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.

Contexts for Play

Contexts for play

Through reading this chapter, you will:

  • consider the many and varied places in which children play;
  • reflect on your use of indoor and outdoor play and the environmental connections;
  • be prompted to consider the value and limitations of a range of contexts, including time boundaries to play;
  • learn about concepts of affordance, loose parts, and the imaginal theatre (that is self-constructed).

Through reading this chapter you will become more aware of the many and varied opportunities for play that lie beyond the nursery, and that these may in turn shape your ideas for qualitative improvement within your play spaces.


Having considered in previous chapters how play benefits children physically, socially and emotionally, this chapter will change perspective to consider the environment for play. It focuses ...

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