3 ways Play changes as we get older
In my last blog post I talked about how just playing anything may not hit the spot we need in terms of reinvigorating or satisfying us. It got me thinking about the different ways we can play and how this can change over time. I think the following factors have a huge bearing on what we choose to do and how we choose to express ourselves:
1: Means: There's no getting away from it, money enables access to certain forms of play. Game consoles, adventure parks, sports cars all cost money and can become goals for us as young players to aspire to as we grow up. I was at a festival at the weekend which offered everyone the chance to fly a drone or model plane via simulator. The queue was equal parts children and adult. The adults played to keep the plane upright, the children reveled in crashing their vehicles as quickly as possible.
2: Time: While the above may be increasing, this one tends to shrink. We become awash with responsibilities irrespective of whether those involve caring for other people, (big or small) or not. We have fancy jobs, important projects, and play starts to seem discretionary or inappropriate as we are now " too old" for it.
3: Perspective: We have entrenched ideas on everything now, from what type of politician we want to elect to the type of coffee we order as our regular. We all have a particular idea on what play is. For my husband, it is sport. For me it is a combination of several things, including writing, improv and inflatable dinosaur costumes, amongst others. A positive perspective on play means you are probably still doing some form of it. I genuinely believe the more "grown-ups" model play and engaging in fun for the sake of it, the longer we will keep the next generation playing, because this one could really struggle due to the looming digital distractions.
Watching an 11-month old play is an interesting thing having watched the play styles of a 7 and 9-year old evolve over the years. The moments really do intensify when we find ourselves in a sweet spot of playing together, in the one room, at the same time. Like the picture above this post, it is a magic connection. That's what I love about play, it serves as a universal language. Because everyone wants to have fun, right?