1st Edition

A History of Children's Play and Play Environments Toward a Contemporary Child-Saving Movement

By Joe L. Frost Copyright 2010
    316 Pages
    by Routledge

    320 Pages
    by Routledge

    Children’s play throughout history has been free, spontaneous, and intertwined with work, set in the playgrounds of the fields, streams, and barnyards. Children in cities enjoyed similar forms of play but their playgrounds were the vacant lands and parks. Today, children have become increasingly inactive, abandoning traditional outdoor play for sedentary, indoor cyber play and poor diets. The consequences of play deprivation, the elimination and diminution of recess, and the abandonment of outdoor play are fundamental issues in a growing crisis that threatens the health, development, and welfare of children.

    This valuable book traces the history of children’s play and play environments from their roots in ancient Greece and Rome to the present time in the high stakes testing environment. Through this exploration, scholar Dr. Joe Frost shows how this history informs where we are today and why we need to re-establish play as a priority. Ultimately, the author proposes active solutions to play deprivation. This book is a must-read for scholars, researchers, and students in the fields of early childhood education and child development.

    1. Early Historical Views On Children’s Play 
    2. Play and Play Environments in Early America 
    3. The Early Child-Saving Movement: Shame of the Cities 
    4. The Evolution of the Play and Playground Movement 
    5. Play and the Child Study Movement: Nursery Schools, Kindergartens, and the Developmental Approach to Play 
    6. Play during Hard Times: The Great Depression 
    7. Natural, Built, and Adventure Play Environments: Back To Nature 
    8. The Value of Play and the Consequences of Play Deprivation 
    9. Toward a Contemporary Child Saving Movement


    Joe L. Frost is the Parker Centennial Professor Emeritus, University of Texas.

    "The book is highly readable for the general public, and invaluable for education professionals...I can think of few books of more value for parents and educators to read than this one. It is must reading for all persons interested in the welfare and education of children."--Childhood Education

    "As a hybrid of scholarship and advocacy, as a general survey of play movements and play environments, and as a passionate manifesto for reviving the role of play policy for the next century, A History of Children’s Play and Play Environments constructs a social history of play in America that is determined to prove the beneficial role of play and the pathological consequences of "play deprivation."--American Journal of Play

    "Dr. Joe Frost's extensive background as a scholar and researcher of play is evident in his book."--Teachers College Record

    "This comprehensive examination of play philosophy, trends, cultural differences, policies, and practices through history is a 'must read' for play scholars, researchers, and play advocates. Well-referenced for the play scholar but very readable for the lay person, this book traces the roots of contemporary challenges and documents the need for a 'child saving movement' to restore children’s opportunities for play. Informative and compelling!" --Olga Jarrett, Associate Professor of Early Childhood Education, Georgia State University and President, American Association for the Child's Right to Play (IPA/USA)

    "Joe Frost, an esteemed pioneer in his field, has produced a must read for everyone concerned about the health and well-being of children. A History of Children's Play and Play Environments is a wake up call to the essential need to bring back unstructured play and the dire consequences for an increasingly sedentary society."-- Richard Louv, author of Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder