of play. Interactive activities and theory focus features are included throughout, helping students to arrive at an understanding of their own practice in relation to play.