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  • Writer's pictureFiona Holiday

Why I am serious about play

When we talk about child's play, we mean that something is easy and that is requires little effort. Making time for play is far from easy, though. As adults, we are judgmental about play. We set it against seriousness and work. Playing around is the same as messing around. We don't have time to mess or play around.

In our busy lives, it can feel wrong to put time aside for play. But here's the thing:

it is play that feeds our soul and fuels our creativity. Play helps us think flexibly and to imagine how it feels to be in different situations and feel different emotions. Play is where we can connect with others, feel vulnerable, risk mistakes and try new ideas. There is a reason we are designed to learn through play - it is the best way for us to develop.

When we truly play, we are in flow. We are operating in that sweet spot where difficulty meets challenge; where our capabilities are stretched just enough to allow us to feel a sense of achievement but not too much so that we are discouraged. Play is essential for us to connect with ourselves and with others. It enriches our experiences and restores us.

2020 is all about play for me. Play which heals, brings joy, transforms, allows flexibility, courage, creativity and empathy. There is much work to be done in healing our society and as well as allowing our children to play, we need to find time for the adults to play too.

Whatever you call your play - whether it is sport or craft, socialising or travelling, gardening or walking - it matters. Don't let it be the first thing to be crossed out when your diary looks busy! Without the play, we risk the work becoming all-consuming. As Fred Rogers said, the opposite of play isn't work, it's depression.

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