Design Yourself 15: Play Isn’t Just For Kids

When we think of play, what usually emerges are signs of childhood: playgrounds, kids running around, perhaps a cape, lego or magic wand thrown in for good measure. But here’s the thing, adults can – and need! – play, too. In this episode Sharon explores some of the research behind why play is important, leveraging the lessons of the great scientist and play advocate Stuart Brown. You will learn three simple insights that will challenge you and spur you on to play. Sharon also shares a few questions you might consider to evaluate what play currently looks like for you – and what might be possible if you brought more of it into your life. Let the fun commence!

During our adventures in Frederick we discovered a lovely independent toy shop, the Dancing Bear. I was delighted by this quote on the wall.

Ideas Shared:

It’s important to build distinctions around play. Here are a few of the different types of play that are out there:

  • Curiosity, safe exploration
  • Social play – creates belonging
  • Rough and tumble play
  • Spectator play
  • Ritual play
  • Imaginitative (solo) play
  • Body
  • Object
  • Transformational

Questions for you to consider:

  • What do you look like when you are at play? At home? With friends? At work?
  • What kinds of play lights you up?
  • What kinds of play are you engaging in on a regular basis?
  • What would it look like if you played more? What might the consequences of more play be in your life?

Here are 3 key insights to remember as you consider the role of play in your life:

  • Play is not just for kids, it’s a mandate
  • Play is not just something we do, it’s a unique biological process that stewards our growth
  • We all know how to play

Resources and Links:

  • “The opposite of play is not work; it is depression.” Brian Sutton-Smith
  • If this quote piques your interest, you might want to check out Sutton-Smith’s book The Ambiguity of Play.
  • Here are the two independent bookstores we checked out (among many other adventures) in Frederick and Baltimore, MD:

            The Ivy Bookshop (Baltimore, MD)

            Curious Iguana (Frederick, MD)