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Granddaughter and grandpa playing  Rhino Hero

How Play Helps Everyone Become Smarter and Happier

Play is Our Business

By now, there’s no hiding from the mounting evidence that play is vital for children’s growth, development, and even future success and happiness. The ability to play in childhood is critical for creating well-adjusted children who can sustain social relationships and adapt to the changes of life. At HABA, play is our business. We’ve been facilitating, appreciating, and developing opportunities for play for 85 years. Our primary focus at HABA has been on the play of children, however, we’ve always placed a premium on the idea that play is for everyone and that a life filled with play encourages creativity and innovation.

Read All About Play

Stuart Brown’s pivotal book, Play: How It Shapes the Brain, Opens the Imagination, and Invigorates the Soul, speaks to this idea of the innate human need for play and the extreme value of play for everyone. This book is a must read for anyone interested in the importance of play. The book explores how everyone, no matter how old they are, can benefit from incorporating more play into their lives. Brown believes that we are “designed to find fulfillment and creative growth through play” and outlines the various areas and ways that play can achieve amazing outcomes such as how “creative play takes our minds to places we have never been, pioneering new paths that the real world can follow.”

Play is the Best Medicine

Play is also a prescription for health, according to Brown, “Many studies have demonstrated that people who continue to play games, who continue to explore and learn throughout life, are not only much less prone to dementia and other neurological problems, but are less likely to get heart disease and other afflictions that seem like they have nothing to do with the brain.” So yes, play is essential. And even good for our health! Playing with our children is a very important thing to do - not only to model that we love to play too but it also shows them that our lives are always changing, and we are growing and learning new things right along with them. By playing with our children, we are demonstrating a growth mindset.

Uncovering Your Play History

But playing isn’t always easy. There are bills to pay, dishes to wash, laundry, etc. and maybe playing trucks on the floor is not your cup of tea after a long day of work. Don’t worry, Brown encourages us, as we re-enter the world of play, to examine what kind of play we are drawn to and why. He calls this conducting a “play history” where you ask yourself what kinds of games you liked as a child, what type of play energizes you, and how you can easily get into the flow of play.

We all Have Unique Play Blueprints

Children are able to slip into play easily and naturally, but adults are still guiding them on their path to discover and create their own play 'stories’. According to Brown, “as we understand the unique play patterns of childhood, we can start to see our child’s own truths and purpose, and we can begin to see a path that will lead to happiness and fulfillment. Yet helping them along that path requires that we remember the emotional states of play in our own childhood, which provide clues to the primal state of playful bliss for each of us.” For the way we each play is our individual play blueprint resulting from years of learning how we like to play.

Play is All Good

The good news is play is play and it is all good for you! By adding more play into your adult life and therefore your family's life, you will immediately begin to receive the benefits of a play-filled life. Adding play, whether joining an adult hockey league or playing board games with your family each Friday, is a surefire way to provide a sense of expansiveness, joy, and creativity throughout your life.

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