Play is Essential to Human Development

Adding to my post a few days ago, I offer this further understanding of the benefits of integrating ‘play’ into your curriculum.

Extensive research has shown that play:

  • Builds skills like confidence, resilience & self-esteem;
  • Develops empathy & strengthens our relationships;
  • Inspires leadership & creative thinking skills;
  • Develops the ability to solve problems;
  • Develops strong, healthy bodies & reduces stress;
  • Helps us to learn to adapt and be flexible.

Indeed, research has proven time and time again that children who play do better at school and grow up to become more successful adults. In other words, play is essential to human development.

The Strong, an organisation devoted to the study and exploration of play, has broken down the elements of play into this simple equation:

PLAY = Anticipation + Surprise + Pleasure + Understanding + Strength + Poise

Don’t you want these elements present in your classroom or training room? I do.

I want my students and training participants to arrive at my program thinking “What are we going to do today?” rather than “Oh, no, not that again.”

Integrating a culture of play into your learning environment will not only attract your ‘student’s’ participation but will also develop essential social and emotional skills.

As Dr Stuart Brown from the National Institute of Play has said – play is an essential to the development of human beings as sleep and nutrition.

We should value play more seriously. It’s serious work, but also tons of fun.

(Update 2018:) read my latest book Serious Fun which explores the intersection between play and having fun and the healthy human development.


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