Taking Time To Play

This morning as I walked along the beach I came across this carefully crafted circle of towers in the sand. Someone took the time to play here, I thought. Who, I wondered. It is something a child would do. But there had to be an adult, or a close to adult being, because it was so perfectly laid out. A child at play would not normally display such patient and exact placement of the towers in order to create a perfect circle.

Images entered my mind of a child filling a pail with wet sand, turning it upside down to see the form created, and then making another to place alongside. Delighted with the result, the child proudly shows it to an older companion who is enticed to join the playful construction.

How often do we take time to play? If we are in the company of small children we may be lucky enough to be drawn into play which can connect us to our original creativity. Having a playful puppy can also give us this opportunity. I suggest that artists, musicians, and writers never lose that connection to “play” even as they progress in their most serious work.

Why do we need to take time to play? Many studies have demonstrated the connection between play and well-being, and how it is a critical need for children. In this article, The Importance of Play  by Gabriella Gonzales, MD; and Alexander Rakowsky, MD, the authors make the case that “play (or some available free time in the case of older children and adolescents) is essential to the cognitive, physical, social, and emotional well-being of children and youth.” Read more at https://doi.org/10.1542/pir.2021-005148

Not just essential for kids however, play can be important for adults. I invite you to read The Benefits of Play for Adults, and discover how introducing play into your life as an adult can be beneficial.   From the reference below, I quote “In our hectic, modern lives, many of us focus so heavily on work and family that we never seem to have time for pure fun. Somewhere between childhood and adulthood, we stopped playing.”

This article identifies those benefits as stress relief, brain function improvement, stimulation of the mind and creativity, improving relationships and your connection to others, and keeping you feeling young and energetic.

Fun for me can be singing out loud, or even dancing from room to room as I take a break from the computer. A really generous dose of fun can be a day I devote to playing with my paints, oil pastels or coloured markers.

What do you do for fun?  Please share in a comment.