As an early childhood educator I understood the importance of play for little ones. Piaget, the leading child psychologist, said, “Play is the work of children.” It is a time for them to practice what they are learning. But what happens to play when we grow up and become adults? Is the need for play gone? At one point in my life when I was grappling with a lot someone asked me, “Eva, what do you do for play?” I was stunned – I actually couldn’t answer her at that moment. From that day forward I figured out ways to play every day!
Play adds joy to your life and helps you deal with stress, loss, and disappointments. It gives you the time and space to rise above all of these situations you might be presented with in this journey called Life. Paly can also help you rekindle relationships and explore other forms of intimacy with your partner. Play can help you maintain a sense of social well-being. Play can stimulate your creativity and help you problem solve. Dr. Stuart Brown who heads up The National Institute of Play researches the transforming power of play. They say,
” Play is the gateway to vitality!”
So, what are some ways you can add play into your life and increase your vitality? Here are a few suggestions to get you started.
Playing with Kids is a great place to start. They play so naturally and can reintroduce us to the magic inherent in play. So let yourself go and get on the floor with your grandkids or on a swing with your own children. Let them lead and laugh ALOT!
Games – When is the last time you played monopoly? How about introducing a family game night with out iPhones or iPads around! One game that I love is called Bananagrams!
Dancing – I love to dance. Anyone who has attended one of my workshops knows that I love to get them up and dance! Try it – turn on some music, close your eyes, and let the music move your. Some people love listening to Bach and letting the notes flow through them inspiring them. Find what speaks to you and get up and dance.
Activities – is there an activity or sport that you love to do and haven’t done for awhile? Did you use to play guitar, sing, do ballet, play tennis, swim, play basketball or soccer – something you gave up but might like to do again? Make a commitment to yourself that you will try it again or something new for a change.Find something that you enjoy doing just for the fun of it, not because you are doing it for your health or to lose weight, even though that might be a nice by product.
Puzzles are a great way to increase your memory and thinking skills. People swear by crossword puzzles, sudoko, and just doing a big puzzle for fun.
The Arts – do an art project just for fun not for the finished product. Paint, watercolor, clay, play dough, collages all are ways to get into the flow and relax. I recently did a collage with one of my workshop groups and they couldn’t believe how much fun they had just playing.
Have a play date with yourself. Make an appointment and keep it! Put it on your calendar! Everyday give yourself some time to play and laugh. Laughter is the best medicine in the world. Play and laughter help you keep an optimistic outlook on life, builds up your resilience and helps you deal with the life you are living. It’s the end of summer – Get out and Play!
Please write below any ways that you have found play in your adult life. I would love to hear how it has helped you.