Many adults among us have lost the habit of play; some of us who become parents get back to play a little more but in general we can say that in adulthood we get out of the habit of play.

Yet, many researches show how play can be educating, motivating and recreational also for adults.
Many have understood this point: in San Francisco, for example, there’s a group called SF GAMES where people meet weekly to play. All games (strategic, social and card games) are inclusive – not like Monopoly where at a certain point a player is forced out of the game. This group was born two decades ago and since then its members have grown exponentially.

In his book Play, author and psychiatrist Stuart Brown, MD, compares play to oxygen. He writes, “…it’s all around us, yet goes mostly unnoticed or unappreciated until it is missing.”
Brown has spent decades studying the power of play in everyone from prisoners to businesspeople to artists to Nobel Prize winners. He’s reviewed over 6,000 “play histories,” case studies that explore the role of play in each person’s childhood and adulthood.
For instance, he found that lack of play was just as important as other factors in predicting criminal behavior among murderers in Texas prisons. He also found that playing together helped couples rekindle their relationship and explore other forms of emotional intimacy.
Play can even facilitate deep connections between strangers and cultivate healing. In Colombia, White’s wife and Patch Adams’s son – also clowns – visited a bedridden father, at his daughter’s request. Once there, they sat on either side of his bed. He didn’t know English, and they didn’t know Spanish. Still, they sang songs, laughed and played with a whoopee cushion. They also cried. The woman later told them that her father deeply appreciated the experience.

Of course, in this praise of play we don’t include gambling, as here there’s the element of addiction that gets people to the opposite results in comparison to what inclusive and healthy play does.

I’d like to end this post with two of my preferred quotes about play:
“You can discover more of a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation ”(Plato)
“The opposite of play is not work, it is depression” (Brian Sutton-Smith)