Skip to main content Accessibility help
The Cambridge Handbook of Play
  • Get access
    Check if you have access via personal or institutional login
  • Cited by 1
  • Cited by
    This book has been cited by the following publications. This list is generated based on data provided by CrossRef.

    Fleer, Marilyn 2019. Cultural-Historical Approaches to Studying Learning and Development. Vol. 6, Issue. , p. 53.


Book description

Play takes up much of the time budget of young children, and many animals, but its importance in development remains contested. This comprehensive collection brings together multidisciplinary and developmental perspectives on the forms and functions of play in animals, children in different societies, and through the lifespan. The Cambridge Handbook of Play covers the evolution of play in animals, especially mammals; the development of play from infancy through childhood and into adulthood; historical and anthropological perspectives on play; theories and methodologies; the role of play in children's learning; play in special groups such as children with impairments, or suffering political violence; and the practical applications of playwork and play therapy. Written by an international team of scholars from diverse disciplines such as psychology, education, neuroscience, sociology, evolutionary biology and anthropology, this essential reference presents the current state of the field in play research.


‘The amount of time that should be devoted to play in early childhood education and the potential benefits it might bring remain contentious issues. For those seeking a larger, cross-species and cross-cultural panorama on play, this Handbook will be refreshing. With contributions from a multidisciplinary set of authors, Smith and Roopnarine have assembled a weighty – but uplifting – Handbook.'

Paul Lansley Harris - Harvard University, Massachusetts

‘Smith and Roopnarine bring together leaders in the scholarly study of play to create a rich, authoritative resource that provides theoretical frameworks, historical evidence, and up-to-date findings about the many contexts in which play occurs. While each chapter is valuable on its own, the individual contributions are even more significant as part of this collection.'

Dana Gross - St Olaf College, Minnesota

‘The editors of this Handbook assemble the most current thinking and research on play, ranging from its evolutionary origins and development across the lifespan, to play theory and empirical methods, to its impact on learning and overall wellbeing, to its educative and therapeutic applications, and to the influence of family and culture. Forget the shelf, this book belongs on every play scholar’s desk.’

Rick Worch - Bowling Green State University, Ohio

‘A fascinating mix of play theory, practice and practicalities, this comprehensive Handbook offers an in-depth insight into the complexities of play research. Students and seasoned researchers alike will be challenged to consider their own approaches to play and play research by the diverse biological, sociocultural, theoretical and methodological perspectives presented in this book.'

Shelly Newstead - Common Threads

'As societies change, so must the techniques educators use to foster play in children’s lives. Each article is well written and accompanied by an extensive bibliography supporting the article's specific focus. One of the refreshing points made is that childhood is its own time and not merely a preparation for adulthood. This volume offers much to those experienced in the field of play and to those new to it.'

S. Sugarman Source: Choice

Refine List
Actions for selected content:
Select all | Deselect all
  • View selected items
  • Export citations
  • Download PDF (zip)
  • Send to Kindle
  • Send to Dropbox
  • Send to Google Drive
  • Send content to

    To send content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about sending content to .

    To send content items to your Kindle, first ensure is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about sending to your Kindle.

    Note you can select to send to either the or variations. ‘’ emails are free but can only be sent to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

    Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

    Please be advised that item(s) you selected are not available.
    You are about to send

Save Search

You can save your searches here and later view and run them again in "My saved searches".

Please provide a title, maximum of 40 characters.

Page 1 of 2

Page 1 of 2


Altmetric attention score

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Book summary page views

Total views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between #date#. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed