Insight to Play, From an Outsider
by Kelsey Jurgens, GRCM Events Intern
I started interning at the Grand Rapids Children’s Museum (GRCM) at the beginning of the year. On my second day, I was introduced to the idea of play. Play was something that GRCM knew was important in everyone’s lives; not just children. This idea of play was new to me, and slightly confusing, as I do not have young children in my life.
While helping research, plan and implement events at GRCM, I started to understand play more and more. I also learned how it was beneficial to my health as a young adult to incorporate play during my day, even for just fifteen minutes.
What constitutes as play? I thought enjoying the talk shows on my morning and evening commute counted. I thought scrolling through interesting articles or social media applications on my phone counted. But it really didn’t. Play is much more serious than that.
In a twist of fate, I met Dr. John Kilbourne, movement science professor at Grand Valley State University (GVSU) during a meeting at GRCM that second day. His wife, Elizabeth Kilbourne, creativity professor at GVSU, was also present. Little did I know that Elizabeth Kilbourne, would be my professor for my creativity class.
Through various readings and study in class, and seeing the real-life play at GRCM, everything started to make sense. Play is so healthy, for the mind body and soul. Dr. John Kilbourne came to class one evening to explain play. Through a story about his daughter’s journey with play, he taught us what makes play play.
Below is the list of things that constitute the activity of play from Dr. Kilbourne’s novel Running with Zoe. (Running with Zoe was an easy transition to understand what play is.) It has been my own interesting journey learning how to incorporate play into my day. I can honestly say that I feel better each day that I have play in my day. I make time to explore new hiking trails, play with my dogs or take recess at GRCM and play with the play experts; children.
The Wonders of Play
One – Play involves movement of the bodily being.
Two – Play is a voluntary activity (free).
Three – Play involves risk.
Four – Play involves imitation of other humanbeings and the environment.
Five – Play involves pretending (make believe).
Six- Play involves bonding between other humanbeings and the environment.
Seven – Play involves alternation and change.
Eight- The product of play is only play (play isnot done for profit or material gain).
Nine – Play involves a solution or resolution.
And, despite what outsiders might think or say, to the participants.
Ten – Play is a very serious activity.
So I challenge you: put your phone on the table, go outside and play. Even if it may be for 15 minutes; go play. Explore your backyard, play fetch with your dog or create an activity all of your own.
Do this often, and I can promise you that you’ll reap the benefits. Play is good.