How do you Play as an Adult?

Do you play in your daily life? What says “playtime” to you?

Play is the Work of the Child

Hello Bloganuary, I’m back for day two. This is a prompt close to my heart. My blog Busy Busy Learning is all about being able to learn through the pleasure of play.

As an erstwhile early years and primary school teacher I’ve always been an advocate that all children should have the opportunity to learn through play.

“Play is the work of the child.”

Piaget or Montessori

There’s some dispute as to whether psychologist Piaget or movement founder Maria Montessori said the above but either way the sentiment is the same. I would argue that play shouldn’t end in childhood.

Society Pressures to Work Hard

Society can demonise those who prioritise play. I really resonated with the post written by fellow Bloganuary writer Frank who spoke of the association with play/ relaxing and laziness. I certainly grew up in an environment where this was very much the case. The notion that if you had time to play then you weren’t working hard enough. Is this something that you’ve experienced? It’s often left me feeling guilty if I am playing/ relaxing.

Taking the Government to Task

The government doesn’t help with the way our school curriculum is designed. Once children leave the play based early learning curriculum the National Curriculum is often taught devoid of play.

“Article 31 (leisure, play and culture)
Every child has the right to relax, play and
take part in a wide range of cultural and
artistic activities.”

UN Convention on the Rights of the Child

You can find my thoughts on the new Early Years framework from September 2023 here and how I feel that what follows goes against the Rights of the Child from UNICEF – Article 31.

How do we Prioritise Play and Relaxation

Parents and educators have a significant role to advocate for play and show children the value and importance of play and relaxation.

Firstly, giving children the opportunity to play in the way they want and appreciate their play is paramount. However, I feel that one of the biggest ways that we can show children the value of playtime and relaxation is to model it; to show how we play and relax. Children imitate what they see.

“In our play we reveal what kind of people we are.”


What Does Play Look Like for Adults?

Just like children like to play in all sorts of different ways, so do adults. It’s never too late to try something new.

My Mom (70) having her first go at resin art!

Play is a fundamental aspect of human behavior that extends beyond childhood and continues into adulthood. While the nature of play may change, it remains an essential component of a fulfilling and healthy life for all human beings at any age. Here are some ways play manifests in adulthood:

  1. Hobbies and Leisure Activities: Engaging in hobbies such as sports, arts and crafts, music, gardening, or other recreational activities can be a form of play for adults. These activities provide enjoyment, relaxation, and an opportunity for self-expression.
  2. Socialising and Games: Adults often engage in playful activities through social interactions, such as game nights, sports leagues, or participating in group activities. Playing board games, card games, or video games can be enjoyable and social.
  3. Physical Play: Exercise and physical activities, such as walking, biking, yoga, or dancing, can be playful and provide both physical and mental benefits. Sports and recreational activities are common forms of play in adulthood.
  4. Imagination and Creativity: Play in adulthood can involve activities that stimulate creativity and imagination. This might include writing, painting, acting, or any form of creative expression that brings joy and a sense of accomplishment.
  5. Travel and Exploration: Exploring new places, trying new foods, and experiencing different cultures can be a playful and adventurous aspect of adulthood. Traveling provides opportunities for novelty, excitement, and discovery.
  6. Mind Games and Puzzles: Engaging in mental challenges, puzzles, and games can be a playful way for adults to exercise their cognitive abilities. This may include solving crossword puzzles, playing chess, or participating in trivia competitions.
  7. Humor and Laughter: Appreciating and creating humor is a significant form of play. Whether through watching comedies, attending stand-up shows, or sharing jokes with friends, humor contributes to a lighthearted and playful mindset.
  8. Learning and Personal Growth: Exploring new subjects, acquiring new skills, and pursuing personal development can be a form of play for adults. Learning in a way that is enjoyable and intrinsically motivating is a playful approach to self-improvement.
Iris folding has been a playful passion of mine that I’ve discovered in 2023.

Play is Essential for Life

Play for adults is diverse and varies from person to person. What brings joy and a sense of playfulness can differ widely based on individual interests, preferences, and life circumstances. Integrating play into adult life contributes to overall well-being, stress reduction, and the maintenance of a healthy work-life balance. Who wouldn’t want these attributes to be passed on to future generations?!

Playfulness should be seen as an essential element to life alongside food and water. By demonstrating our playfulness and the priority we give it it shows others the value. How do you find the time? Well that’s a problem for another time!

4 thoughts on “How do you Play as an Adult?”

  1. What an excellent blog you have here with wonderful content. I homeschooled some of my (5) children some of their school years and I delighted in creating new and playful ways to learn with them. I’m challenged now to play, as I am capable of making play into work by counting steps and focusing on being productive. I look forward to reading more!!

    1. Thank you so much for your lovely comment, you’ve made my day. I know exactly what you mean about how play can be made into work and it’s certainly something as educators that being mindful of is so important. Goal orientation is certainly something I was brought up with and playing for pure enjoyment something that it’s taken me a long time to grasp and I still need to keep myself in check often. PS. I loved reading your Snoopy introvert post – I can truly relate!

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