Play: How It Shapes The Brain, Opens the Imagination, and Invigorates the Soul by Stuart Brown is a book after my own heart. After all, I am a person whose company is named Recess and I’ve been told my inner child is not very inner at all. I believe in play. It is nice to have someone provide handy evidence that what I believe turns out to be a good thing.
Consider the sea squirt. In its early life, it has a rudimentary brain and swims around exploring. However, “The adult sea squirt becomes the couch potato of the sea. In a surprisingly macabre twist, the sea squirt digests its own brain. Without a need to explore or find its sustenance, the creature devours its own cerebral ganglia. It’s like something out of a Stephen King book: ‘All work and no play make sea squirt a brain-eating zombie’” (p. 48). We need to play and we need to play actively lest we all turn into brain-eating zombies.
The book describes the various kinds of play, the ways play develops our brains and our social structures, and provides some ideas about how to start playing again if we have, unfortunately, stopped. It is written in an accessible but smart way—a playful book with much to offer.
Doing things we love or doing things we don’t love with a playful heart helps us grow and thrive and connect and give. It replenishes our souls.
Go play. It’s good for you.