Peter Gray

Not All Fun & Games: The Incredible Science Of Play & How It Helps Our Kids | Peter Gray






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Have you ever stopped to think about the profound impact of play on your child’s happiness, health and development?

In an era where children’s schedules are packed and screens are everywhere, the fundamental importance of play often gets overlooked. But this is a mistake we can’t afford to make, argues Peter Gray, a world leading psychologist and advocate for childhood play.

In this hugely enlightening episode, Peter leads us on a deep-dive into the magic of play, revealing its pivotal role in boosting brain development, mental health, happiness, and overall well-being in our kids.

Tune in to learn: why play is inextricably linked to learning, how the traditional school system has sidelined play, why kids desperately need unstructured free time, his take on screen time on development, how to foster your child’s natural curiosity, and why we should all strive to ‘un-busy’ our children.

All up, this episode is more than just a conversation – it’s a call to action. It’s about reclaiming childhood, fostering joy, and nurturing the boundless potential that play unlocks. If you’re ready to champion a future where our children are happier, more resilient, and bursting with creativity, then press play now… This is for you.

About Peter Gray

Peter Gray is a research professor of psychology and neuroscience at Boston College who has conducted and published research in behavioral biology, developmental psychology, anthropology, and education. He is author of an internationally acclaimed introductory psychology textbook (Psychology, Worth Publishers, now in its 8th edition), which views all of psychology from an evolutionary perspective. 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), which has been translated into 18 languages. He also authors a regular blog called Freedom to Learn, for Psychology Today magazine and a Substack series entitled Play Makes Us Human.

In this episode we chat about:

  • What does play truly mean for our children? (3:25)
  • The profound impact of play on childhood development and brain health (8:19)
  • The hidden connection between play and your child’s mental well-being (16:31)
  • Are we helping or hindering our kids by packing their schedules to the brim? (24:33)
  • The flaws in our education system that stifle our kids’ natural curiosity (36:15)
  • How you can champion your child’s learning journey, even if homeschooling isn’t an option (43:31)
  • His perspective on the Montessori and Steiner approaches to education (48:38)
  • The great debate – does screen time count as play, or is it robbing our children of genuine experiences? (54:20)

Episode resources:

  • Mastering Your Mean Girl (Book)
  • Open Wide (Book)
  • Comparisonitis (Book)
  • Time Magic (Book)
  • Psychology (Book)
  • Free to Learn (Book)
  • How Children Acquire “Academic” Skills Without Formal Instruction (Book)
  • Evidence that Self-Directed Education Works (Book)
  • Freedom to Learn (Blog)
  • Play makes us human (Website)
  • Alliance for self directed education (Website)
  • Let grow (Website)
  • It’s Complicated: The Social Lives of Networked Teens (Book)
  • Free-Range Kids: How Parents and Teachers Can Let Go and Let Grow (Book)

Thank you so much for listening. I’m so honored that you’re here and would be SO grateful if you could leave me a review on Apple podcasts, that way we can inspire and educate even more people together.

P.S. If you’re looking for a high-impact marketing opportunity for your business and are interested in becoming a sponsor for The Melissa Ambrosini Show podcast, please email pr@melissaambrosini.com for more information.

P.P.S. Please seek advice from a qualified holistic practitioner before starting any new health practice.

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Hi Gorgeous, I'm Melissa.

Multiple bestselling author, #1 podcast host and TEDx speaker.



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