Word play often engages with the intersection between the material and meaning of language: the places where the material of a language subverts meaning. The material of language includes sounds and letters. Puns are made from two or more words that sound alike, the meanings of which are different:
Were I to be punished, (pronounce "punished" with three syllables)
For every little pun I shed,
There would not be a puny shred
Of my punnish head.

Anagrams, spoonerisms, and palindromes play with letters. Renner (as in Renner Hall on Capital's campus) is a palindrome, spelled the same forwards and backwards.

Another form of wordplay has to do with relationships between words. Oxymorons are phrases that have words of oppositional meaning in them and Cockney rhyming slang substitutes rhyming phrases in a code-like format.

Language play is fun. It's a source of humor and also learning about language.
Here is a website full of language play:
http://www.fun-with-words.com/index.html

Here's a neat little poem for "playing with" homophones, those neat little words that sound the same, but are not spelled the same or mean the same:

I Don’t Like Words
By Gregory K. (Pincus)

I don’t like words.
They don’t make sense.
Words make me upset and tense.
How due eye no witch whirred two ewes
Ore how too right thee won aye chews?
Wile sum mite think words are a bawl,
Eye dew knot care fore words at awl!
Rebus Puzzleshttp://kids.niehs.nih.gov/braintpics.htmI often keep these in my bag to take as extra work and challenge them to see who can complete the page correctly first. They think these are really fun and they will suprise you with new answers all the time proving that sometimes there is more than one way to look at things.