“Play teaches us to relax, explore, connect “, according to Natalie Rusk, of MIT Media Lab’s Lifelong Kindergarten Group, who has spent more than 20 years studying learning and creativity—and has found that play is more than fun and games.
For instance “If you’re on an airplane and the pilot makes a joke in his announcement, that’s a kind of play that puts people at ease. A really great yoga teacher will help you approach the poses in a spirit of delight. Play is also a great way to learn about resilience. When a child plays, she fails and revises: “My blocks fell over! I’ll try again.”
So how does this advice ‘play’ into the Engaging the Senses approach to living? It relates beautifully of course because by Engaging mindfully we begin where and how we are. We playfully start to cultivate the kind of wonder and appreciation that is associated with childhood, and is frequently ‘lost’ as we ‘grow up’. How more precisely do we bring the qualities of play into our daily lives? Well you just…”start by giving yourself permission to play, and then do it, even if it feels silly.” E.g.When my daughter was younger, before it was time to leave the park, I used to get on the swings too! And now years later, I still get on them when the opportunity arises.
Another “way is to engage the senses: Eat blindfolded, roll down a hill, blow bubbles, make crazy mouth noises. Go to a toy store and buy the most appealing blocks or chemistry set for yourself, and then see what you can do with it. Use play to figure things out: If you’re struggling to explain something, try expressing your ideas with a sketch. We’ve found that using a nonverbal medium helps.” (E.g. creating a Engagingthesenses style collage.)
“It may sound obvious, but hang out with kids—put them in charge of the afternoon’s activities.Above all, create. Look at the stars and make up new constellations, then tell their stories. When you see something that doesn’t work, brainstorm ways to fix it.” The materials and opportunities for play and for appreciation are readily and (often) freely available. “You just have to change how you approach them.”
Playfully and engagingly yours,