peter gray happy kid on swing

Mother Nature Installed the “Play Drive” in Kids. What Happens When It’s Thwarted?

“Peter Gray says…” “Peter Gray writes…” “Well, Peter Gray says… ”

I don’t begin ALL my sentences that way — I don’t think. Only maybe half. Here’s why: Peter Gray, the evolutionary psychologist who wrote “Free to Learn,” my favorite book about childhood development, is onto something huge. His thesis is that we evolved, as a species, to think, work, create, fight, cooperate, tinker, explore, take risks, solve problems, and succeed together. And the way we get all that underway, in every generation, is…

We start out playing.

To play is to learn how to be a human being.

To be in a soccer club, or kazoo class, or clapping circle is to have some fun. But it’s not to play. Play is self-directed. It’s what all mammals do, but humans do more of than anyone else. Or at least it’s what we WANT to do. But adults keep getting in the way.

This brilliant 7-minute video, below, explains Peter’s outlook better than I can. And all that’s missing is a call to action. So here’s mine: If you believe your kids need more free play in their lives, consider having your school, Y, library, church, mosque,  synagogue, HOA or park district to start a Let Grow Play Club. The Club is Peter’s brainchild. He co-founded Let Grow with me. Our implementation guide is FREE. So here’s the video and here’s where you go to make sure free play does not die the death of a thousand lesson plans and after-school activities. – L.

Comments are closed.