What the Experts Say
“Decades of research has shown that play is crucial to physical, intellectual, and social-emotional development at all ages. This is especially true of the purest form of play: the unstructured, self-motivated, imaginative, independent kind, where children initiate their own games and even invent their own rules.”
“Real learning takes place by what Maria Montessori would call the absorbent mind of the child. Simply absorbing their universe, absorbing it, becoming it, and they do this through play. Play can be the most serious undertaking of a child’s life. It is the most serious undertaking. Play is the most serious activity in their life because they’re literally building their construction of knowledge of the world, of themselves, of the relationship between the two and laying down all the foundations for later forms of intelligence. In all of that, play is the activity itself."
Interview with Joseph Chilton Pearce
"We must learn to raise children in alignment with nature, preserving the innocence of early childhood and refashioning middle childhood as a time of wonder and free play in the natural world. We must assist teenagers to be as authentic and wildly creative as they can be. We must cultivate full societal support for young and middle-aged adults to explore and be transformed by the mysteries of nature and psyche – eventually taking their places as artisans of cultural change. We must do this for all people, in all socioeconomic classes, in all societies."
Interview with Bill Plotkin
"Climbing a tree – working out how to start, testing for strength, feeling how the breeze in your face also sways the branches underfoot, glimpsing the changing vista through the leaves, dreaming about being king or queen of the jungle, shouting to your friends below once you’ve got as high as you dare – is an immersive, 360-degree experience that virtual or indoor settings simply cannot compare with."
“The future will belong to the nature-smart – those individuals, families, businesses, and political leaders who develop a deeper understanding of the transformative power of the natural world and who balance the virtual with the real. The more high-tech we become, the more nature we need.”
“Free play, meaning an activity chosen and directed by the participants and undertaken for its own sake (and not, say, because an adult will give them some kind of credential for doing it), is what kids are designed to do. Children, like many other young animals, learn by playing. ...Free play teaches children how to make decisions, solve problems, exercise self-control, follow rules, regulate their emotions, get along with others, make friends, develop interests and competencies.”
A Serious Need For Free Play by Carlo Rotella