The Role of Play in Adult Lives and Fostering Creativity in Ourselves and Children

How does the lack of play affect us? As we think about the role of play in adult lives, we often wonder, who has time to play. Research shows that adults are often play deprived. Why is play important for healthy relationships with children?

The inter twine of play and creativity.

Creativity and play cannot be separated.

Play and creativity are a biological function.

Creativity and play are action oriented.

Creativity and play involve emotions.

Creativity and play build resiliency.

When we fail to engage our sense of play in learning, we often shift our learning from active discovery to passive knowledge transition. The concern of this mindset is that problem solving and creative thinking shift from creative acts to fact demonstration. This is particularly true when science is brought into educational settings.

FLOW Author Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi identifies the importance of knowledge being made doable.  “In my journey, again and again I saw the connection between action and learning. It brought home for me how important the doing is”.

 Erik Erikson spoke of the importance of the invitation to experiment. This experimentation connects directly to the values we espouse in the early childhood environment, that it is important to be engaged and excited about experimentation. 

Sir Ken Robinson commented that children and adults achieve their best work when they are personally invested in their learning and they exhibit a discipline of sustained concentration that leads to leading of understanding. Further it helps us as adults to focus on the act of creativity as being a process and not a single event.

When we move away from a point-in-time analysis to a process mindset, we are finally able to build theory. Through trial and error we learn how to scaffold our learning and make meaning from our explorations. When we model this for children, we model the act of critical thinking.

How do you make visible acts of trial and error to the children in your program?