Dr Pete King has a PhD in Childhood Studies from Swansea University and is the programme manager for the MA Developmental and Therapeutic Play and MA Childhood Studies Programmes. Pete’s research has been published both nationally and internationally and his current book, ‘The Play Cycle: Theory, Research and Application’, incorporates both current theory and research of the Play Cycle.
We discuss the research carried out by Dr King and his colleague Dr. Shelly Newstead on the Play Cycle, which was first introduced as a 1998 conference paper in Colorado by Gordon Sturrock and Professor Perry Else.
The play cycle is broken down into six elements: pre cue, play cue, play return, play frame, flow, and annihilation. Dr. King has proposed an addition to the play cycle incorporating Von Uexküll’s functional cycle, Nicholson’s loose parts and Gibson’s affordances.
Pete is a speaker at the upcoming 22nd International Play Association Triennial World Conference on 6th-9th June 2023 in Glasgow where the focus is on how to improve children’s right to play and to create possibilities for the future.
The Play Cycle (in a nutshell): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2Qfqjy4IHr0&t=40s
Dr King’s YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/@drpeteking1751
King, P. & Newstead, S. (2019). Re-defining the Play Cycle – an empirical study on playworkers’ understanding of playwork theory. Journal of Early Childhood Research.
Sturrock G and Else, P. (1998) ‘The Colorado Paper’ – The playground as therapeutic space: Playwork as healing. In P Else and G Sturrock (Ed.) (2006), Therapeutic playwork reader one 1995– 2000 (pp. 73–104). Eastleigh, Common Threads Publications Ltd:
A Theoretical Expansion of the Play Cycle Jakob von Uexküll’s Functional Cycle and the Perceptual Cue by Dr Pete King available here: https://www.museumofplay.org/app/uploads/2022/08/14-2-Article-3-Play-Cycle.pdf
Nicholson, Simon. (1971). “How NOT to Cheat Children: The Theory of Loose Parts.” Landscape Architecture 62:30–34.
Gibson, James Jerome. (1986). The Ecological Approach to Visual Perception.
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