Quick! Name three things you associate with “Play.” If you named “fun” “games” “friends” or “laughter” you win! But you have only begun to tap in the richness and necessity of play. You must include “community” “connecting” “brain health” and “exercise” also.
One of life’s most delightful experiences is watching children on the playground chasing, tagging, running, swinging, smiling and laughing. Their delight in play is contagious and it is nearly impossible not to smile and want to join them. Sometime I can’t resist and I will join in the chase which only makes them squeal in delight all the more.
And as they get older and the play becomes more competitive I watch from the sidelines during the soccer, volleyball, football, baseball, basketball, wrestling match, robotic competition, theater productions and adrenaline surges through my veins as I join vicariously in every skillful movement, point scored, song sung. It is thrilling.
And then we sit at the table and play cards and board games or in front of the monitor, joystick in hand. Now I have to think, plan, strategize and compete sometimes with a ten year old and other times with my contemporary and the nature of play grows and morphs. It is challenging, competitive, and even risky as I put more of myself out there playing against the other.
And it is always fun filled with laughter, as we join together building our play community, enjoying our connection and exercising our body and brain.
There must be a million ways to play. As I reflect upon my own childhood my mind is flooded with pleasurable memories of bike rides, orange fights, kick the can and so much more. Play is such a significant part of life and not just limited to children playing. Families play, adults play, co-worker and colleagues play, even old people play. Play adds richness and fullness to life and it is inherently loving.
That is why my ideal day of love includes play.