One of my favorite things to do is watch my kids play. I enjoy watching them use their imaginations it’s so refreshing to see. They don’t hold back, they dream big. Imagining other worlds, creating new characters letting the creativity flow. Children’s minds are not bound by rules. It’s interesting how as we begin to age our imaginations begin to get smaller and smaller. Like we’re no longer capable of imagining new worlds and the characters in those worlds that have no rules, or limitations. Not bound by the reality and systems of our world. Adults imaginations shift from creating fun worlds to creating worlds filled with worry and doubts causing us to be anxious and fearful of imaginary things (but that’s a topic for another day). But kids have the ability to dream big and freely as they play.
It is interesting that games with rules are typically introduced to children around the age of 6 when children also transition into the structured environment of school. My oldest is 5 in kindergarten, he often complains how school isn’t fun. However, he comes home and still fully flexes in his imagination while he plays with his brother. But I’m slowly seeing the rules creep in. The three-year-old still has no limits on his play, where my five years has tried to set rules in their play. It often causes conflict, because the five-year complains his brother doesn’t listen. While rules are great to establish order, it stifles creativity. We allow other people to dictate our creativity and creative spaces. Reading books, watching TV, visiting an art museum, but rarely us sitting down in our private spaces playing. Just letting our imagination run wild. Conscious dreaming of something new just because. Honestly when was the last time you sat down and really let your imagination run wild without any limitations without any doubts telling you that this is not possible and can never happen.
I think it’s important to engage this idea play and our adult lives. I’m not talking about leisure, adult play like going out to drinks with friends, or listening to music. I’m talking about play. Manipulation of an object like a doll, reimagining he in a new world, imagining who is this doll, where is the doll from, where is she going, what is she doing, who are the dolls friends. Puzzles, games, having a dance party, coloring, drawing a picture, the tickle game with a partner, tag with a group of friends. There are multiple types of play. The important part is engaging in meaningless play. There is no end goal in play but fun. Infusing play throughout your day will inspire creativity and increase productivity.
Benefits of Play
1) Relaxation and Decreased stress
Play is fun it triggers the release of endorphins that causes the body to relax and experience feelings of euphoria. When a person is relaxed and less stressed they are better able to cope with life, and challenges that may arise. Being able to cope effectively, allow a person to have improved outcome and life satisfaction.
2) Inspiration and creativity
Play increases learning when you are relaxed it is easier to learn new information or develop new skills. You are able to process information more effectively. You are more likely to take risks and try new things. Trying new things may spark new ideas, thought, and concepts. Incorporating play throughout your workday will help inspire your work. Play will improve your ability to problem solve. It will give you the opportunity to abandon rules and consider problems from multiple perspectives.
3) Improved Brain Function
Play keeps you brain sharp. Engaging different aspects of the brain depending on the types of play. You have imagination, social, cognitive and strategy games. Play helps your mental health by decreasing stress, it expands brain function as you use strategy in cognitive games, or social intelligence when you play games with other. Play helps to creatively rewire and strengthen your brain.
4) Improved Social Relationships
Play is fun and causes laughter. Laughter increases social bonds and can lead to greater empathy, trust, and intimacy with others. Laughter lightens up the mood. Play allows you to engage others imaginations as well. Play is the sharing of ideas, that allow people to connect.
5) Feelings of Youthfulness and Energy
Playing can remind you of your childhood or younger years when you were energetic, it can improve confidence and vitality when you realize you can still play and have fun. Play teaches you to not take yourself so seriously. Playing can also be an excellent source of excise if you are engaging in physical play.
Ultimately playing has tremendous benefits. Don’t get caught up and adulting too much. Let your inner kid out and go play. You will be better for it. Go have some fun!
Inspiration in your inbox!
Need a little pick me up from time to time. Sign up for the newsletter designed to provide words of encouragement to boost self-esteem.