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DOUBLE TAP TO ZOOM WITH PHONE OR TABLET The good news is that play is still play. It may look a little different, but it really hasn’t changed. In this book I will remind you of the play you expe- rienced as a child and show you the connections between those memories and the play your child is experiencing today. Some of the toys and the vocabulary of play are a bit different, but the essential play experiences are timeless. What Is Play? Let’s take a moment to define play and ground our conversation in a shared understanding of the experience of play in the lives of children. I prefer a broad and generous definition. Play is pretty much any activity that is done purely for pleasure. While some people may find pleasure in their work, or even in chores such as washing the dishes, that’s not really play, because in play, pleasure is the primary and often sole reason for doing it. Play is just for fun. Play is pretty Play is often, but not always, something children much any activity do. But sometimes adults can play, especially when the that is done purely adults are parents playing with their children. Play often, for pleasure. but not always, involves toys. In truth, toys are not nec- essary for play. The pleasure of play usually comes from freedom and spontaneity, a lack of goals or structure. When we “play with” something, it usually means we are not trying to accomplish a specific goal; we’re just experimenting and seeing what happens. Play can be joyous. Children often smile and laugh when they play. But play can also be absorbing. Instead of smiles, children’s faces may instead show great concentration and focus while they play. Focused, intense play is still play. The Ten Essential Play Experiences This book grew from my talking with parents about their children and lis- tening to parents’ questions about their children’s behavior and develop- ment. I’ve noticed that most parents already have a good understanding of what play is and how their children benefit from it. The concerns I hear 2 … Introduction COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL