If you’re like many parents I know, these words bring up feelings of both dread and, shortly after, guilt. Dread because you don’t really want to “play” with your child and guilt because you feel like you should want to.

This great article by Peter Gray, one of the world’s leading experts on the importance of play for children (and adults), can go a long way towards both explaining the dread and relieving the guilt.

He makes really great points about the ways in which child-adult play is very different than peer play and explains that “playing” when you don’t want to isn’t really play at all.

I also really like his example of board or card games, or sports, as being some of the best ways for different generations to play together; this certainly resonates with my experience.

I also appreciate his insistence on finding ways for children to play together, for hours, daily. The importance of deep, uninterrupted play cannot be overstated and I appreciate Peter Gray for continuing to be a smart, clear, strong advocate for it.