Why Play is Important for Children AND Adults

Why Play is Important for Children AND Adults

In her book, The Gifts of Imperfection, Brene Brown included Cultivating Rest and Play as one of her guideposts to wholehearted living. Play is incredibly important, and it’s not just for children. Adults need play too, and in this day and age, we are very deficient in this rejuvenating activity.

But what is play? Stuart Brown defines play as having 3 components:

1. Time spent without purpose
2. You lose your sense of inhibition and self-consciousness
3. You lose track of time

This definition reminds me of being in a state of flow. According to Wikipedia, flow is, “the mental state of operation in which a person performing an activity is fully immersed in a feeling of energized focus, full involvement, and enjoyment in the process of the activity.”

Kids achieve the criteria of play and a state of flow often. They aren't bogged down yet with to-do lists, multitasking, or career aspirations. Everything they do is “for fun”. Can you remember what that felt like? Days spent playing in the pool or absorbed in building a Lego creation or maybe giddy with joy during a game of hide-and-go-seek?

Think of activities you love to do. What activities allow you to forget all about your worries and allow you to be immersed in the pleasure of the moment? Do you enjoy hiking, mountain biking, painting, singing, making beautiful crafts, watching thrillers, or riding roller coasters? Remember that play doesn't have to cost mone, and it doesn't necessarily have to take up immense time. One of my favorite ways to play is to dance, and it’s as easy as putting on some music for 5 minutes and dancing around the kitchen. I also love taking breaks to play with my dog. Seeing how excited she gets to play tug-a-war or chase a ball always makes me laugh and brings me joy.

When we have children it may seem like there are competing interests in the household, and at times we feel “stuck” doing activities that may not seem as fun to us as it is to our kids. That is why I LOVE Brene Brown’s idea to make a Venn diagram of Fun for your family. Each person in the family lists activities they find pleasurable, and then you find those activities which overlap. This is a great way to determine how you can play together as a family.

Make time for play - it is essential for your physical and mental wellbeing.

What are some of your favorite ways to play? Comment below, leave me a like, and share this blog post. Thanks for reading and have a plantastic day!