How children learn about relationships
Playing is how children learn from the youngest age. Have you ever seen a baby giggle when you play the easiest game of hide and seek—now you see me, now you don’t? It’s not only adorable: it teaches young brains about the world and the most important people in their lives.
Through games, children learn to understand the rules of how to treat each other. They figure out what is fair and what is not, and learn about losing and winning together. Playing with others teaches kids about teamwork and strategy. Meanwhile, they are picking up invaluable social skills and, most importantly, making friends for life. All of this comes naturally to children, who can turn any moment of
… and why we still play as adults
When we grow up, does playing still matter? Absolutely. Playtime may not be an essential part of our days as adults, but we keep finding time for fun and games. Be it as structured and planned as getting together for an evening of card or board games with friends, or as simple as pulling a prank on someone in the office: playing games is for all ages.
Researchers believe that playing is crucial to human connection. “Play is so deeply ingrained in terms of our own evolutionary drive to survive,” says Dr. Bowen White, founding member of the National Institute for Play. “Play helps us connect with other people because we are open in a way that allows them to feel, maybe, this is a safe person to be with and maybe even fun to be around.”
When we choose to get together and enjoy each other’s company during a game, we create trust.
Playing connects us all
Setting up a game is a great way to spend time with friends and family, share laughter and relax. What’s more, games can bring people together in a way that nothing else can. That is why many businesses use games for teambuilding, and why playing a game is the quickest way to break the ice with a group of strangers. Games can convince grandma to get down on the floor with an enthusiastic toddler, and can show you common ground with someone you’ve only just met.
That brings us back to that Plato quote: “You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation.” Chances are that Plato never actually said this. He may not even have believed it—his work indicates that he thought games were a bit frivolous.
The Ancient Greeks, however, were very convinced of the importance of playing. They thought of ‘play’ as anything from music and dancing to athletics and board games. How do we know? One example is a beautiful amphora by the potter Exekias, depicting the mythical heroes Ajax and Achilles. If they could find time to play a game of dice on the battlefield at Troy, then surely, so should we.