Peter Gray is the author of Psychology, an introductory textbook now in its sixth edition, and, most recently, Free to Learn: Why Unleashing the Instinct to Play Will Make Our Children Happier, More Self-Reliant, and Better Students for Life. It discusses how to bring more play into kids’ lives, the catalyst that led him to explore play’s benefits, his theories on play as a primal mode of education, and advice to inspire play.
His past research had to do with basic mammalian motivational mechanisms, and his present research has to do with children’s play and its educative value.
00:42 The origin story of Dr. Gray’s Career
15:13 Free Play
20:39 Fear on letting kids to play outside
39:14 Founding the Alliance for Self-Directed Education
49:36 Montessori – Work VS Play
53:04 Online Play
“I’ve always felt like I wanted to do things that would help make the world better.”
“With every 10 years, kids have less time to play than they did the previous 10 years.”
“Unfortunately, we set the pattern and it spreads. It starts maybe upper-class and it seeps down to affect everybody. I used to be able to say that working class people, and even people in some poverty, that the kids had more freedom to play in the United States than wealthier kids did, but I don’t think that’s true anymore.”
“The other thing that plays a role in why children aren’t outdoors playing is the fact that we developed a set of irrational fears about how dangerous it is outdoors.”
“When children are playing on their own, they’re making their own decisions about what to do. They’re solving their own problems.”