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The Theory of Play

"playfulness is ... not only to be enjoyed but to be accorded high value for its fundamental role in the success of all organisms, including humans." -- from Variability in Brain Function and Behavior
One can and should indeed take play seriously. The list below provides an evolving set of resources to help think about exactly what play is and what role it has in biology, education and life. Updated summer 2005 by Kate Shiner, as part of the activities of the Serendip/SciSoc 2005 working group. Suggested additions to this list are welcome.

On Serendip

Variability in Brain Function and Behavior

Playgrounds and Classrooms

Elsewhere on the Web


Non-humans

Jungle Gyms: The Evolution of Animal Play
Article for Zoogoer by Alex Hawes

Why Animals Love to Play
Article for Ask by Ellen Braaf

Play
Clear, concise organization of some major concepts in animal play theory

The Power of Play
Website from an Animal Planet documentary, includes clips of animals at play, interview with an expert, and an interactive quiz

Humans

Right to Play
Play advocacy organization website

Social Study Games
A rich resource for those interested in the social and educational aspects of virtual reality gaming

Why we Play Games
A corporate prospective

Child's Play? It's more important to your child than you realize!

Play is the Business of Kids
from the National Network for Child Care (1994)

The Worksheet Dilemma: Benefits of Play-Based Curricula
by Sue Grossman, Assistant Professor of Early Childhood Teacher Education, Eastern Michigan University

Why Children Talk to Puppets
Resources for puppet-making and links to articles about the theory behind learning through puppetry

And elsewhere ...

Taking Play Seriously
Robin Marantz Henig, New York Times Magazine, 17 February 2008




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