By Angela Maiers

Permission to Play, Please?

When we treat play as seriously as it deserves, we feel the joy that’s in the creative spirit. It’s the things we play with and the people who help us play that make a difference in our lives.

-Fred Rogers-

This week, I had the honor of opening the K12 Online Conference on Purposeful Play with the following question:

WHEN IS THE LAST TIME YOU PLAYED ON PURPOSE? 

English: Soap bubbles

Image via Wikipedia

This is an important question to ask ourselves amidst the hustle and bussle of our busy work and lives.  My bet is that if I asked you to close your eyes and think of the happiest moments in your life ; chances are (whether this moment was as a child or an adult) it involved some sort of play

Play is the most natural thing that children do and yet somewhere along the way, we lose this inclination to play.  We get serious.  We’ve got more important things to do.  We’ve got to be productive.  We’re supposed to be successful.  Meanwhile, we become stressed, anxious, depressed, worried, and exhausted. Why? My guess is we are a little or a lot  “play-deprived”.

We have not given ourselves permission to play enough.  I understand, many of you are thinking “playing” seems childish, unprofessional, wasteful of our time and energies…am I right?   Let me encourage you to SERIOUSLY  rethink that and do as the wise Mr Rogers said, treat play with the seriousness it deserves.

Play isn’t a luxury – it’s a necessity. Dr. Stuart Brown brilliantly demonstrates this in his TED talk making the scientific case that play is anything but frivolous and not just for kids. My favorite line: “The opposite of play is not work, it is depression.”

Charles Schaefer, founder of the Association for Play Therapy says the following about play:

We are never more fully alive, more completely ourselves, or more deeply engrossed in anything than when we are playing. Through play our whole being is engaged—our bodies, minds, and souls.  Play allows us to express ourselves and connect most deeply with the best in others, thereby improving relationships.

Who doesn’t’ deserve to feel more alive, to laugh, to reconnect and deepen our engagement with the world?  And if you are not going to give yourself permission to play more this week, I will.

Consider this your official permission slip to explore, experiment, wander, wonder, tinker, get silly, discover, fiddle and in the process have extraordinary amounts of fun!! What are you waiting for???

YOUR SANDBOX IS WAITING!!!