Why We Play

Listen 48:42

You know what they say — all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. And science seems to confirm that statement, with findings that play is as important for adults’ emotional health as it is for children’s development.
But what exactly counts as play? Who engages in it — and why is it so important? On this episode, we explore some of those questions. We’ll hear stories about rediscovering play as an adult, which animals play and why, and meet a reverend in her 70s who still jumps double dutch.

Also heard on this week’s episode:

  • Psychologist Kathy Hirsh Pasek explains why play is so important for children’s social and neurological development.
  • Harvard Kennedy School lecturer David Eaves on why he uses the game Werewolf — also known as Mafia — in the classroom, and what it has to teach us.
  • Reporter Nina Feldman investigates the lack of playgrounds in different neighborhoods, and what that means for the kids who live in them.
  • Reverend Malika Lee Whitney discusses her love for double dutch, and her program Double Dutch Dreamz, and how it’s improved both physical health and community bonds in Harlem.

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