This book is a companion volume to the Michigan Television's Where Do the Children Play?, a one-hour documentary for public television that examines how restrictive patterns of sprawl, congestion, and endless suburban development across America are affecting children's mental and physical health and development. Free play is slipping away from children's lives. Yet time spent building forts or exploring outdoors, caring for animals, and pretending or problem-solving with peers is now shown by a large body of research to be essential to healthy development, sprititual attunement, and emotional survival. Open-ended play in places that offer access to woods, gullies, gardens, ditches, boulders, and bike paths enhamces curiosity and confidence throughout life.
This book is an invaluable collection of esssays on play by leading scholars and teachers, including Joe L. Frost, Mary Ruth Moore, Roger A. Hart, Claire Gallagher, Diane Levine, Susan Linn, Ellen Handler Spitz, Penny Wilson, Jeanne Schinto, and Ronald L. Fleming. This new, expanded second edition of the book, originally published in 2001, includes a study guide for educators and discussion leaders, designed to help teachers and community organizers who want to use the documentary film to enhance public understanding about the importance of play.