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  • Writer's pictureMichelle

The value of play

When was the last time you played for the simple and pure pleasure of it? Playing is good for us on so many levels. This is the case for children and for adults.

Play helps adults to:

  • develop our creative and critical thinking

  • relieve stress

  • solve problems

  • relax

  • feel more energetic

  • boost productivity

  • build emotional wellbeing

  • improve our memory

  • support the growth of brain cells

  • feel more joyful

  • improve relationships

  • improve social skills

  • improves lung function

  • release feel-good hormones

  • reduce depression

In children, play helps to:

  • Develop social skills

  • Develop cognition

  • Develop gross and fine motor skills and build physical capacity

  • Stimulate imagination

  • Learn to collaborate with others

  • Relieve stress

  • Develop language and vocabulary skills

  • Develop emotional intelligence

  • Develop empathy

One person’s trash is another’s treasure. The same could be said of play. What feels playful to one person could feel tortuous to another. It is important to try new things and keep an open mind in order to find the things that are fun for you and your child(ren).

How can we play more?

  • Play with your children

  • Have games nights out (e.g.: bowling) or in (e.g.: board games)

  • Park based activities: kick a ball, fly a kite, throw a frisbee

  • Join a team: tennis, baseball, etc.

  • Keep Jenga on the coffee table

  • Try something new: stand up comedy, drama group, open mic nights

  • Get a joke book

  • Take 5 minutes to simply daydream

  • Keep a spinning top beside your computer

  • Learn some magic tricks

  • Play with your dog

  • Take up a new hobby, sport or craft

  • Try reengaging with the things that brought you joy as a child

  • Put on music and sing and dance

  • Complete puzzles

  • Have a doodle pad and pencils to hand

How to play with your children:

  • Set a time frame

  • Follow your child’s lead

  • Give your undivided attention

  • Get onto your child’s level

  • Make space for repetition

  • Allow them space to try things in their own way

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