The Value of Play-I: The Definition of Play Gives Insights

The value of play

Most of this essay is about the defining characteristics of play, but before listing them there are three general points that I think are worth keeping in mind. The first point is that the characteristics of play all have to do with motivation and mental attitude, not with the overt form of the behavior. Two people might be throwing a ball, or pounding nails, or typing words on a computer, and one might be playing while the other is not. To tell which one is playing and which one is not, you have to infer from their expressions and the details of their actions something about why they are doing what they are doing and their attitude toward it.

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