A few weeks ago, my cousin’s 4-year-old was in the hospital with pneumonia. He recovered after several requests leave the hospital, looking over at his mom one night and saying, “Mommy, let’s get out of here”! The first thing he wanted to do when he got home was go outside and play. He missed his dog. He missed the sunshine. He missed rolling around in grass. Every now and then I like to be reminded about the importance of play in our lives. So often when we think of play, we categorize it as “childish”, but play is not at all childish. Play can involve interaction, laughter, concentration, movement, and emotions that deepen our connection with creation and others. Children learn through play.
Stuart Brown, a physician and director of the National Institute for Play, says that pleasurable, purposeless activity prevents violence and promotes trust, empathy, and adaptability to life’s complication. He promotes cutting-edge science on human play, and draws on a rich universe of study of intelligent social animals.
Listen to his interview on Play, Spirit, and Character, for a renewed view of the positives of play!