The need to go out and play

Free Play bookThe importance of free, unstructured play is woefully underestimated by parents and educators, according to a new book by Boston College developmental psychologist Peter Gray. 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, March 2013), Gray shows how the hunter-gatherer way—where children spend their days in mixed-age groups, engaging in self-directed play and exploration—leads to the development of socially, intellectually, and emotionally healthy adults. Says Gray: “Over the past 50 years—as children’s opportunities for free play and exploration have declined—there has been a dramatic rise in anxiety, depression, and suicide in young people, who have not had the opportunity that free play provides to find meaning and joy in life.” Read more
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