With the school holidays approaching it is a time to remember how important play is not only for children, but also for adults as well. During busy times when weeks go by full of school and work commitments it can be easy to forget to include play into day to day life.
When watching children play it easy to see how alive and joyous they are. They are connected to living in the moment; without distracting thoughts of what needs to be done later, what they could have done differently earlier, or what they 'should' be doing instead.
Research has shown that play is fundamentally important to physical and mental health; just as important as sleep, healthy eating and exercise. The United Nations has deemed it so important that is it a specific right of all children.
Play also contributes to brain development. Neuroscience research shows that play and exploration helps develop: problem solving ability; curiosity and creativity; imagination; expressive language, socialisation, cooperation, etiquette and emotional skills; and more. According to the Canadian Council on Learning, "Play nourishes every aspect of children’s development – it forms the foundation of intellectual, social, physical, and emotional skills necessary for success in school and in life. Play 'paves the way for learning'”.
For adults, play engages the brain that same way that it does for children. By incorporating play in to daily and work life it can help reduce physical and emotional stress; refresh the mind, encourage creativity and increase productivity; help create new bonds and enhance relationships; increase energy; and increase problems solving skills.
During the holiday season remember to play a little each day. Your body and mind will thank you for it!