The Importance of Play

Photo Credit: Deklofenak By Brittany Dinger, '17

As we enter the season of tests, papers, presentations, and projects, it becomes all too easy to allow feelings of guilt to build during lapses between working or studying. As a result, we often couple fewer, poorer quality breaks with longer, less productive study sessions. This causes our work to suffer and our well-being to take a hit. However, there is a simple solution that many of us neglect: playing. Play is important for productivity, mental health, creativity, and overall well-being, yet few Skidmore students seem to do it.

Many of us consider it a good day when we’re able to exercise and finish our homework, but it’s unlikely that the cardio at the sports center really fits the criteria of playing. Although exercise is certainly a crucial component of a balanced life, slaving away at the gym alone is not a substitute for play. The members of Quidditch, Humans vs. Zombies, and any of our sports teams certainly have the right idea. One Skidmore senior on the varsity softball team, for example, values her sport as “the most fun part of [her] day” and admits that it “gets [her] energy up.” Although these are all great outlets, you do not have to be in a club or on a team to play. During the snow day, it was certainly a relief to see so many students leaving their books behind to lose themselves in the snow for a few hours by sledding, enlisting in snowball battles, building snow families, and constructing an igloo. As the icy conditions and negative temperatures hinder such activities, however, indoor options could include rock-climbing (such as Rocksport in town), dancing (anywhere, anytime), or gathering some friends for a dodge ball fight in the gym.

While spending a few hours each week in the toddler room of Greenberg Child Care Center for a psychology class, I find myself growing jealous of the incredible balance these two-year-olds have. They spend their days playing outside, reading books with student-helpers, and engaging in pretend-play by themselves or with others. Their seemingly endless energy and creativity during these bouts of play leads me to believe that, although few of us have the time to replicate the toddlers’ idyllic schedule, we could all certainly stand to take a page from their playbook.

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