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Play with Peter Gray


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This is episode 27 and today I’m here with Peter Gray talking about play.

Peter is a research professor of psychology at Boston College and founding board member and president of the alliance for self-directed education. You know him from his Psychology Today blog Freedom to Learn and his incredible book Free to Learn.

Adventure of the Week

I share our adventure at the Pacific Science Center, Great Wolf Lodge, and the Museum of Flight.


Unpacking: We explains what we’ve gotten wrong.

Definition: We go over the qualities of real play.

Purpose: We cover the benefits of real play.

Mixed Age Play: We share why mixed age play is so valuable.

Scaffolding: We share what scaffolding looks like and how it’s so valuable.

Equality: We talk about supporting a more advanced level of moral development.

Screens: We explain the best thing parents can do who are concerned about the effects of technology on their children.

Independence: We go over what parents can do to support more independent play.

Lifestyle: Peter leaves us with what ingredients he sees as essential in the lifestyle of a child.

Q & A

I tackle this question from Leah: “How can we help children who haven’t had the opportunity to freely play in the past relearn and redevelop those play skills again. We do know through research that the ability to play and imagine absolutely can disappear if we don’t foster opportunities and environment for it. So, once we become aware, how do we help them relearn the joy?”

Dive Deeper

Disclosure: When I recommend a product that I believe will add value for you, it may contain an affiliate link. When you click the link to make a purchase, I may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. 

Free to Learn

Freedom to Learn Psychology Today

Children and Play in the Holocaust

Let Grow

Alliance for Self-Directed Learning


Free-Range Kids

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  1. Lisa Jones says:

    This interview is everything! I wish every parent and every educator (basically everyone who’s around kids for any reason) would listen to this.

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I work from an island in the Pacific Northwest, where I live wild and free in connection with my hilarious husband and three growing sailors in our fixer upper on the beach. I authentically live this healing work out loud raising my own neurodivergent family (inner child included) and draw on my decades of education and experience (I've done all the nerdy work so you don't have to) to guide a revolution of overwhelmed parents just like you to feeling at peace within yourself, consciously connected with your children, embraced by a supportive community, and enjoying a values-aligned life you love.

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