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Play!


By Taya Beattie, Early Elementary Teacher

Sometimes when you are thinking about your present or future it’s good to look back to the past. In 2008, Dr. Stuart Brown, a lifelong researcher on play, spoke about the importance of play for kids, but more importantly for adults. We are in a strange place right now. Most of us are working from home, we are charting unknown work/life balance, and for most people who are reading this, your kids are now just a room away from your office (or in it).

This time is weird and stressful but also proposes an incredibly unique time to shake things up. I mentioned that your kids were only a room away earlier… Your kids are only a room away! What an incredible resource of fun, invention, play, and creativity that you now have 15 feet away from you. The ability to take a break with your child and give yourself a right brain reset is a gift. Playing with your child is a mutually beneficial experience. To paraphrase what Dr. Brown mentions in his TED talk, play literally lights up the brain. It stimulates your frontal lobe (cognitive skills ie: problem solving, memory, emotional expression), and cerebellum (regulates motor movements ie: balance, coordination).

Playing as an adult can be difficult. I have taught many corporate improv workshops to high level tech executives and there’s something that happens with our consciousness in adulthood that tells us we can’t. We can’t be silly as an adult. I shouldn’t do that. I need to make a good impression and what if people think I am weird. Well hey, your office is now your house and your coworkers are some of the weirdest and silliest little people you probably know. So, maybe it’s time to learn a little from them? Take a ten minute break to be a lion. Team up with your tween to learn a TikToc dance (trust me there are plenty). Dress up in costumes and have a mini house parade. You will come back to work feeling refreshed, and you and your kids will have benefited mentally, emotionally, and socially from a silly and playful experience.