Is Play Just for Kids?

As I was about to eat breakfast, I had trouble deciding which kind of cereal I wanted to eat. At After a few minutes of debating I finally picked “Trix” and the slogan “Trix are for kids” popped into my head, which is how I came up with the title of this blog. None the less, in my last blog post I talked about leisure, and one of its components: leisure. Now I will elude to the other component: play which is a context with improvisational potential, which provides for a creative outlet.  Also, it something apparently purposeless, voluntarily done for its own sake, and an activity which makes one feel good (loosens sense of obligation and time).

Why do we play?

  • Development and Change
  • Cultural Assimilation
  • Learning and Practicing Skills
  • Socializing
  • Exploration of our Environment

benefits of play

Researchers from Concordia University and Wilfrid Laurier University examined the way grandparents can establish strong ties with the grandchildren. After observing the two different generations interact, lead author Shannon Hebblethwaite concluded that “shared leisure time allows grandchildren and their grandparents to establish common interests that , in turn, enable them to develop strong inter-generational relationships and pass down old traditions.

One example was, Gardening with grandma. In this study 16 grandparents aged 65 to 89 as well as 14 grandchildren aged 18 to 24 were investigated to see the interactions. Many times grandparents take  advantage of events that typically bond generations such as vacations, holidays, cooking, gardening, etc. in order teach, mentor and pass on legacies. On the reverse side, these encounters gave grandparents the chance to discover things like email, face timing, etc.

Additionally, play promotes development and change. For example, according to this article, during play, children from birth to age three begin to jabber to themselves and use gestures. This transitions to them slowly beginning to use words to communicate.

Follow this link to see more information on the items bulleted above.

Is Play Just for Kids?

One day in my parks and recreation class, a guest speaker visits and actually talked about “play”. He went on to explain how animals play as well, as do adults. After research, I found that most animals stop playing after adolescence.  This is because it is dangerous for adults to play since other animals are out to hunt them.

Humans are considered the “biggest players” since we display neoteny and retain juvenile characteristics into adulthood.


Are there any benefits from play after adolescence?

Certainly! Neoteny is an evolutionary strategy to retain plasticity, which is the quality of being easily shaped or molded. This allows humans to develop and grow their whole life.

4 thoughts on “Is Play Just for Kids?

  1. Weilan Zhuang

    From my point of view that play is always a expression of people releasing their own pressure, stress and anxiety. Just like a pressure cook, if you don’t release the pressure, at some point it will explode. Just look at how many ways that human has already develop for us to release the anger, the darkness in side of us. Like cage fight, boxing, bloody video games. All of then is a mirror for human look at themselves. I love your text which is very interesting to read. But the conclusion is a bit to rush so probably can reduce some of the previous content then enhance the ending a bit.

  2. Gabriela Isabel Stevenson

    I loved learning that I’ll still be able to play and have fun at age 80. I recently wrote an post called , “Is Laughter Really the Best Medicine?” where a study looked at people in their 60’s and 70’s and whether laughing or humor helped them with short-term memory abilities. It turns out it did, and since laughter and play go hand in hand (as anyone can see from your picture), I thought you might be interested in checking it out. A combination of our two posts might as if laughter even enhances play. You can find my blog on the Contributions page if you’re interested. Let me know what you think!

  3. Robert I Jenkins

    I think playing is really good for both your body and mind, its good to to relieve your stress from everyday life by shooting some hoops or throwing a ball the yard. While also keeping you physically active and fit, but its a shame that the fact is a lot people stop playing sports after high school.

    This article has a lot of information and statistics on the why and when we start to see drop offs in this team activities even if it has such a strong participation at other levels.

  4. Nicolas Lau

    For me, I believe that play for adults is social interaction between your friends. Whether it is spending time with one another or engaging in the activities the qualify it as “play,” I think play is simply another word for fun/leisure. Play does not have to mean physical interaction. As for health, leisure is clearly important in reducing our stress and problems. From this article, the author emphasizes stress is “carrying a heavy suitcase for an extended period of time with one arm, and when you feel the pain (stress) of that arm, you then shift the bag to the other arm so that the stress is equalized and no one set of muscles is overworked.” In terms of your blog, I think that the study sample size was way too small to make conclusions from that study. Other than that, I agree with you that play is not just for kids. Play is for rejuvenation and self enjoyment. Play is what keeps the stresses of life at bay.

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