Sunday, October 1, 2017


“Man only plays when he is in the fullest sense of the word a human being, and he is only fully a human being when he plays” ― Friedrich Schiller

Play has been looked at from various perspectives. Fun, frolic, past time, and other synonymous words are the terms used by the common man to describe play. The way academicians look at play from a philosophical and scientific perspective, helps us understand and look at play from various perspectives.

There are some classical theories of play that emerged in the 19th and 20th century which gives different perspectives to play from a very philosophical perspective.

According to the Surplus energy theory of play by Friedrich Schiller (1873), there is lot of energy that is built up in human which can be released only through active play. Play is a medium of releasing the pent up energy.

Recreation or relaxation theory postulated by Moritz Lazarus (1883), in which he opines that play is a mode of relaxation or a de-stressor which restores all the energy that has been lost in the day to day work related activities.

In Practice or pre-exercise theory, Karl Groos (1898) suggests that play is very important to practice behaviours that will help children to survive when they become adults.

Stanley Hall (1906) in his Recapitulation theory argues of play acting as a catharsis in removing certain primitive and unnecessary instinctual skills and not for survival for the future.

Appleton (1919), in his Growth theory agrees with Groos believing that play is way of learning behaviors for survival  and Ego expanding theories by Lange 1902 and Claparde 1911 opines that Play is nature's way of completing the ego an expressive exercising of the ego and the rest of the personality; an exercising that develops cognitive skills and aids in the emergence of additional skills.

Every theorists have differing views on play, but we can come to a consensus that play is vital and important for various aspects of development in children.


By Dr Srividya K.

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