Play is not just for children! It is for anyone who wants to keep their brain working. The National Institute for Play identified seven categories of play that help us understand our love of games and entertainment:
Attunement play: In infancy, mother and baby have a dance of eye contact, smiling, and baby talk. Watch someone meeting a baby or pet for the first time, and you will see this in action.
Movement play: Our first interaction with the world is through movement. The infant’s rapid brain growth is fed by physical stimulus. It is how we develop our sense of where we end and other people begin.
Object play: By manipulating objects with our hands, we understand scientific principles. As with movement play, this also enriches our brains.
Social play: We form bonds and learn the rules of friendship by making up games, participating in sports, and watching games together.
Imaginative, storytelling, and creative play: Alone or with others, we express our humanity at a high level when we engage our creative capacities. Cooking, jokes, and music are examples of these types of play.
Even forms of entertainment that we think are low-brow can serve a purpose in terms of enriching our spirits. I have been wondering lately why I am curious about the royal wedding: the crazy hats on the attendants’ heads, the dramatic details of the days right before the wedding. Of course! It’s a fairy tale. I’m happy that I can understand why I love LOLcats and why my friends play video games and World of Warcraft.
Do something fun, goofy or creative today. It is good for you!