Audio / Visual Resources

Supporting the importance of Play


Explores questions about why people play and how play relates to learning.

The play state is the state of true learning. And it’s universal. Play is the practice and development of imagination. Play is a very high neural activity that begins to function very early in life—long before a child’s ability to learn in abstract, symbolic fashion.

Are faith and playfulness connected? Can healthy play be the basis for healthy spirituality? Is play more important than prayer or meditation? How do spiritual quests for a meaningful life and a scientific study of play overlap? Or do they?

A family that plays together stays together. Six playmakers talk about why family play is so important and share their ideas for making family play a priority.

Organizing play for kids has never seemed like more work. But researchers have good news: The best kind of play costs nothing and really only has one main requirement — imagination.

“The function of play is to build pro-social brains, Social brains that know how to interact in positive ways… Play activates the whole neo-cortex.”
– Jaak Panksepp at Washington State University

The joys of adventure playgrounds.


The Benefits of Risk in Children’s Play

Risk teaches children how to fail and try again, test their limits and boundaries, become resilient and acquire coping skills. It’s an important part of play, yet children are allowed fewer and fewer opportunities to experience risk. These leaders in the movement to restore children’s play speak out on the subject.

Bev Boss with Michael Mendizza

After 40 years at the Roseville Community Preschool and over 6,000 presentations to parents and the people who care for children, Bev Boss is known the world over for her insights and deep ecology of childhood. A lovely introduction with Michael Mendizza.

Brains at Play

Video library about early learning with some Audrey Duck segments specifically for children in this time of COVID. Defending the Early Years (DEY)

The Decline of Play

From a biological, evolutionary perspective, play is nature’s means of ensuring that young mammals, including young human beings acquire the skills that they need to acquire to develop successfully into adulthood. Over the last 50-60 years there’s been a continuous erosion in children’s freedom and opportunity to play, to really play, to play freely. Over that same period that play has been declining, we have seen a well-documented increase in all sorts of mental disorders in childhood. There’s good reason to believe that the decline in play is the cause of these deleterious changes. The hue and cry that we hear everywhere is for more school not for more play, and we’ve really got to change that.

Play is imagination. Play is the development of imagination. Play is a very high neural activity that begins to function very early in life—long before [a child’s] ability to learn in abstract, symbolic fashion… The play state is the state of true learning. And it’s universal.

The Importance of Learning Through Play

Video blog by Jennie Johnson of Kids Allowed

The Miraculous Nature of Everyday Play

In this mini-documentary, DEY founders Nancy-Carlsson-Paige and Diane Levin discuss the threats to play, why it’s so important to young children’s optimal development, and why we must preserve and protect it.

Play IS Learning

The state of authentic play is nature’s design for optimum learning and performance, at any age, in any activity.  Five Stars!!! A must see for parents, educators, and early childhood providers. With Michael Mendizza — Touch the Future.

A pioneer in research on play, Dr. Stuart Brown says humor, games, roughhousing, flirtation, and fantasy are more than just fun. Plenty of play in childhood makes for happy, smart adults — and keeping it up can make us smarter at any age.

Playwork: An Introduction

“We don’t define play, but we have a phrase which we use to help us identify what it is. Play is that set of behaviors that is freely chosen, personally directed, and intrinsically motivated.”

Penny Wilson on play, playwork, and adventure playgrounds.

Prescription for Play

What is it that children use to navigate their world, to master their environment, to figure out problems? The answer is play.

The Role of Play ...

Play is being banished from kindergarten classrooms across the U.S. Learn how this is impacting the nation’s youth. The challenge is to balance between the desire to teach academics sooner rather than later and obsession with test scores with the need to foster play as the foundation for learning skills like collaboration, communication, content, creative innovation and confidence. Parents and educators, as the spokespeople for young children, need to hold our education system accountable for understanding that children learn from play and, in fact, learn through play the very skills that will make them successful in this changing 21st century global society.