Do you remember the last time you played? Maybe you tossed a frisbee in a field or raced the thimble around the Monopoly board. Or you cranked up the 80's mix and kicked off a kitchen dance party. After play, we feel rejuvenated. At times physically tired, but emotionally lifted. It’s not our imaginations, play is good for us. No wonder children are drawn to it— they naturally know what their minds and bodies need. And guess what? Play nourishes adults too.
During our last retreat, a lively game of sardines ended with a dozen of us crammed into a closet “belly laughing”, trying not to reveal our stellar hiding place as the last seeker searched. While we often feel inspired to play on retreat, we got to wondering why we save play for these weekends.
Stuart Brown MD, a pioneer in the research of play and founder of the National Institute for Play, highlights the benefits of adult play in his Ted Talk, Play is More Than Just Fun. Play invites people to be curious and explore, which boosts our creativity and intelligence. We are designed to play through our entire lifetime, which makes sense as it feeds us not only in the moment, but also well after. In his book Play, Brown, compares play to oxygen. He explains that play, “. . . is all around us, yet goes mostly unnoticed or unappreciated until it is missing.” What a great invitation to breathe in a big dose of play—regularly.
As summer days become longer and temperatures rise, we wonder if you’re ready to get out and play. Whether you go bowling, jump on the trampoline, or rally the troops for hide and seek, goodness awaits. Ready or not, here you come!