Play is really important. It’s serious. Vital. Educational psychologists will monitor and analyse a child’s play. Grown-up psychologists will ask you what you do ‘for fun’ (read: how do you play?).
In the design process, play is important. Make the solid elements of your project like plastecine and spend some time reshaping them, blending their forms, colours, separating them out into relational objects (“this one’s the dad, this one’s the mum…”). You can play on your own or with other people. With objects or without. Out in the open or inside. Anywhere.
Our sanity depends on it.
Children’s play is developmental. A child picks up a toy and plays with it. Bashes it on the floor, puts it in their mouth. Creates an experience, a sensory experimentation, and eventually learns from it. Is play not developmental in adults too? The pursuits we call hobbies further our sense of self-identity. I do therefore I am. And the more adventurous, the risk-takers, play for sensory experimentation too. We still encounter novelty – new materials, environments, people. We don’t bash them on the floor or put them in our mouths but we do learn from them.
Play is imaginative, sensory, educational, unpredicatable, existential, and really important. It’s fun and serious. Let’s never stop playing.