Play = productivity
Ever heard of over-thinking? Or experienced “writer’s block,” when trying to complete a paper? Ever not taken a break because “you had to get something done,” only to find it takes you twice as long to finish than if you’d just taken that break? Welcome to the traditional adult world…where production rules and play exists only if there is time on the side.
This is the world that Josh entered, in the movie “Big,” when he was magically transformed from a 13 year old boy to an adult man, and started working for a toy company. The toy sits in the middle of the table while people in suits talk about reports, numbers, and marketing strategies – not even realizing that kids don’t even think their toy is fun. (Wow…that sentence even sucked the fun out of writing this post). The entire company tries to develop “fun toys,” while forgetting what fun even means. Just think harder though…that’ll solve the problem!
Or just give you a giant headache and more frustration. How did we learn to problem solve, generate new ideas, and think logically in the first place? Play. We played. We created magical lands and helped our heroes save the world. We built towers, houses, cities, and helped them overcome challenges again and again. When we started to play with others we learned new ideas, navigated negotiation, and problem solved together. We might have acted out things we’d seen at home in play… and tried out different endings to see what happened. We pretended we were teachers, police officers, and doctors. We experienced happiness, anxiety, anger, and pride. We explored. We learned. We practiced. We tried.
And then we grew up…and were told we are too old to play – it’s time to concentrate, it’s time to get our work done, it’s time to be productive. Sometimes it went so far, that we forgot how to play. We might have been told we were wasting our time, acting immature, or that we needed to “grow up!” But what if we choose a different message. What if we choose to keep play? Play doesn’t stop doing its job just because we grow older. Even in adults, play stimulates creativity, releases endorphins, relieves stress, improves brain function, encourages cooperation, improves relationships and empathy, and in general…it can help you feel your best.
So get out there. Play with your kids. Plan a game night. Drag out some of your old toys. Squish your hands in play dough and create a masterpiece. Do a science experiment. Fly a kite. Put on rain boots and splash in the puddles. Play.