Segments in this Video

Importance of Play (07:01)


Technology is replacing outdoor activities for European and North American children. Stuart Brown discusses studies that indicate play is innate, and part of evolutionary processes. Gordon Burghardt defines play behaviors.

Instinctual Play (03:38)

Kathryn Kegel cares for the giant Pacific octopus at the Seattle Aquarium. During window cleanings, the animal creates a game with the keeper. Behavioral impulses sometimes forge unusual interspecies friendships.

Emotional Contagion (03:46)

Primatologist Elisabetta Palagi believes Bonobo behavioral research is important to understanding human evolution. Play is a pervasive activity and connected to empathy and compassion. When meeting different troops, they do not become violent.

Encouraging Evolution (03:54)

Experts once believed play was solely for practicing adult activities. Johnathan Pruitt observes social spiders, finding that mature males court immature females seemingly for fun. Research shows those experiencing play sex produce larger egg sacs and are less likely to kill mates.

Increases in Psychopathology (06:24)

Sergio Pellis' research on rats shows that play transforms the prefrontal cortex and organizes nerve cells; play-deprived individuals experience underdeveloped decision making skills and impulse control. Dr. Matthew Cooper's studies of Syrian hamsters confirms the findings.

Deprivation Consequences (03:55)

Brown recalls early studies of homicidal individuals, finding that play behaviors were suppressed and abnormal; he worries about excessive screen time. Fun is necessary for developing competence, optimism, and authenticity. The World Health Organization reports a decline of mental health among children.

Encouraging Development (06:57)

Mariana Brussoni finds that risky play advantages outweigh the dangers. Research shows that unrestricted children use their imaginations and bodies more. Perceptions on outdoor activities change in the 1980s with video games and notions of increased violence.

Changing Neighborhood Environments (02:54)

Kathy Hirsh-Pasek hopes to teach cooperation and empathy while building civil, democratic societies; she equates play to studies in sociology. She transforms public areas into game spaces, encouraging the incorporation of fun in urban designs.

Habituating Fears (07:43)

In Norway, Ellen Sandseter redesigns childcare centers to include risky play. She asserts that children learn more during outdoor activities and dealing with potentially hazardous scenarios helps them regulate phobias.

Allowing Independence (03:13)

Brown discusses freedoms children had in the past. He recommends outdoor play to reconnect with nature and restore emotional and physical benefits. Fun should be a part of human culture; it encourages critical thinking, innovation, and confidence.

Credits: Power of Play (01:15)

Credits: Power of Play

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Power of Play

DVD (Chaptered) Price: $169.95
DVD + 3-Year Streaming Price: $254.93
3-Year Streaming Price: $169.95



Scientists from Europe, the United States and Canada, many of them pioneers in the field, offer convincing evidence that play is not to be taken lightly. In fact, it has the power to make animals and humans smarter, healthier and more likely to survive.

Length: 53 minutes

Item#: FMK190219

ISBN: 978-1-64867-510-2

Copyright date: ©2018

Closed Captioned

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