1st Edition

Play for Health Across the Lifespan Stories from the Seven Ages of Play

By Julia Whitaker, Alison Tonkin Copyright 2021
    216 Pages 19 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    216 Pages 19 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Play for Health Across the Lifespan uses case studies to explore the impact of play and creativity on health and wellbeing throughout the lifecycle. While play at the start of life influences future development, the authors show play also has a role in improving prospects for health and wellbeing in adulthood and later life.

    A relational approach to health and wellbeing emphasizes the dynamic, mutually influential relationship between individual development and the changing contexts of our lives. Our personal play history is one feature of this dynamic process, and this book explores how the experience of play throughout the life course sculpts and resculpts the shape of our lives: our physical health, our mental wellbeing, and our relationship to the people and the world around us. Storytelling has been used since the beginning of time to communicate important life lessons in an engaging way. Taking inspiration from Shakespeare’s ‘Seven Ages of Man’, the book uses a case-story approach to differentiate the stages of development and to present evidence for how play and playful experiences impact on health and wellbeing from birth to the end of life in the context of temporal and situational change. Each chapter in Play for Health Across the Lifespan introduces relevant evidence-based research on play and health, before presenting several narrative ‘case stories’, which illustrate the application of play theory and the neuroscience of play as they relate to each life stage.

    With contributions from specialists in health and education, community organizations and the creative and performing arts, this book will appeal to academics, students, and practitioners who are interested in exploring the role of play in addressing contemporary challenges to our physical, mental, and social health.

    Introduction.  1.Play for Health: A Journey for Life  2.Tell Me a Story  3.Infancy and the Early Years  4.The School Years  5.Adolescence  6.Early Adulthood  7.The Middle Years  8.Elderhood  9.The End of Life



    Julia Whitaker has a background in social work, family therapy, and healthcare play specialism and has over 30 years’ practice and teaching experience in both public and private sectors. She is currently interested in exploring how play and playfulness impact on health and wellbeing throughout the life course and has a special interest in the role of play in the attachment process.

    Alison Tonkin looks after the Higher Education provision at Stanmore College, teaching and managing a range of courses linked to working with children and young people and healthcare for adults. With a research background in health promotion among preschool children and having worked as a diagnostic and therapeutic radiographer, the link between health and education is actively promoted. The importance of play and playfulness for health and wellbeing for children and adults alike is an area of particular interest.

    'Play is a vital element for lifelong health, well‐being and learning. This whistlestop tour of its role in human development is conveyed through a highly readable combination of scholarly narrative and illuminating anecdotes. It is an outstanding achievement, with significant implications for our society and culture, which should be read by all practitioners and policymakers in health, education and social services.'

    Sue Palmer, author of Toxic

    Childhood and Chair of Upstart Scotland.