UnschoolingLife

Peter Gray on Play

Play
me and siblings 1974

Amy and siblings, 1974. “Free to Be You and Me” is probably playing in the background.

Transcription

Today we hear from Peter Gray about the importance of play in a child’s development, education, and general wellbeing.

In Free to Learn: Why Unleashing the Instinct to Play Will Make Our Children Happier, More Self-Reliant, and Better Students for Life, Gray argues that children who are free to pursue their own interests through play will learn to regulate emotions, to overcome narcissism, to be empathetic and creative, to think abstractly, and to discover and develop their passions.

And everyone has a copy of Free to Be… You and Me in their record collection…. RIGHT?

Peter Gray has conducted and published research in neuroendocrinology, developmental psychology, anthropology, and education. He is co-author of an internationally-acclaimed introductory psychology textbook which views all of psychology from an evolutionary perspective.

Peter Gray

His recent research focuses on the role of play in human evolution and how children educate themselves, through play and exploration, when they are free to do so. He has expanded on these ideas in his book Free to Learn: Why Unleashing the Instinct to Play Will Make Our Children Happier, More Self-Reliant, and Better Students for Life (Basic Books, 2013). He also authors a regular blog called “Freedom to Learn” for Psychology Today magazine.

His own current play life includes not only his research and writing, but also long-distance bicycling, backwoods skiing, kayaking, and backyard vegetable gardening.

1 comment to Peter Gray on Play

  • Thanks! It was great to put a voice with a book! Our library just got my copy of “Free to Play” last week. It’s been an inspiring read so far, although some of the anecdotal evidence towards the front is heartbreaking.

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