Check out this TED Radio Hour podcast if you are interested in the importance of play in our lives. There are so many great nuggets of wisdom in the show that I immediately clicked over to TED.com to listen to Stuart Brown’s talk and learned even more.
Some of my favorite new insights:
- play is not simply practice for adulthood. When animals are kept from playing as babies, they still grow up to be capable hunters, but they don’t display the qualities of resilience that animals who were allowed free play do.
- play opens up the frontal lobe of our brains and allows information from all over the brain to synthesize. This likely leads to much more creative problem-solving
- play is very helpful in creating empathy. Although we don’t often feel empathy for strangers, if we are put in a situation of having to collaborate with them on a game, scientists have discovered that we display as much empathy for them as we would for a friend.
- play has a biological function for humans, much like sleep and dreams do, and it is important throughout our lives, not just when we’re kids.