Play isn’t just for little children – there are benefits for all ages. It is vital to your wellbeing, particularly in such uncertain times. In this article, Emily talks about the benefits of play – be sure to let us know your thoughts in the comments!
Play is for little children, right?
It’s why schools have playgrounds and playtime. Our childhood ends when work erases play from our day to day lives – we walk past that park without a longing gaze at the swingset, we discard the cardboard boxes of deliveries, rather than transforming them in our minds into an extra-terrestrial spacecraft. As we grow up, we seem to lose our sense of play.
This is partly due to our education: in the UK, at least, academic testing is introduced from the youngest age and, as we climb the year groups, the time spent on play diminishes into time spent on learning from the books. That isn’t to say that academia isn’t valuable – far from it! But I remember, aged 10, the pressures put upon us to remain seated and pay undisputed attention to the whiteboard, when it was snowing outside and we were desperate to explore that wintry goodness…
What’s this got to do with us?
Well, good question. Now more than ever, the world is in a state of short-temper! It’s like a big green and blue ball of frustration. That’s understandable! 2020 has demanded the world to take it seriously: several states of emergency (the Australian bushfires happened this year?!), a global pandemic, and political uproars for revolution, it’s incredible to believe this tidal wave of unprecedented anxiety has taken us 7 months into the year.
I’m here to remind you that to play – yes, even as a 16 year old – is vital to your wellbeing. Playwork is a vast area of study, and play for teens has been proven to have tremendous cognitive benefits. There’s many strands of play, so I’m not saying run for the Barbie dolls. But free choice in play is one of the most important parts! You want to run? Go ahead! Grab a ball and practice those goals? Sure! Write a story and decorate it too? That’s amazing! It’s about you. Just make it fun!
Apart from the direct benefits, like physical health improvements whilst splashing in the pool, or handwriting technique in those arts and crafts, playing both independently, and with others, can help you in so many social ways, too. We haven’t had much time to develop those communication skills with others, recently, and play can make it so much easier to start a fun conversation! (It’s more interesting than the weather, adults!)
So, grab a therapy colouring book! Dust those roller skates off! Cardboard castle for the dog? Get on with it! Whatever you do, make sure you have fun. At this time, more than ever, that’s what really matters.
Keep safe and enjoy now – I’d love to know what you get up to!
Let us know in the comments below what you do for fun! We’d love to hear.
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