Imitation and Play


Joan Almon

Philipp Reubke

Bern Rosslenbroich

Joan Almon

Joan Almon

Research on Free Play

  • The role of imitation

Helicopter parents who put their children on ‘a pedestal’ are to blame for them still living at home at 25, according to an expert. Article by Sarah Harris for the Daily Mail, 8 December 2017 . “Professor Lancy believes the West should look at other cultures and their more ‘natural’ ways of rearing children. He said: ‘I think one of the greatest things that we’ve lost, which you become aware of in a village in somewhere like Papua New Guinea, (is that) children have learned from watching other people do stuff. ‘I mean building things, making things, working out of doors, watching adults work on the farm.‘Even before children’s attention was captured 24/7 by social media and video games, play had moved indoors. Partly for safety concerns, the overprotection issue. ‘If I were a parent (or teacher) of children now, I would make sure that they had opportunities to watch. Then even better, to pitch in, help out.’ Read more.

  • Video: Children at play provide a rare glimps into the imagination, ours and theirs. 

A lovely exploration of human nature and society, this film takes us into an unusual outdoor nursery. With the woods as their classroom and playground, a group of small children explore their surroundings and their relationships with each other in a remarkably free and unfettered environment. Through the children’s imaginative activities and games we can see flashes of their personal and collective development, a striking example of playing as learning. 15 minutes video, posted on

  • The Guardian: Let children play.

An European call for action. Read more

  • Free play in Brazilian Waldorf Kindergartens  See 30
  • Why adults have to stop trying so darn hard to control how children play. 

Article in the Washington Post by Valerie Strauss which explains why free play is important: “If children truly got hours of free play with friends every day both during school and outside of school, they would learn the essential skills of negotiation, trading, conflict-resolution, empathy, kindness, sharing, compassion, and so much more. All we need to do is stop trying so darn hard to control every outcome of every interaction between children. It is time we step back and let the children play – for this is how they’ll learn to cope in the real world” Read more

  • Have Children Lost their Ability to Play?

Education expert Rae Pica notes that teachers often tell her that children don’t know to play anymore. In this 10 minute podcast episode of Studentcentricity, Pica interviews early childhood expert Nancy Carlsson-Paige on how to promote unstructured play in early childhood. Pica and Carlsson-Paige discuss the value of play and comment on how societal factors like media and academic pressure in the early years are impeding children’s natural inclinations to play. Listen the Podcast

  • Play: Children’s Default Setting.

An interesting blog by Adrian Voce, writer and consultant on children’s play. While the precise nature of play remains elusive and indefinable, several academic disciplines – from evolutionary biology to developmental and depth psychology and the emergent neurosciences – each agree in their different ways that children’s play is central to who and what we are. (April 28, 2016) Read more

  • Being bored is good for children – and adults. This is why.

Article by Teresa Belton and published on the website of the World Economic Forum. “Parents often feel guilty if children complain of boredom. But it’s actually more constructive to see boredom as an opportunity rather than a deficit. Parents do have a role, but rushing in with ready-made solutions is not helpful. Rather, children need the adults around them to understand that creating their own pastimes requires space, time and the possibility of making a mess (within limits – and to be cleared up afterwards by the children themselves).”  Download the article

  • We need hidden worlds.

A nice illustrated blog by Laura Grace Weldon about the importance for children to create hidden places during free play. (October 15, 2013 Read more

  • Symbolic Play and Emergent Literacy.

An article by Sandra and William Stone on the website of the International Council for Childrens Play. It might be useful for all those, who want to show, that play is actually a good preparation for formal learning. “The very nature of symbolic play (first-order symbolism) has an intimate relationship with reading and writing (second-order symbolism) in that children use similar representational mental processes in both.” (2007) Read more