Ashley's Reviews > Play: How It Shapes the Brain, Opens the Imagination, and Invigorates the Soul

Play by Stuart Brown
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Sep 03, 2009

really liked it
bookshelves: preschool-set, inspiring
Read in February, 2010

So far, I like the idea of the importance of play for everyone, kids and adults alike. "Stepping out of a normal routine, finding novelty, being open to serendipity, enjoying the unexpected, embracing a little risk, and finding pleasure in the heightened vividness of life. . . are all qualities of a state of play." This book is easy to read and understand, and though I haven't yet finished it, I'm sure I'll recommend it without much reservation.
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An important book for all of us. I used to think play was essential for the break it afforded us from the strenuous exercise or fatigue of the brain during work- a kind of relaxing void whereby the subconscious could step in and organize all that material we may not have understood the first time around. I don't believe I had considered the possibility that play- at all ages, and in many different forms- provides the brain with a kind of new exercise, especially the kind not available to us in conventional study or otherwise 'educational' pursuits. Play, it seems, is an essential activity for our continued well-being.

"Play-deprived adults are often rigid, humorless, inflexible and closed to trying out new options. Playfulness enhances the capacity to innovate, adapt and master changing circumstances. It is not just an escape. It can help us integrate and reconcile difficult or contradictory circumstances. And, often, it can show us a way out of our problems. . . .
True play may seem pointless — it is done for its own sake, because it’s fun — but ultimately it is also useful. From an evolutionary perspective, the smarter the animal, the more they play. For humans, play reinvigorates us not because it is down time, but because it gets us in touch with our core selves and the joy of life."

Highly recommended!
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