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.


When I was five I was allowed out to play in the woods opposite my house. I was not alone when I did so as I lived in the country with neighbours that little bit older than me. I thank my parents enormously for their desire to give me that opportunity to be part of a special ‘child's world’ in close contact with the environment – with the experiences and physical risks it contained. I thank my brothers and neighbours for the experiences of social negotiation, challenge and risk as we dropped in and out of friendships and power struggles.

In my adult working life I have worked with children at play in a range of contexts, from after school clubs to an adventure playground, ...

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