The Importance of Play
A few years ago I attended a workshop called, “Remembering to Play”. It was lively and energetic presentation and the presenter’s message was to not forget to add some “play” into our daily lives. It is easy to forget the importance of being playful. It seems as soon as we become young adults, we stop being goofy and playful. All of a sudden, everything is serious. Shortly after graduating from high school, the message is, “get serious about your career and life track”.
Once you step on the treadmill of being an adult, you quickly find yourself with monthly bills, jobs or careers, college or university, then you have rent or a mortgage and soon the thought of being playful or silly not only a waste of time but potentially detrimental! I mean, what if somebody from work sees you behaving in a silly manner and captures it on video and posts it to social media! Oh my stars – then what? It really wasn’t until attending the workshop that I thought about how little I played anymore. Sure, I played sports or played the stocks but really all that is just the same as the rest of your programmed life with rules and consequences – where’s the fun in that!
This weekend I went camping with my wife and the three kids. The kids are 6, 8, and 12 so they really totally know how to play. As we watched them play in the lake and chase each other around with boogers and wrestle on the grass, I remembered that workshop. I decided I wanted some of that fun too! There was a tree swing that went into the lake so we all took turns swinging into the lake. After an hour or so of that, we played badminton with no net and no rules. Then we played tag and hide and go seek. It was tremendously fun! I can’t remember spending so much time being so silly since I was a kid.
When was the last time you took a ball to a field and just kicked it around and ran around after it? I am not talking about soccer or something with rules but just goofing around with a ball. One of the other things the kids did lots of this weekend was colouring. There were hours of mindless colouring outside the lines. Making kids colour inside the lines is one of my pet peeves. It starts as soon as a kid is in pre-school – they are scolded for being messy if they can’t conform and stay in the lines. At a very young age we praise conformity and rule following and try to kill fun. Even recess or lunch doesn’t seem like much fun anymore. Kids are taught “fun” by adults – where is the fun in that! When I was a kid, I learned games from other kids. We learned marbles, jacks, tetherball, kick-the-can, nicky-nicky-nine doors, from other kids – not from boring adults!
If you are reading this and haven’t done something fun in a while, what are you waiting for? Grab a big fat crayon and some scrap paper and just go crazy on the paper – no rules! Do you remember your favourite Crayola crayon colour? Mine were (I mean “are”) cerulean and electric lime.
Have fun, life is short.