Play is important

You may have heard me mention that play is important.  It’s important for child development, but it has many benefits for adults too.

Despite knowing the benefits, statistics show that the amount of time set aside for play has been declining for decades.  All adults out at work mean family time is tighter and more scheduled and structured.  Parents are more fearful about allowing their children to play outside or unsupervised and the power of the screen is pulling children and adults away from creative, imaginative or physical play.

Improve brain function

The mental activity involved in playing games such as chess, bridge or cards, doing puzzles and jigsaws keep the brain active and help to ward off memory problems.

Learn more

We learn best when we are having fun.  If you are in a relaxed and playful mood your brain is more receptive to new ideas and building connections.

Relieve stress

Play can trigger the release of natural body chemicals called endorphins.  These make you feel good.  Playing with family and friends provides a social network that can ward off stress and depression.

Boost creativity

Play relies on imagination.  Imagination is what helps us to “think outside the box” to be creative and to solve problems.

Improve relationships

Having fun together develops empathy, compassion and trust.  Being playful can help you as you approach new situations, meet strangers and foster new business relationships.

Develop Social Skills

Children learn social skills as part of the give and take of play.  From learning that snatching a toy from another child makes them sad to feeling how cooperative play is more fun than solo.  They learn verbal and non-verbal communication, boundaries, cooperation and teamwork.  

Decision making

When we choose how to play we practice decision making skills and discover our own areas of interest.

Active and healthy

While there are many benefits to playing computer games, they are highly addictive.  Active play, on the other hand, helps to build healthy bodies, increasing physical activity.

I really like the infographic on thegeniusofplay.org, which shows some of the facts and stats about why play is important, and tells you the study or work that provided the information.

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