March 2014 Archives

The Importance of Play

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         Can you remember a day when you played so intently with a friend that you forgot about the time? A game or a fantasy re-enactment without electronics or fancy toys, perhaps just a few sticks or some chalk or a beach full of shells and storm-tossed treasures?

         Losing track of time while engrossed in an activity - a phenomenon called "flow" by psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi - is a treasured happening in my life. For me it usually happens when playing music with friends or playing outside with my grandchildren. For some it happens when meditating, or building a model, or working on an art project.

         The art of playing may be endangered in our culture. The rise of electronic games, social media, and pre-packaged "play events" has left little time for just "going outside to play." Maria Montessori said play was "the work of childhood." For all of us it is the activity we do with our friends, the laboratory for social learning that is lifelong and ever evolving.

         Do you play with your children? Do you play with your friends? Do you miss that opportunity for sharing and laughing and joyful banter?

         Spring is upon us - finally! Take some time to just "play" - with a child, with a friend, with a group of friends. You do not need many props - perhaps a kite to fly, or a bag for treasures, or a guitar to accompany your singing. The medical research is clear: losing oneself in playful/artistic/social activities leads to longer lives and healthier lifestyles. What are you waiting for?

 

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This page is an archive of entries from March 2014 listed from newest to oldest.

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