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Children, Play, and Development

Children, Play, and Development

Fourth Edition

April 2009 | 384 pages | SAGE Publications, Inc

"Quite simply, this is the best text on play and development I have ever read. It was thought provoking while being reader-friendly at the same time. This work is very thorough and would be an excellent text for undergraduate or experienced in-service graduates."
L. Kathryn Sharp, The University of Memphis

A comprehensive look at children's play from birth to adolescence

Children, Play, and Development, Fourth Edition, discusses the relationship of play to the physical, social, intellectual, and emotional growth of the child. Author Fergus P. Hughes focuses on the historical, sociocultural, and ethological context of play; the role of development in play; and the wide range of theories that provide a framework for interpreting play.

The changes in this thoroughly updated Fourth Edition include new information on cultural differences in object play, a critique of experimental research on play across cultures, brain correlates of aggressive play in humans and animals, the development of the young child's ability to distinguish between reality and make-believe, computers in the classroom, the development of emergent literacy, and the impact of attachment on children's development.

Key Features

  • Offers thorough coverage of theoretical perspectives on play, showing readers how theories contribute to a scientific understanding of play
  • Provides an up-to-date review of the literature, with nearly half of the references new to this edition
  • Includes a rich variety of pedagogical features that illustrate key points and help stimulate class discussions
  • Presents Putting Theory Into Practice sections (two per chapter) that contain practical applications of theory and research

High-Quality Ancillaries

Instructor Resources, including PowerPoint slides, test questions, activities, a sample syllabus, teaching tips, and web resources, are available at

Part I. The Context of Play
1. Historical and Theoretical Viewpoints
2. Ethological and Cultural Perspectives
Part II. The Development of Play
3. The First Two Years of Life
4. The Preschool Years: From 2 to 5
5. Play in Later Childhood and Adolescence
Part III. Individual Differences in Play
6. Gender Differences in Play
7. Play in Special Populations
Part IV. The Benefits of Play
8. Play and Intellectual Development
9. The Social Benefits of Play
10. The Uses of Play in Therapy
About the Author

"This is one of the most inclusive books on play I have yet read."

Donna C. Williams
Ball State University
Adoption Reply Card

“With solid support from research and theory about development and learning, Hughes provides insight into and support for the seminal importance of play in children’s lives.”

Ann Barbour
California State University, Los Angeles

“Quite simply, this is the best text on play and development I have ever read. It was thought provoking while being reader-friendly at the same time. This work is very thorough and would be an excellent text for undergraduate or experienced in-service graduates.”

L. Kathryn Sharp
The University of Memphis

“This book conveys the fundamental importance of play in the lives of children. I feel that professionals in-training need to examine play deeply with a textbook such as this.”

Kimberly M. Ray
Syracuse University

A step by step resource for those wishing to study/teach Play. Theories surrounding historical contexts as well as explanations about the differences in play are easy to access and understand. Lots of practical suggestions at the end of each chapter. An invaluable resource.

Mrs Sharon Colilles
Carnegie Faculty of Sports & Education, Leeds Beckett University
December 6, 2017

Includes updates concepts about play and development

Mrs Navjot Virk
Nursing, Counselling & Psychotherapy, Derby University
May 8, 2015

It is a complete and pedagogical text for the students. They could read it easily and work on the theory-to-practice boxes.

Dr Carmen Viejo
Psychology , UCO - University of Cordoba
February 8, 2016

Excellent coverage of development through the lens of play. It is particularly useful that the analysis goes beyond the young child to cover adolescence and beyond.

Graham Grace-Gardener
Development and Society, Sheffield Hallam University
October 14, 2014

Excellent resources included.

Mrs Denice Williams
Education Division, Indiana University East
September 17, 2014

An excellent book from Hughes that provides students with clear and concise information. The emphasis of how play contributes to the holistic development of children was discussed in a variety of ways.

Mrs Donna O'Connor
Hair Beauty & Early Years, NWRC
April 15, 2014

Sage College Publishing

You can purchase this book and request an instructor sample on our US College site:

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