Taking Play Serious


The topic of brain research is hot and as our field continues to grow, so does our need to validate the effectiveness of our programs on those they serve. Experiential programming, in most circumstances, offers participants the opportunity to learn through doing, or put differently, through playing. Though play is seemingly fun and engaging, does it serve a purpose? We seem to think so but, how do we prove it? Dr. Stuart Brown, a pioneer of research on play, is beginning to provide that research and says that play is more than just fun, that it's vital to human development and intelligence in children and, more interestingly, also in adults. Brown is providing scientific evidence that being playful, in a wide sense of the word, is critical to healthy human development and that the more play we experience, the better we socialize, adapt, solve problems and meet with success, sound Familiar?


Hey Ryan,

So glad you posted this. Here is one of my favorite quotes from Play in relation to experiential programming.

“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. These are all qualities of a state of play.”

The entire book is accessible and relevant to our work...I mean play!


Ditto! We - Ryan, Nate and me - all reading off the same page ... I love this stuff, cos it adds meat the arguement that play is good for us and our groups... Mark