Why playing is good for kids….and adults!
I came across this article from KSL.com (https://www.ksl.com/index.php?sid=46191068&nid=157&title=why-adults-should-play-too) and realized how important play is for all of us, in a world where we all need time for our own self-care to help our own sanity:
The science behind play
The evolutionary importance of play can be demonstrated in the brains and behaviors of rats and primates, said Dr. Sergio Pellis, neuroscientist at the University of Lethbridge in Alberta, Canada.
In his experiments, he denied rats the opportunity to engage in play by fighting and wrestling.
Those rats developed deficiencies in their brains' pre-frontal cortex. This is the area responsible for executive functions, such as making judgment calls and emotional regulation.
"If you're an adult male rat put in another cage of a rat you don't know, the resident rat will see you as an intruder and beat you up," Pellis said.
If you're a normal rat, you'll find any place to hide — a platform, perhaps — and stay there, he said.
"If you're a play-deficient rat, you'll get beaten up and shortly thereafter move again and attract even more attention," he said. "You're not figuring out the appropriate thing to do in this situation."
Similar research with monkeys led to the same results, said Pellis, co-author of "The Playful Brain: Venturing to the Limits of Neuroscience."
While this type of experiment cannot be replicated in juvenile humans for ethical reasons, social science studies have shown kids who engage in more play end up with higher social skills a few years down the line, Pellis said, predicting more research in the next decade on adult human brains at play.