Play. Play more. Play harder
I will go so far to say that it may be more important than taking lessons or earning degree in any form of art. Why? Because we learn by playing.
Our brains lay down new neural pathways while we play. It’s called plasticity and it is the process of our brain making itself.
I like to think of it as our brains playing with silly putty. You know that goo that comes in a little plastic egg.
You can mold it, press it on to printed matter to copy images, stretch it into any shape, and then let it pool back into a pile of putty. We play so are brain can play, and in doing so we grow by the experience of learning.
Anything is possible when you play.
The very act of play opens the imagination to infinite possibilities. Play marries both the intellectual and creative sides of our brain. The way you play is key to your creativity. There are a number of specific styles of play each with its own particular task related to learning. We’re all wired differently and have a unique blend of the way we play.
If you’re a dancer you probably like the movement styles of play, or if you like to write you’d be more inclined to story play, and if you like to paint or sculpt you play in what’s dubbed a creator type.
A few years ago I was named the Play Wizard for my work with play. In my workshops I’ve noticed a common theme amongst participants. Everyone wants to play, but few manage to. It seems as we grow older many make up rules about when and how they can be allowed to play. So the wizard in me says, “Abracadabra! You get to play!”
How might you incorporate more play into your daily routine?
- Take regular play breaks. Remember the anticipation of the recess bell when you were a kid in school? Now you get to ring it whenever you want!
- Keep toys or your play tools around in easy reach at all times. I play this game: I keep balls around and I toss them at people. Can you guess what they do? Yep they bounce them and then try other stuff. Having toys around makes it easy to play any and, every time you see them.
- Make play dates. Find friends or make new ones and go play with them. When you were a kid you knew the lingo, “Wanna Play?” Start asking people again and see what happens.
- Turn regular activities into play. Play with your food at dinner. Turn commuting into a game or story time. Play word games on your computer.
Remember that every time you embark on a playful mission you’re expanding your brain. That means you can learn and grow new ideas by experimenting through your play. If you want to create, play can be your best friend. I work with many artists and they all say that they enjoy playing in the studio most of all, because it frees them up and they discover new exciting things. So make play a regular part of your creative routine.