MADISON (WKOW) — A generation ago, parents would let their kids out into the neighborhood and tell them to be back for dinner, but that’s rare these days.
Chances are, geography played a big part in who you hung out with growing up, mostly kids in your neighborhood of various ages.
But playtime that once happened organically is now often planned, like play dates and almost always supervised.
Peter Gray is a developmental evolutionary psychologist studying children and play.
When kids different ages play together, Gray says there are benefits for all.
“Young children are naturally drawn to older children. They want to be able to do what older children do. And interestingly, older children are drawn to younger ones.”
Gray says parents and educators should encourage kids of all ages to play together.
Gray’s research also suggests letting kids hash out their differences on their own by not always being so quick to intervene.