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Having started this shiny new year – and decade (!) – with posts designed to get you thinking, we thought we’d take it easy this week. So, we’re going to keep it simple, short and sweet. Hurrah! 
So, what are we going to talk about?  
Well, it’s something that we adults – and, sadly, too many children – spend far too little time doing. That’s if we do it at all. Playing. 
And, we’re not talking about all those games on your favourite electronic gizmo. Or, even, the more old fashioned board games or card games. Let alone anything more physical or “organised” in some other way. 
No, we’re talking about real playing.  
Doing something spontaneously. For the fun of it. Letting your imagination run riot. For a few minutes or longer. Casting all your cares aside and becoming a child again, whether on your own or with friends. Or, perhaps with your favourite four legged friend (!). Simply enjoying life. 
Like all other animals, humans have a natural instinct to play. And, for those who might be tempted to say it’s rather frivolous (!), playing helps us in lots of ways as well as being great fun to do. 
It helps fine tune motor skills, such as hand eye co ordination. Even better, it’s a fun way to find out what we – currently – can and can’t do. In other words, it helps us understand our – current – limitations and, in turn, develop emotional resilience. This then acts as the impetus to find ways round our limitations or to improve our skills. 
Put another way, it’s the easiest – and natural – way to improve our skills, whatever our age. Or, as some researchers have more succinctly put it, playing is essential for normal, healthy brain development. 
Even better, it gives our creative side – our subconscious – free rein to come up with lots of new – and often slightly wacky – ways of doing things. 
There’s so much we could say about playing, but overanalysing it really goes against what it’s all about. Fun. Spontaneity. Creativity. 
And, if you need a reminder about the joys of playing, here’s a lovely little poem we came across recently by Jeff Foxworth which sums it up perfectly: 
Dirt on my Shirt 
There’s dirt on my shirt 
And leaves in my hair. 
There’s mud on my boots 
But I don’t really care. 
Playing outside is so much fun 
To breathe clean air 
And feel the warm sun. 
To stomp in a puddle 
Or climb a big tree. 
Makes me quite happy 
Just look and you’ll see! 
So, now it’s over to you. 
This weekend why not go outside and have a little fun, doing something completely frivolous. Become a child again. Go on, we dare you! 
As always, the choice is yours. 
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