Play is verb that initiates fun and happiness and typically associates itself with an activity that is often chosen for pure enjoyment. Sometimes (especially in a child’s case) the activities involve the use of one’s imagination and using pretend objects to create something entirely different. Psychologists believe that this is the key environment for children to grow up in because they learn from hands on experiences PLUS being able to use creativity. When you think of the word “child” you often think of the word play because that’s honestly what they always do! Children don’t have the same worries as grown ups, so they often find things to occupy themselves with that can also make them happy. Children typically use stuffed animals, board games, dolls, pretend play sets, lego and other things to connect them with the real world. They associate the things they play with with things that can be later seen on the television, or through a photograph or that they eventually experience hands on. Furthermore, educational playing can also teach a child to speak based on pictures and with the relation to other toys mentioned before. Psychologists also believe that a way a child plays, defines how they are feeling and if the environment their growing up in is substantial. E.g. if a child plays with a stuffed animal in an angry manner, it can be associated with a mean/rude/angry household.
For adults, play can mean anything that can create an environment that is friendly and typically stressfree. It could be in the form of playing recreational sports, music, movies, games with friends or even online games. Grown ups tend to be bombarded everyday with worries and doubt, so using something that connects to their inner child can create a more optimistic atmosphere. In an adults’ case, playing is a great way to be social and take time away from jobs or something that defines them as “grown up.” In reality, we’re all just like Peter Pan, and never want to grow up.
In a designers case, they must create something that attracts the audience that wants to play. It’s true that we all don’t want to grow up, but there’s a difference between that and how much knowledge we have. For example; designers shouldn’t create something that was meant for a 1 year old and have it directed at middle aged men. Playing is an important part of everyone’s life, and to think of play is to think of fun. With that in mind, designers must be careful about what their intended audiences consider to be as “fun.”
Lila Pine Blog Entry
Stuart L. Brown Play : how it shapes the brain, opens the imagination, and invigorates the soul