Play is not just for children any more! We know that children learn best through play, one of the reasons is that our brain craves and seeks novelty, which play is made of…play never has to be the same two days in a row in the housekeeping or block centers, both featured areas of a preschool classroom.
Consider this. In an article on helpguide.org, The Benefits of Play For Adults: How Play Benefits Your Relationships, Job, Bonding and Mood,
“While play is crucial for a child’s development, it is also beneficial for people of all ages. Play can add joy to life, relieve stress, supercharge learning, and connect you to others and the world around you. Play can also make work more productive and pleasurable.
You can play on your own or with a pet, but for greater benefits, play should involve at least one other person, away from the sensory-overload of electronic gadgets.”
Play can foster:
Challenge and Stimulate the Brain
Stimulate Your Mind and Creative and Critical Thinking
Energy and Vitality Boosts Which Slow Aging
People of all ages learn and retain more when learning is fun, involves movement and connected social interaction!! Play can improve attachments and connections as well as increase resilience. The article states: “Through regular play, we learn to trust one another and feel safe. Trust enables us to work together, open ourselves to intimacy, and try new things.” Play can increase the connectiveness you experience with family members and those you love, as well as co-workers and friends!
As Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor states. “We are feeling creatures who think.” What I think she means by this is that as human beings we are wired to connect and attach to others in order to exist and meet our very needs for survival. In simple terms, we are hard wired to survive before we do deep thinking. In fact, only the right hemisphere of the brain is “online” during the first two years of life. It is during the third year where the left-hemisphere comes online and and both sides of the brain begin to integrate with one another.
This is pretty powerful stuff when you think about it. As human beings, when we are born, our sole-egocentric purpose is to connect, be held, touched and talked to, eat, sleep and communicate we need our nappy changed!! That is it! Through playful interactions such as cooing and smiling and singing and reading or holding a rattle an infant becomes aware of his surroundings and place within his world, all in perfect developmental synchronicity.
As George Bernard Shaw succinctly said, “We don’t stop playing because we grow old, we grow old because we stop playing.”
Profound when you think about it. Who will you play with today?