New book focuses on why play for infants and toddlers matters

A new book from Mary McMullen, Professor in Curriculum and Instruction, focuses on the importance of play in infants and toddlers - and adds important research to the early childhood education field.

McMullen was asked to write the book, “Infants and Toddlers at Play: Choosing the Right Stuff for Learning and Development,” by the publisher, the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC). In it, she translated her work throughout her career first as an infant-toddler teacher and then through three decades of work as an academic. When she and co-author Dylan Brody wrote this book, their target audience was pre- and in-service teachers of children birth to age 3 who care for and teach in child care settings (home or center-based). However, this book is excellent for parents and grandparents of infants and toddlers as well.

"The book includes practical resources for parents and caregivers alike, including suggestions for play materials and why they are important for development, as well as safety considerations on a range of topics.

“This book and others that cover the birth to age three period of development is so needed in the field,” McMullen said. “Too little research-based material exists for those who care for and educate our youngest citizens. I think that those who wrote the editorial reviews make the case for the book’s importance.”

The book is available for purchase on NAEYC’s website and Amazon.