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Michael Rosen's Book of Play


When did you last make time for play? Today, we don't get nearly enough play in our lives. At school, children are drilled on exams, while at home we're glued to our screens.


Former children's laureate and best-selling author Michael Rosen makes a case for the importance of play in this new book. He explains why play matters so much for creativity, resilience, and much more.


Packed with prompts for creative indoor and outdoor play for all pages, this book acts as both an instructional text book, journal, and how-to guide.

Rosen explores play theory - from word play, to play as a way to learn things like empathy or conflict resolution, to digital play and physical toys. The rich history of play, from our caveman ancestors to Ancient Egypt, the "bizarre world" of Surrealism to today, is delved into. Rosen looks at how we can bring "this rich history to bear on how we play today". Theorists and leading educators are explored, and so too is the impact of education and Government on play.


The book is not solely for educators - although any educator interested in play theory should absolutely read this book - but more for adults. It is no secret that as we age, we lose the time and motivation to play, and gain societal expectations that come with being 'grown up'. Too often that includes the idea that play isn't for adults. But as Rosen argues, play is vital at any age.


Each chapter includes a handful of prompts and ideas designed to offer the reader an "extra dollop" of play in their life. The activities can seem a little structured to start with, but by giving them a go the reader slowly loses their inhibitions and the games become pivotal to the point Rosen is trying to prove - that play, while enjoyable, is far from trivial.


Reviewer: Rebekah Fraser

Allen & Unwin, RRP $32.99

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