#PS-04-09 Exploring Play: The Importance of Play in Everyday Life

  • Categories Psychology
  • Duration 13h
  • Total Enrolled 4
  • Last Update November 26, 2020

About Course

The University of Sheffield


This course from the School of Education at the University of Sheffield will encourage you to think differently about play.

We’ll discuss definitions of play and current debates about how the nature of play changes. Does play help us to learn? Can it prepare young people to be successful in the adult world? Are all forms of play good for us?

What topics will you cover?

  • The history and diversity of play.
  • Definitions and rhetorics of play.
  • Play across lifespan, cultures and contexts.
  • Play in outdoor and indoor environments.
  • Emotion, gender and play.
  • Trauma and play.
  • Disability and play.
  • Teenagers, adults and play.
  • Intergenerational play.
  • Modern technology and play.
  • The relationship between virtual play and the outside world.
  • Play, curiosity, creativity and innovation.

Who will you learn with?

Elizabeth Wood (Educator)

I am Professor of Education at the University of Sheffield, and specialise in researching play. Developing the MOOC with colleagues across different disciplines has been fascinating.



Jackie Marsh

I am Professor of Education at the University of Sheffield. I am interested in children’s development of digital literacies and creativity through their engagement in making and makerspaces.



Who developed the course?

The University of Sheffield

The University of Sheffield is one of the world’s top 100 universities with a reputation for teaching and research excellence.

What Will I Learn?

  • Describe Brian Sutton-Smith’s seven rhetorics of play.
  • Explore the history of toys and games.
  • Identify continuity and change in play across centuries.
  • Compare play activities across cultures.
  • Debate the impact of modern technology on play.
  • Investigate where children and teenagers play in your neighborhood.
  • Discuss the provision and exclusion of play spaces in society.
  • Explore the role of emotion and gender in children’s play.
  • Evaluate the role of play during times of illness, trauma or accident.
  • Investigate types of play in virtual worlds.
  • Summarise the experiences of activists, practitioners and parents in relation to disability and play.
  • Demonstrate an understanding of serious play through playful missions.
  • Reflect on the relationship between play, creativity and innovation in the workplace.

Topics for this course

13 Lessons13h

Welcome to the course?

Elizabeth Wood, Professor of Education at the University of Sheffield, introduces you to the course from The Climbing Works in Sheffield.
Welcome to Exploring Play: The Importance of Play in Everyday Life00:03:10
How to use required reading, optional further reading and references
Your play life, then and now

Definitions of play?

In the next set of activities, you will consider the significance of play and reflect on various definitions of play.

Play across the lifespan?

This activity gives insights and a chance to reflect on how play in childhood can potentially translate into adult lives.

Play across cultures?

In this section, we'll explore three aspects of the relationship between play and culture.

Additional activity?

These activities are optional. The first will enhance your understanding of the power of play. The second will give more detail on different definitions of play.

Student Feedback


Total 4 Ratings

3 ratings
1 rating
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This course will help us analyze the definition and history of games, and how to use games to solve the generation gap between two generations. Not only teachers, but also parents should be recommended to learn.

In this era, teenagers are fond of games, while parents deny all games. In fact, games can make children play and arouse their curiosity, creativity and innovation. So we should rationally guide children to play games. This course is worth learning for parents.

In this course we discuss the definition of games and the current debate about how the nature of games is changing. Games can help us learn. They can help young people succeed in the adult world. But not all forms of play are good for us.

Professor Jackie Marsh has done a wonderful job in her lectures. I like the way she gives her lectures. They are straightforward and easy to understand.


Material Includes

  • Official Certificate

Target Audience

  • Play is a fundamental part of innovation and creativity across a whole range of subjects, careers, disciplines and industries, from fashion and engineering to teaching and business.
  • This course will be of interest to you if you wish to work or study in the fields of psychology, playwork, childhood studies, play therapy, hospital play, teaching, childcare, or if you just want to better understand your relationship with the children in your life and your own play.