Play from Birth to Twelve : Contexts, Perspectives, and Meanings book cover
3rd Edition

Play from Birth to Twelve
Contexts, Perspectives, and Meanings

ISBN 9781138804135
Published March 24, 2015 by Routledge
492 Pages

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Book Description

In light of recent standards-based and testing movements, the issue of play in child development has taken on increased meaning for educational professionals and social scientists. This third edition of Play From Birth to Twelve offers comprehensive coverage of what we now know about play and its guiding principles, dynamics, and importance in early learning. These up-to-date essays, written by some of the most distinguished experts in the field, help educators, psychologists, anthropologists, parents, health service personnel, and students explore a variety of theoretical and practical ideas, such as:

  • all aspects of play, including historical and diverse perspectives as well as new approaches not yet covered in the literature
  • how teachers in various classroom situations set up and guide play to facilitate learning
  • how play is affected by societal violence, media reportage, technological innovations, and other contemporary issues
  • play and imagination within the current scope of educational policies, childrearing methods, educational variations, cultural differences, and intellectual diversity

New chapters in the third edition of Play From Birth to Twelve cover current and projected future developments in the field of play, such as executive function, neuroscience, autism, play in museums, "small world" play, global issues, media, and technology. The book also suggests ways to support children’s play across different environments at home, in communities, and within various institutional settings.

Table of Contents


Introduction, Doris Pronin Fromberg and Doris Bergen

Part I Perspectives on Play Development

1 Play Development from Birth to Age Four, Barbara P. Garner and Doris Bergen

2 Play Development from Ages Four to Eight Years, James E. Johnson

3 Play and Socialization in Middle Childhood, Doris Bergen and Doris P. Fromberg

4 Gender Identity and Play, Melanie M. Ayres, Aliya Khan, and Leslie D. Levé

5 Play as Children See It, Nancy W. Wiltz and Greta G. Fein

6 Can I Play Too? Reflections on the Issues for Children with Disabilities, Gayle Mindes

7. Play’s Role and Meaning in the Lives of Children with Autism, Pamela Wolfberg

8. Play and Gifted Children, Annemarie Roeper

9 Play in the Context of Lifespan Human Development, Valeria J. Freysinger

Part II Meanings of Play

10 The Meanings in Play with Objects, Shirley K. Morgenthaler

11 Social and Nonsocial Play, Robert J. Coplan, Laura L. Ooi, Alison Kirkpatrick, and Kenneth H. Rubin

12 Language and Play: Natural Partners, Jane Ilene Freeman Davidson

13 Sociodramatic Play Pretending Together, Patricia Monighan Nourot

14 Constructive Play, George Forman

15 Rough-and-Tumble Play from Childhood through Adolescence: Differing Perspectives, Anthony D. Pellegrini,

16 Games with Rules, Rheta DeVries

17 Play as a Context for Humor Development, Doris Bergen

Part III Educational Contexts for Play

18 Adult Influences on Play: The Vygotskian Approach, Elena Bodrova and Deborah J. Leong

19 Social Play in School, Jeffrey Trawick-Smith

20 Play as a Medium for Literacy Development, James F. Christie and Kathleen Roskos

21 Play and Mathematics in Kindergarten, Constance Kamii

22 Scientific Inquiry and Exploratory Representational Play, Christopher R. Wolfe, R. Hays Cummins, Christopher A. Myer, and Elizabeth M. Cedillos

23 Technology Play and Learning, Lena Lee

24 Technology Play Concerns, Diane E. Levin

25 The Role of Play in Assessment, Diane Parham

26 Reconciling Play and Assessment Standards, Doris Bergen

Part IV Social and Physical Contexts for Play

27 Play in Historical and Cross-Cultural Contexts, Donna R. Barnes

28 Influences of Race, Culture, Social Class, and Gender: Diversity and Play, Patricia G. Ramsey

29 Parent–Child and Child–Child Play in Diverse Cultural Contexts, Jaipaul L. Roopnarine and Aimbika Krishnakumar

30 Sibling and Peer Influences on Play, Sherri Oden, Kathleen O. Gray, and Janie A. Winn

31 The Cultural and Familial Contexts of Caregiver Support for Children’s Pretend Play, Wendy Haight and Minhae Cho

32 City Play, Amanda Dargan and Steve Zeitlin

33 Playful Experiences for Children in Museums, Donna R. Barnes

34 Children’s Outdoor Play: An Endangered Activity, Mary S. Rivkin

35 Perspectives on Play and Playgrounds, Joe L. Frost and Irma C. Woods

36 Play as Ritual in Health Care Settings, Laura Gaynard

37 Clinical Perspectives on Play, Karen Gitlin-Weiner

Part V Particular Meanings Embedded in Play

38 The Struggle Between Sacred Play and Festive Play, Brian Sutton-Smith

39 Fantasy and Imagination, Dorothy G. Singer and Jerome L. Singer

40 Sociocultural Influences on Gender-Role Behaviors in Children’s Play, Alice Sterling Honig

41 Play and Violence: Understanding and Responding Effectively, Diane E. Levin

42 Protean Selves, Trading Zones, and Nonlinear Dynamical Systems: The Role of Play in Future Progress, Karen VanderVen

43 How Nonlinear Systems Inform Meaning and Early Education, Doris Pronin Fromberg

44 Play, Technology Toy Affordances and Brain Development, Doris Bergen

45. Play and the Origin of Species, Michael Ellis

Epilogue: Emerging and Future Contexts, Perspectives, and Meanings for Play, Doris Bergen and Doris Pronin Fromberg



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Doris Pronin Fromberg is Professor Emerita at Hofstra University, USA.

Doris Bergen is Distinguished Professor Emerita at Miami University of Ohio, USA.


"It is a delight to welcome this third edition of Play from Birth to Twelve, so brilliantly edited by Doris Pronin Fromberg and Doris Bergen. Such a comprehensive and genuinely helpful resource will prove of theoretical and practical value to all those who deal with children and who want to understand the roles of play in our early lives. Educators, health professionals, students, parents, museum personnel, city designers, and many others will find valuable material in these pages. The scope of the volume and its range of outstanding new and older research is a tribute to the insightful work of its editors. If the content of these essays directed more of our social and educational policy, we would surely have a better world."

Kieran Egan, Professor of Education at Simon Fraser University, Canada

"Broad and deep with appeal to a wide range of practitioners, theorists, researchers, policy makers, and parents, this brilliant book is needed today more than ever before. The editors have provided a rich treasure trove of everything we ever wanted to know about play from theory to practice, and the distinguished chapter authors are recognized experts on play, child development, and education. Teachers struggling with the disappearance of play from current educational settings will find this third edition, up to date with surprising new content and perspectives on the future, to be a comprehensive resource."

Kathryn Castle, Professor & Watson Endowed Chair in Education, Oklahoma State University, USA