Have you ever heard the old adage, “we don’t stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing”? It seems there’s actually some truth to that saying.
Regular play is beneficial for people of all ages, from young children to older adults. It can help them feel happier and more fulfilled and can promote better behavior and increased productivity. There are many other benefits of play, too, for folks old and young.
Read on to learn more about these great benefits.
Play for Children
When children play, they’re not just entertaining themselves and giving their parents a chance to relax. They’re also learning some very valuable lessons.
Some specific benefits of play for children include:
- Improved fine and gross motor skills
- Improved problem-solving skills
- Increased independence and self-esteem
- Increased creativity
- Reduced stress (yes, children need to relieve stress, too!)
It’s important for children to play both on their own and in groups. When they play alone, they learn independence and gain self-esteem.
When they play in groups, they get to work on their language skills and conflict resolution skills. They also learn important skills like taking turns and sharing.
Play for Families
Regular playtime is very important for children of all ages. But, it’s not enough for children to just play by themselves.
When children get to play with their parents and everyone comes together as a family, there are even more benefits to be gained.
Some benefits of regular family playtime include:
- Stronger family relationships (between parents and children and between siblings)
- More opportunities to work on problem-solving skills and conflict resolution skills
- Less stress (for both parents and children)
- Better behavior (mainly for children, but sometimes for parents, too!)
When was the last time you and your children all got together and played a board game or kicked a soccer ball around the yard?
If things have been tense at home, or if you’re just not connecting as much as you’d like, you might want to try playing some games together.
Play for Professionals
Playtime isn’t only for the home or the playground. Play can also be very helpful in the workplace.
When professionals are allowed to let loose and goof around a little, a lot of great things can happen, including the following:
- Less stress
- Improved memory and cognition
- Increased creativity and innovation
- Improved productivity and workplace performance
- Better relationships among coworkers
- Prevents burnout
- Increased workplace satisfaction
- Improved problem-solving abilities
The idea of play at work might seem like a waste of time at first. In reality, though, if your employees are happy and less stressed out, they’re going to have an easier time getting their work done and staying motivated. They’re also going to be more inclined to stick with your company long-term.
Play for the Elderly
Want to combat some of the negative aspects of aging? Make play a priority. Even if you’re well into your retirement, you can still benefit from regular playtime.
The following are some of the best reasons for older adults to play on a regular basis:
- Increased creativity
- Improved critical thinking and problem-solving skills
- Improved cognitive abilities
- Improved memory
- Less stress
- Reduced pain
- Lower blood pressure and reduced risk of cardiovascular disease
- Improved mood
- Fewer symptoms of depression and anxiety
Clearly, there are lots of reasons for seniors to play each day.
They don’t need to play alone, either. Regular play in pairs or groups can also help them build friendships and strengthen their relationships, just like it can for children.
How to Experience the Benefits of Play
Okay, you’re convinced that play is important. How do you make play a priority, though? Here are some ideas for people of all ages:
There are lots of ways that children can play. Try to look beyond just buying them the latest and greatest toys, though.
Get creative and encourage imaginative play with games like dress up and house.
It’s also a good idea to focus on games and toys that promote better reasoning and spatial awareness. Blocks, Legos, and other building-centered games are all great options.
Board games and card games are great for families who want to play together more often. You can also do puzzles or build models. Video games can be fun, too. Just make sure they’re games that everyone can play together.
Don’t underestimate the value of playing outside, either. Head out to play soccer or tennis after dinner or go out for a long walk and play “I Spy.”
Play in the workplace can be a bit tricky. It’s totally possible, though.
Adding a couple of ping pong tables or bean bag toss stations to your office can be a big hit. You can also set out puzzles for people to work on together during their breaks.
Don’t be afraid to organize excursions outside of the office, too. Check out this blog to learn more about things like Escape Rooms that are fun and highly effective team-building exercises.
There are lots of ways for seniors to play.
Board games, card games, and even some video games are all good options. Group-centered games like BINGO are often a big hit as well.
Activities like painting, walking, reading, or knitting count as play, too.
For many seniors, it’s even better if they can do these activities in a group setting. That way, they get to enjoy the benefits of socialization along with the benefits of play.
Learn More Ways to Stay Healthy and Happy
Clearly, there are lots of benefits of play, whether you’re eight years old or eighty years old. There are also lots of different ways you can go about incorporating play into your life.
Are you interested in learning other ways that you can maintain your health and happiness? If so, we’ve got articles for you.
Check out the Happiness section of our website today.
You’ll find all kinds of helpful articles here on everything from meditation and mindfulness to designing your home so that it’s comfy and cozy.