1st Edition

Why Play Matters: 101 Activities for Developmental Play to Support Young Children

By Caroline Essame Copyright 2024
    170 Pages 104 Color Illustrations
    by Speechmark

    170 Pages 104 Color Illustrations
    by Speechmark

    170 Pages 104 Color Illustrations
    by Speechmark

    This accessible book is full of play-based activities to support child development. Grounded in evidence-based practice, it inspires and informs readers to understand play, and offers ideas and practical activities to use with the children in their care (ages 0-8).

    Drawing from the holistic and inclusive model of Developmental Play, which includes sensory play, creative-explorative play, meaning-making play and higher play, the activities focus on supporting aspects of social, emotional, physical and cognitive development. Each activity follows the helpful structure: “you’ll need,” “your child will learn” and “top tips,” and shows how play can be used to enhance children’s development in five key areas:

    • To build emotional wellbeing
    • To build social skills
    • To build school readiness
    • To build physical skills
    • To develop sensory processing skills.

    Playfulness is fundamental to healthy holistic development and this book shows you why play matters, how it works, and why each reader should bring play back into children’s lives to give them the best start in life for the best chance in life. It is essential reading for early years practitioners, primary school teachers, occupational therapists and parents.


    Chapter One – The Developmental Play Model

    Chapter Two - 20 Ideas for Developmental Play Pyramid Level 1

    Sensory-Body Play and Attachment-Safety Play

    Chapter Three - 20 Ideas for Developmental Play Pyramid Level 2

    Creative-Explorative Play

    Chapter Four - 20 Ideas for Developmental Play Pyramid Level 3

    Meaning-Making Play

    Chapter Five - 20 Ideas for Developmental Play Pyramid Level 4

    Higher Play

    Chapter Six - 20 Ideas for Nature Play

    Chapter Seven - The Power of Messy Play

    (CreateCATT’s Favourite Play Activity)

    Messy Play

    Chapter Eight - How to Scaffold Climbing up the Pyramid and Circles of Play

    Chapter Nine - Bibliography

    Nature Resources

    Links to Play Practice and Research


    CreateCATT Animations


    Caroline Essame is an occupational therapist, art therapist and educator with over 37 years’ experience in creativity and human development. She has worked in clinical practice, education and development, promoting the role of play and creativity in wellbeing, and healing and development across the world. She is the CEO and Founder of CreateCATT, a child-focused social enterprise, and runs an online academy training across the globe in play-based approaches.

    Barnaby Duffy is a British artist raised and educated in Singapore. He is an illustrator of concept art and comic strips, with completed commissions ranging from professional companies to student magazines and previous work for a documentary crew. He is the animator and illustrator of all CreateCATT graphics.