“Once people understand what play does for them, they can learn to bring a sense of excitement and adventure back into their lives, make work an extension of their play lives, and engage fully with the world. Play is what makes life lively.”
I have been enjoying the book “Play: How it Shapes the Brain, Opens the Imagination, and Invigorates the Soul” by Stuart Brown. I can in no way convince you of the value of play like this book can. I want to make a comment on every page I read actually. I love to learn how play has changed lives and how it is always improving our lives.
While play is something that is totally unique and different to everyone, I like this outline of the properties of play.
Properties of Play:
- Apparently purposeless – it is not done for survival and is not done for practical value
- Voluntary – it is not required, you are never obligated to play
- Inherent attraction – it is fun, it makes you feel good
- Freedom from time – when we are fully engaged, we lose our sense of time, “time flies when you are having fun”
- Diminished consciousness of self – stop worrying about how we look or how smart we are
- Improvisational potential – there is no set way to play, it allows chance and new insights
- Continuation desire – we want to keep doing it and find ways to make it possible
Play A Work Shop For Experimenting
It is easy to see how play facilitates learning in children. They learn all about emotions, relationships, boundaries, objects and life through play. But I think we forget that adults receive the same benefits. We can learn about ourselves differently in play than we do at work or at home. We can enter that “safe zone” and try things out that we would not brave otherwise.
In play, most of the time we are able to try out things without threatening our physical or emotional well-being. We are safe precisely because we are just playing. In play we can imagine and experience situations we have never encountered before and learn from them. We can create possibilities that have never existed but may in the future. We make new cognitive connections that find their way into our everyday lives. We can learn lessons and skills without being directly at risk.
There is so much to be learned in play, I could go on and on. The main point is, with balance, it should be a priority. There are huge benefits in play.