The forgotten value of play

 Recommended soundtrack to the text.

When we are children, we play intuitively. You don’t have to tell a child to play – whatever they see or take, they’ll instantly start playing with it. Whether it’s a game with fixed rules or simply having a toy in the hand and imagining worlds around it, playing is necessary for our early development and well-being.

When we play doctor, we explore what it is like to be a doctor. A girl playing with Barbie dolls and imagining that the doll is a mother explores the other side of her relationship with her own mother. When we play with Legos, we constantly overcome challenges – what do you do if you don’t have the piece that you need? It is through play that we learn how to live.

As we grow up, we gradually stop using toys. And that is okay, because otherwise we wouldn’t keep developing. Our toys get replaced by phones, laptops, cameras, sports equipment, clothes – and all of these tools enable us to realize our potential in different ways. However that doesn’t mean we should stop playing. That instinct was once such a big part of who we were and it is still somewhere deep inside each one of us. That’s why we like movies, virtual reality, escape rooms, amusement parks, interactive content and such. We still want to explore and learn about the world through play.

Now, I don’t say everyone should go ahead and get themselves a collection of Pokemon (although I will support you if you do), but I believe we should find ways to play in our everyday life. Race on the street with your friend for no reason, pull a prank on someone, draw a birthday card with your own hand, jump from a swing, make sure to avoid the lava floor or simply dance alone in your apartment.  

It’s not about being a child or being an adult. It’s about enjoying your life.

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