Find What Works For You
Fortunately we can easily create play in our lives as there are many different ways to play and many different types of play.
Studying the importance of play for decades, Stuart Brown MD (founder and president of The National Institute for Play) outlines 5 main archetypes of play:
Rough-and-tumble play is a great learning medium for all of us. Diving, batting, tug-of-war, capture the flag, treasure hunts, dodge ball, racing and chasing are all ways to play actively. According to Dr. Brown, through this form of play we develop emotional regulation as well as cognitive, emotional, and physical mastery.
Chess, board games, and activities or sports with set rules and structures all fall into the world of ritual play. It is in ritual play that we can create, strategize, design, and engage in activities that bring people together for a common purpose or goal.
Remember when you were a child and had so much fun living out your fantasies and letting your imagination run wild? This is what imaginative play is all about! Colouring, storytelling, painting, drawing, crafting, and acting, as well as comedy and improv classes all foster our imaginations through play.
Brown defines body play as a spontaneous desire to get ourselves out of gravity. Yoga, Pilates, hiking, whitewater rafting, riding roller coasters, mountain climbing, surfing, and snorkelling all fit the mould of body play… and space travel of course!
This form of play will really bring us back to our childhoods as object play can encompass building with Legos, playing with Jenga blocks, building fortresses, and even having snowball fights. Manipulation of objects, building, and designing all fall into the object play category.
The Side Effects
These include (but are not limited to): improved cognitive functioning, being able to deal with stress with greater ease and fluidity, creative thinking, childlike exuberance, and laughing more often.
Experiment a bit to find what works for you, as we all could use a bit more play in our responsible, adult lives.