Benefits of Play
•Helps sustain relationships
•Play requires balancing one’s own needs with those of others
•Renews and strengthens neural connections-calibrates sensorimotor nerve pathways.
•Improved creativity and problem solving
•Develops perseverance and mastery
•Improves mood, generates optimism
•Prompts laughter and physical movement.
•Allows for “absorbed involvement” a state of consciousness that triggers state of deep relaxation.
•Means of communication and stimulus for conversation.
•Means of adopting new meanings, contexts, perspectives.
Barriers to play
•Interpretations of Biblical references; eg., “put aside childish things..”
•Collective unwritten rules
•Difficulty letting go of responsibilities
links to free or inexpensive sources of fun
Ways to Add Play into Your Life
Find physical activities that are FUN for you. You achieve the mental state of "absorbed involvement" while getting exercise at the same time. If the physical activity is fun, you'll work harder and longer at it.
Throw a softball with a child. Or a dog. With cats it doesn't work so well.
Jump off the diving board. You get additional exercise in jumping and climbing.
Participate in park and recreation programs. Being out in Nature is proven to boost mood.
Take skating lessons. (If you rent skates, ask to have the blades sharpened so you can have a fair chance at it.)
Build a snowman.
Find hand-eye activities that are engaging. This helps regulate emotion and facilitate concentration.
Take an art class. Paint, throw clay, blow glass.
Check out sampler art classes at art and craft stores.
Learn to knit or crochet.
Put together a kit.
Do a jigsaw puzzle.
Play with your brain.
Learn to play cribbage, euchre or other strategy card games. Play chess.
Mental play helps increase cognitive flexibility and stimulates laughter. Read humorous stories, watch funny movies. Dress up for Halloween, play April Fool's jokes. Try to find a humorous aspect of a situation gone horribly wrong.