For the Grown-Ups
"Can You Come Over to Play?" The Many Values of Playtime

"Can You Come Over to Play?" The Many Values of Playtime

I want to talk about play for play's sake — because golly! It's summertime in the Northern Hemisphere. And we all need a little extra play!

But first, let me add a little plug for the value of play:

“Scientists have recently determined that it takes approximately 400 repetitions to create a new synapse in the brain – unless it is done with play, in which case, it takes between 10 and 20 repetitions.”

—the late Dr. Karyn Purvis, Director of Texas Christian University’s Child Development Center

Kids can learn not only history, math concepts, or new vocabulary — they can also learn compassion, caring, confidence, collaboration, and so many, many more wonderful human characteristics ... all through the act of play.

In fact, I know you've seen it. You've watched children play "house" or "firemen" or "pirates," haven't you? Have you seen how they've had to work out dynamics, distribute roles, and collaborate in the creation of the play? How they often take on characters that are different from themselves? All of this gives them a chance to grow and expand their abilities as people.

It's true, too, that play is a brilliant mechanism for teaching the typical school topics. In fact, my younger son can tell me all about the Civil War — as well as Native American history — simply because his school approached it through a play-based model.

And more than anything, play brings joy. It taps right into our immediate creativity, which naturally creates presence, delight, and flow. This is true for all of us, no matter what age!

Let's put play at the top of the list of summertime priorities — want to? You too, parents! Put it on the schedule!

Need inspiration? Play is a central value here at Sparkle — when you search "play" you'll come up with 415 stories. Start with our (Most Play-filled Stories Playlist)[] and then move to our (PLAY topic)[]! Plus we've made a list of (Sparkly Ideas for Playtime)[].

If you're thinking, "I'm not sure I remember how to play..." — you do. You've just layered over it with too much thinking, seriousness, and adult expectation. Your style of play is unique to you — so block some time and do one thing that you know you love: put on music, get outside, lie on the floor with littles, pull out the art supplies, or just wiggle or shake or jump up and down. Try it out and see what opens up.

May this be the start to a play-filled summer!

About the Author

Lisabeth Sewell

Doer of Many Wonderful and Odd Things (including CEO)

Lisabeth Sewell has worn many hats at Sparkle over the years, from Sparkle Kitchen Blogger to Editorial Director to Doer of All Odd Jobs. Her primary role is as CEO.

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