Modern Problems of Children's Play: Cultural-Historical Context



The purpose of this article is to analyze the state of modern research on children’s play, approaches to its study, as well as existing methods of its evaluation. The relevance of the topic is due to the leading role of the play in preschool childhood and the complexity of this phenomenon. Play is actively studied, and play interventions are often used. However, the analysis of the literature shows confusion and uncertainty of terminology due to a large spread of theoretical positions and methodological approaches to the study of play. This creates great difficulties in planning and conducting research, and affects their results. The article deals with the issues of defining and classifying play, understanding its structure and development. The main trends of modern research and their connection with classical game theories, the role of cultural-historical approach and the contribution of E.O. Smirnova to the study of play are shown.

General Information

Keywords: preschool, children’s play, pretend play, development of play, structure of play, play theory, cultural-historical approach, playful learning, methods of play evaluation

Journal rubric: Problems of Cultural-Historical and Activity Psychology

Article type: scientific article


Funding. This research was funded by Russian Science Foundation grant number 20-18-00423.

For citation: Veraksa N.E., Veresov N.N., Veraksa A.N., Sukhikh V.L. Modern Problems of Children's Play: Cultural-Historical Context. Kul'turno-istoricheskaya psikhologiya = Cultural-Historical Psychology, 2020. Vol. 16, no. 3, pp. 60–70. DOI: 10.17759/chp.2020160307.

A Part of Article

Scientific interest in play is more than one hundred and fifty years old. However, both recently and decades ago, authors are forced to state that play is notoriously difficult to define, always “escaping” from researchers. The variety of forms, types, and hypostases of play is too vast.


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Information About the Authors

Nikolai E. Veraksa, Doctor of Psychology, professor, Professor, Faculty of Psychology, Department of Educational Psychology and Pedagogical Sciences, Lomonosov Moscow State University, leading researcher Institute of Childhood Family and Childrearing, Russian Academy of Education, Moscow, Russia, ORCID:, e-mail:

Nikolay N. Veresov, PhD in Psychology, Associate Professor, Faculty of Education, Monash University, Melbourne, Australia, ORCID:, e-mail:

Aleksandr N. Veraksa, Doctor of Psychology, Professor, Head of the Department of Educational Psychology and Pedagogy, Faculty of Psychology, Lomonosov Moscow State University, Vice-Director of Psychological Institute, Russian Academy of Education, Moscow, Russia, ORCID:, e-mail:

Vera L. Sukhikh, Еngineer of Department of Educational Psychology and Pedagogy, Lomonosov Moscow State University, Moscow, Russia, ORCID:, e-mail:



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