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DOUBLE TAP TO ZOOM WITH PHONE OR TABLET Introduction • Play Is Still Play Most books about this topic start with an argument in defense of play—a litany of reasons we should all value play as a legitimate use of children’s time and energy. I choose instead to begin this book on the offense, ready to score, prepared to rack up an easy victory on behalf of Team Play. I can do this because the strongest evidence for the value of play already lives in you, in your heart and mind, fueled by all the positive memories of play from your own childhood. Remember that time you lay in the grass and rolled down a hill, the sky spinning over your head, the smell of wet mulch in your nose, laughing out loud when you crashed into your best friend at the bottom of the hill? Or that time you built a castle out of a cardboard box, with a maze of rooms and corridors inhabited by wizards and elves? Remember when you cuddled that beloved soft, stuffed bear, surrounded by a fort of pillows and cushions, whispering secrets in your bear’s fuzzy ear? You may not have these exact memories of these exact play experiences, but you probably remember something very similar. We each have our own direct experience with the excitement and plea- sures of play. As parents, we often use our own memories of childhood play as a sort of rubric for measuring our children’s experiences. In my work as a teacher and director in early childhood education for more than twenty-five years, I’ve listened to a lot of parents talk about play. Parents often wonder if play today is different from what they enjoyed as children. They sometimes don’t recognize play in their children’s behavior, especially when children use toys and materials, such as iPads, that they never had. Many parents wonder if technology has a negative effect on their children’s growth and development. Most of all, parents just want to know if their children are normal, happy, and healthy. 1 COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL