Welcome to The Playful Child


“What if I was to tell you that a game of peek-a-boo could change the world?” asks seven-year-old Molly Wright, one of the youngest-ever TED speakers. 

Breaking down the research-backed ways parents and caregivers can support children’s healthy brain development, Wright highlights the benefits of play on lifelong learning, behavior and well-being, sharing effective strategies to help all kids thrive by the age of five. She’s joined onstage by one-year-old Ari and his dad, Amarjot, who help illustrate her big ideas about brain science. 

This TED Talk was produced in collaboration with Minderoo Foundation as an educational tool for parents and caregivers around the world and is supported by UNICEF.

By definition, play is purposeless, all-consuming, and fun. But as Dr. Stuart Brown illustrates, play is anything but trivial. It is a biological drive as integral to our health as sleep or nutrition. We are designed by nature to flourish through play.

Dr. Brown has spent his career studying animal behavior and conducting more than six-thousand “play histories” of humans from all walks of life-from serial murderers to Nobel Prize winners. Backed by the latest research, Play (20,000 copies in print) explains why play is essential to our social skills, adaptability, intelligence, creativity, ability to problem solve and more. Particularly in tough times, we need to play more than ever, as it’s the very means by which we prepare for the unexpected, search out new solutions, and remain optimistic. 

A fascinating blend of cutting-edge neuroscience, biology, psychology, social science, and inspiring human stories of the transformative power of play, this book proves why play just might be the most important work we can ever do.

A piazza is a significant space in a city, public space par excellence it is a place of collectivity and encounter. It is also a metaphor that has woven an architectural space in the city, and in infant-toddler centres and preschools, with an idea of participation, democracy and relations.

In the journey leading up to the 2017-2020 City Child Councils elections, the theme of the piazza or square was the subject of deeper exploration in Reggio Emilia’s municipal infant-toddler centres and preschools. This in turn led to making a video based on children’s ideas and thoughts about the square.

This belief in children, the philosophy that embodies the kind of respect and celebration of the child, and the celebration of the brilliance of children captures the essence of the image of the child held deeply within the hearts of the founders of  The Playful Child. 

In Free to Learn, developmental psychologist Peter Gray argues that in order to foster children who will thrive in today’s constantly changing world, we must entrust them to steer their own learning and development. 

Drawing on evidence from anthropology, psychology, and history, he demonstrates that free play is the primary means by which children learn to control their lives, solve problems, get along with peers, and become emotionally resilient. It shows how we can act—both as parents and as members of society—to improve children’s lives and to promote their happiness and learning. 

Sir Ken Robinson is among the world’s elite thinkers when it comes to creativity and innovation. Robinson has dedicated much of his professional life to helping governments, educational systems and businesses understand that creativity is not a fanciful luxury.

In his powerful talk, he brings forth many ideas that beg for consideration from such things industrialization and its impact on education, conformity, and innovation. 

Through this fascinating and deeply thought-provoking presentation, Sir Ken Robinson encourages us to think critically of the ways in which we hold space for children. He challenges us to consider the importance of careful reflection and how we must now consider the systemic impact that traditional paradigms and practices have on children’s thinking, learning, and creativity. 

The Neuroscience of the Developing Child  focuses on the fundamental importance of self-regulation as a critical skill for young children to develop as a tool for leading happy, fulfilled lives. 

Packed with accessible information about the neuroscience of early brain development and real-life case studies, this book shows parents and educators how to put self-regulation theory into action at home or in educational settings. 

Dr Conkbayir draws upon a wide range of resources to show readers how they can nurture self-regulation through their daily interactions with children, the environment, and the experiences they offer them.

Play is our brain's favorite way of learning.

Diane Ackerman
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