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Play as a Resource for Children Facing Adversity: An Exploration of Indicative Case Studies

In this paper, we suggest that the ability and opportunity to play affords children a natural resource to meet intellectual and emotional challenge. Analysis of case studies focusing on interventions with children caught in the bombing of Beirut, children abandoned to the state system in Romania, and the street children in Rio de Janeiro and Cali is used to support this view. When resources are in deficit, challenge is more likely to become adversity. The impact of adversity is particular to context, but comparison across contexts also shows connections between children’s disparate experiences. Analysis confirms that given the opportunity, children interact with and influence their environment through play and that this process provides a resource to meet the challenge of adversity.