Importance of play

Outdoor PlayI have just read a really interesting article stressing the importance of play for children, where the author Dr Peter Gray compares human children to Carnivores and herbivores!  He says “There is a desperate need to give childhood back to children if we want our offspring to have happy productive and moral lives. We must allow more time for play not less, are you listening Michael Gove Secretary of State for Education”.


Peter gives a lovely analogy about the value of play for children’s development. He says “All mammals play when they are young and those that have the most to learn play the most. Carnivores play more than herbivores, because hunting is harder to learn than grazing. Primates play more than other mammals, because their way of life depends more on learning and less on fixed instincts than does that of other mammals. Human children, who have the most to learn, play far more than any other primates when they are allowed to do so. Play is the natural means by which children and other young mammals educate themselves”.

You can read the full article in the Independent. Dr Peter Gray is a research professor of psychology at Boston College and author of the acclaimed textbook ‘Psychology’ (Worth Publishers). His recent 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, £18.99), is available now.

Amazon Kindle version

Amazon Book version

You should take also look at this trailer to a film which is being screened in Worthing on 6th March 2014.  It takes a funny and revealing look at a complex issue, the increasingly disparate connection between children and nature. It emphasises the need for more outdoor play. The film is being shown at various locations around the country more information here.

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