The place of play in early childhood curriculum documents in many countries in the Asia-Pacific
region is undeniable. Yet the constructs of play in documents from East Asia closely resemble ideas
of play that are valued in western early childhood research, textbooks, policy documents and contexts.
This policy analysis discusses the changing concepts of play that are promoted in several countries
and territories in the Asia-Pacific region. It investigates the challenges these changes present and the
contradictions that may arise in regard to local tradition, heritage and culture in three Asia-Pacific
contexts: Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, Mainland China and Australia. The article
shows how policies change over time and provides a poignant representation of how early childhood
policy and curriculum aspirations for Hong Kong SAR, Mainland China and Australia might have
more in common than in the past.