Let’s talk about play and the importance of the word. Play is essential in all learning. When we are very young we play with our toys or our friends. Play allows children to use their creativity while developing their imagination, dexterity, and physical, cognitive, and emotional strength. Play is important to healthy brain development.
It is through play that children at a very early age engage and interact in the world around them. Allowing children to play means that we respect their learning process. If a child comes home from school and you ask, “What did you today? And they say, “I played.” What they really mean and cannot articulate yet, is that they are close to the ground and learning about life.
As we get older, play is still very much needed. As an artist myself, I learn how to use a new medium when I play. My artwork comes to life when I allow myself to ‘not-know,’ to experiment, and to discover something new. When in play, we release ourselves of not-knowing. This not-knowing frees up the mind to bring new ideas to life from the subconscious. All artist (visual, culinary, theater, crafts, etc…) understand that play is essential in our making as creating. When we get in a rut from doing the same thing over and over, it is with play that we can find our groove again. Play allows freedom and imagination. Alan Watts once said, “This is the real secret of life — to be completely engaged with what you are doing in the here and now. And instead of calling it work, realize it is play.”