Here’s something you should know about me: I LOVE David Attenborough. He’s the British narrator on extremely popular (in my house where I live alone with Emma, my dog) BBC shows like Africa, Planet Earth, Our Planet, and Blue Planet. Everything David Attenborough says is of great importance… and in my brain, at this moment, I realize that it’s actually David Attenborough who just said, “of great importance” not Kate Moore in the slightest.
The reason for this month’s theme is David Attenborough and things that I’ve learned from him… and nature: Something that all new fresh baby life has in common is that they p l a y. I’ve deduced this from watching hours of Planet Earth, Africa, and Our Planet. What I’ve learned about play is that it is a hugely important process of evolving and growing. Little tiny baby elephants play with the birds so that their little legs can get stronger and a bit more coordinated. Great huge bald eagle babies play with their wings and flapping them all over the place so that they can eventually leave the nest and hunt on their own. Baby whales play in the water so they can become better swimmers. Insects play too (but those aren’t my favorite episodes so I won’t really get into that).
And human babies play too! They kick their little legs around, they look at new things and move their heads all about (this helps make their necks stronger so their heads won’t fall off), they do tummy time, they skip around the house, they use their imagination all the time, they get curious.
And then all of these tiny babies, the elephants, the bad eagles, the whales, the insects, and the humans… we all grow up and get jobs and we stop playing!
LITERALLY, something my friend Ruby and I are doing is intentionally having more “uninhibited fun.” That’s what we’re calling it (yes, you can laugh at this - I know we seem fun, but we take our fun very seriously).
Anyway, my point here is that when we’re kids, we play. It’s a necessary part of our growth. But then sometimes, we stop playing because we’ve got more important things to do or because we suddenly believe there’s a “right” way which means that maybe we’re afraid of getting it wrong, which maybe means we don’t even try at all. I’d like to argue that adults benefit from play just like kids do. According to thegeniusofplay.org, there are 6 benefits of play (anywhere this website says “kids,” I’ve replaced that with the word “adults”:
Physical - Active play helps [adults] with coordination, balance, motor skills, and spending their natural energy (which promotes better eating and sleeping habits).
Emotional - During play, [adults] learn to cope with emotions like fear, frustration, anger, and aggression in a situation they control. They can also practice empathy and understanding.
Social - Playing with others helps [adults] negotiate group dynamics, collaborate, compromise, deal with others’ feelings, and share - the list goes on!
Communication - Play lets [adults] exchange thoughts, information, or messages by speech, signals, writing, or actions.
Creative - By allowing imaginations to run wild during play, [adults] create new worlds, and form unique ideas and solutions to challenges.
Cognitive - [Adults] learn to think, read, remember, reason, and pay attention through play.
SO THIS MONTH WE’RE GOING TO PLAY MORE. But like, on purpose.
So in what way can you play more in life? Instead of going on a run for miles, can you go on a run with a friend and make a bunch of pit stops just to see what’s around? Or maybe even instead of going for a run, could you try to play soccer? What if going to “workout” was just a way to go play with your friends and try new things instead of something that you’re “supposed” to do for your “health”?
Can you have a game night at your house? Can you make you and your friends a bingo card for the month and have fun checking things off together around town? Can you learn how to play the guitar? Have you tried painting, pottery, gardening, or magic? Dancing in your underwear at home? SPORTS! But maybe not the kind you care about winning? Or whatever! Get out there and win that shit! Roller blading. Paddle boarding. Swimming with flippers on. Maybe just wearing flippers as shoes because that’s fun for everybody!