Why subscribe?

OUR PLAYFULNESS is a most valuable aspect of our human nature (second, perhaps, only to our capacity for love and kindness). It is what makes life worthwhile. In children, it promotes the learning of essential human skills, and in all of us it promotes happiness, peacefulness, and cooperation. It is the engine of creativity and invention, and thus of cultural evolution.

This series of Substack letters is about the many ways that play makes us fully human, and it is often also about ways that we might bring more play and playfulness into our own lives and those of others.

Subscribe to receive each new letter in your email inbox, to comment on letters as they arrive, and to have full access to all previous letters through the website. Feel free to choose the free subscription option. If you choose a paid subscription, as a mark of your enjoyment of the letters and as encouragement for me to continue, please note that I will contribute my earnings to nonprofit organizations aimed at bringing more play and freedom into children’s lives.

About me (Peter Gray)

I am a research professor of psychology and neuroscience who for many years has been studying play. Among other things, I am author of an introductory psychology textbook, now in its 8th edition (with David Bjorklund as co-author of editions 7 & 8), which views all of psychology from an evolutionary perspective. I am also author of Free to learn: Why Unleashing the Instinct to Play Will Make Our Children Happier, More Self-Reliant, and Better Students for Life, which has been published in 18 languages. You can learn more about my work, download pdf’s of some of my research-based articles, and view some of my public presentations, at my personal website.

Subscribe to Play Makes Us Human

Letters about the roles of play in human evolution, child development, culture, and daily living


Boston College research professor Peter Gray specializes in the nature and value of play. You can learn about his work and find some of his talks, books, and academic articles at petergray.org.