The Importance of Adult Play: Why Adults Should Never Stop Playing

The importance of adult play
19.04.2022 research

The word and act of play are quite often associated with babies, young children, and adolescents. Even though play indeed has many benefits for children’s development, it shouldn’t be exclusive to children and adolescents. In fact, play is considered to be vital in all stages of life, including adulthood.

You already know all about the importance of play during childhood and adolescence. Now, get ready to explore the last stop of this insightful and playful journey: let’s discover the importance of adult play.


Releasing your inner child and playing during adulthood

Taking a good look back, we were once kids: young, active, troublesome, joyful. Ever since we opened the doors into adulthood, there are plenty of other things that we’d have to be on the look for our career, family, finance, etc. But this doesn’t necessarily mean we don’t get time to play!

As adults, we no longer need play as a tool to develop social or emotional skills like teenagers or infants. Instead, play now takes the form of restorative exercises. Research has proved that 5 play archetypes are prevalent in adulthood (Brown, 2013):

  1. Rough-and-Tumble play: high-intensity physical plays – as high-intensity sports and competitions
  2. Ritual play: plays with set rules and puzzles – board games, sports
  3. Imaginative play: playing and exercising the imagination – arts & crafts, storytelling, acting, improv classes
  4. Body play: spontaneous plays to get adults “out of gravity” – yoga, pilates, hiking, snorkeling
  5. Object play: involves the manipulation of objects – building blocks and bricks, fortress play, etc.


Play until you can: The benefits of play between generations

As George Bernard Shaw says “We don’t stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing”. More than stimulating our brains, keeping our senses, balance, and coordination, playing games is a great way to keep an active social life, stimulating also family interactions between generations. A simple play between grandparents and grandchildren can help older people to combat loneliness and keep their minds active. It’s a win-win situation for everyone involved!

Even though play might look more a bit therapeutic for adults, the power of play is just as magical to them as it is for children. But what is the importance of adult play? Play is very beneficial to adults, allowing us to:

  • Relieve stress
  • Improve relationships
  • Be more energetic & health-conscious
  • Be more engaged in creative work 
  • Enhance brain function

There is an unmeasurable value between adult and kid play. By engaging in activities together, both kids and adults can enjoy this two-way learning process. Adults can pass important values and even family traditions and skills to the little ones. At the same time, children can also help the older generations with something they have more knowledge of, such as modern activities and technology.

Read also: Play to Perform: How Games Help Work Better

In the end, no matter how old we are, it’s crucial to not overlook the importance of play. Play bears the power of fostering growth and maturity in the youth, but it also can become a perfect relaxation tool for adults. It’s never too late to start spending a little time to escape from this busy life and start playing!


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