What do you miss about being a child? Your gut reaction might be “nothing” – it is certainly mine, anyway. I wouldn’t return to childhood for all the money in the world. (Or any year before 1994, really.)
It’s not entirely true, though – there are things that I do miss. Playing. Making up games. Singing out loud with the radio, dancing. (Okay…I still do that!)
This last Christmas, my mom got me one of the best gifts ever: Spirograph, one of my very favorite childhood games. If you’re not familiar, it’s a way to draw these beautiful patterned designs using gears and a frame.
I’ve since spent hours playing with it, happily lost in the spiraling patterns, loving the excuse to deploy my full range of colored pens.
This week, I’m inviting you to try reclaiming play in your life – go back to childhood games and bring them into your adult world. If you feel stumped for ideas, check out The National Institute for Play’s patterns of play and see which (if any) sounds like your way to reclaim play this week:
“Attunement play, which establishes a connection, such as between newborn and mother.
Body play, in which an infant explores the ways in which his or her body works and interacts with the world, such as making funny sounds or discovering what happens in a fall.
Object play, such as playing with toys, banging pots and pans, handling physical things in ways that use curiosity.
Social play, play which involves others in activities such as tumbling, making faces, and building connections with another child or group of children.
Imaginative or pretend play, in which a child invents scenarios from his or her imagination and acts within them as a form of play, such as princess or pirate play.
Storytelling play, the play of learning and language that develops intellect, such as a parent reading aloud to a child, or a child retelling the story in his or her own words.
Creative play, by which one plays with imagination to transcend what is known in the current state, to create a higher state.“
(National Institute of Play, summarized by Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/?title=Play_(activity))
As adults, we still get to play with all these types of play – I’ve created a suggestion list for you below. Make reclaiming play a priority this week by trying one (or better yet, making up your own!)
- Attunement play – try increasing your eye contact with people you meet throughout the day. See what happens – you may meet someone new.
- Body play – try a new sport, a new dance, a different type of movement.
- Object play – try something like a Rubik’s cube, or solving a jigsaw puzzle,
- Social play – hang out with friends this week!
- Imaginative or pretend play – investigate opportunities for acting in your area, or try playing a role-playing game like an MMORPG or Magic.
- Storytelling play – write a short story, read a new book, or write epic poetry.
- Creative play – try making that invention you are always thinking up. See what happens!
Are you willing to commit to reclaiming play? Leave a comment and let us know how you plan to play more this week.