2nd Edition

Evolutionary Playwork

By Bob Hughes Copyright 2012
    424 Pages 25 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    424 Pages 25 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Play is a crucial component in the development of all children. In this fully updated and revised edition of his classic playwork text, Bob Hughes explores the complexities of children’s play, its meaning and purpose, and argues that adult-free play is essential for the psychological well-being of the child.

    The book is divided into fourteen chapters that together examine the fundamentals of evolutionary play. Firstly, Hughes examines the very earliest ideas of playwork and its impact on brain growth and organization today. He then goes on to explore and explain the key theoretical concepts underlying playwork. These include discussions on free play and creating suitable play environments alongside more thorny issues such as safety and consultation. Finally, the book offers up some of Hughes’ most recent research that reveals how his approach to play and playwork in global society has continued to evolve throughout his career to meet new challenges and needs. Throughout this book, Hughes has included his fellow practitioner Mick Conway’s vivid observations of children at play to bring the facts and arguments in the text to life.

    This revised edition reflects important recent advances in our understanding of the evolutionary history of play and its impact on the development of the brain, of the role play in the development of resilience and of the impact of play deprivation. Evolutionary Playwork is still the only book to combine the reality of playwork practice with the fundamentals of evolutionary and developmental psychology, and it is still essential reading for all playwork students, practitioners and researchers.

    Introduction  1. A Short History of the Development of Evolutionary Playwork  2. Evolutionary Playwork Values  3. What is Evolutionary Play?  4. Play Types and the Playwork Menu  5. Combinatorial Flexibility, Non-Specialisation, Calibration and Contextualisation.  6. Stimulation Theory and Play Deprivation  7. An Introduction to Evolutionary Playwork  8. What is Evolutionay Playwork?  9. The Evolutionary Playwork Construct of the Child  10. The Evolutionary Playworker  11. Safety, Participation and Consultation  12. Is the Play Setting Working?  13. Some Deeper Considerations  Conclusion


    Bob Hughes has been a theoretical and applied playworker for nearly forty years. He is widely published on the subject of Play and Playwork and was the first Editor of the International Play Journal. He has been the National Coordinator of PlayEducation, an independent playwork agency providing training and research services, since 1982.

    "This book is brilliant: so many aspects of play and playwork practice explored and expounded and in a way that actually, for once, makes it fairly easy for the average playworker to understand ... Those of you who read this, and those of you who choose to engage with the philosophy laid out within, will become better at the work you do with children and young people ... this text will not only have an effect on playworkers but has the potential to have a fundamental and profound impact on everyone who is working in the children’s workforce", ip-dip: for professionals in play, November 2011

    "This second edition of Bob Hughes's Evolutionary Playwork is an outstanding book that should be read carefully by anyone who's interested in play, and then read again and again. Its fourteen chapters, extensive reference section, and numerous figures provide the most comprehensive and up-to-date coverage of human play of which I am aware and a bonus is that the book is an easy read with minimal jargon. And, not only does Hughes cover vast amounts of material on the evolution and significance of play, he also makes practical suggestions that play workers will find invaluable", Professor Marc Bekoff, University of Colorado, Psychology Today