Game On!

Len is the recipient of a gorgeous bocci ball set from Heineken (yes, the beer people — don’t ask). A super cool gift because we happen to live just two blocks from a park that boasts a beautiful bocci ball court.

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Studies show that play for adults — not just children — isn’t a frivolous use of time. In fact, play is a vital component to health and wellbeing. Just a few of the many benefits include:

  • Stress relief. Endorphins (one of the brain’s feel-good chemicals) are released during play.
  • Connection. Shared laughter promotes a playful disposition and boosts our relationship with others.
  • Enhanced brain function. Play stimulates creativity and can even help to stave off depression.
  • Physical vibrancy. Play promotes vitality (energy) and stamina (endurance).

When was the last time you played?

© Laurie Buchanan

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43 thoughts on “Game On!

  1. If going to the beach to look for sea glass and other interesting items the sea has washed up while photographing is play, it has been a few weeks. There maybe a journey down this week!

  2. I relax more than play, I suppose. I don’t really like games and sports. I’d much rather sit and read a book. We do actually have some bocci balls. I have no idea when they were last used though. I get my stress relief and endorphin rush from going to the gym–I do several cycling classes a week, as well as other classes.

  3. I use games as part of my Spanish and dyslexia support classes. I am a firm believer of learning through play: the students love it and we all have a great time, hopefully learning something new. 🙂

    • FatimaSaySell — I can tell you this for certain, I personally retain a heckofa lot more information from a teacher who uses humor and play to engage the class. Way to go! 🙂

  4. Laurie, Right on to all of the above! I just saw a segment somewhere about the surge of coloring books for adults. Apparently it’s big! Who knew? Though it isn’t physical activity it play, and you’re even allowed to color outside of the lines.

  5. Goodness, tough question! My work and play are so closely intertwined that I have a hard time distinguishing between the two. I love to garden, and garden design is my occupation. I will take on a job or task and throw my whole being into to achieving the exact results I had envisioned. The time flies! I may exert a fair amount of energy in causing these results to appear in the physical world, as in apart from my imagination. So I think it would break down like this, work is gardening I do for pay. Play is the gardening I do for fun. All the rest is gravy.

    • Sandi – Master Gardener that you are, I know that a good day for you is one where you have to wash off dirt at the end. I love the way you broke it down: “Work is gardening I do for pay. Play is gardening I do for fun!” 🙂

  6. I love to play! Not cards or board games though but building forts with blankets, throwing rocks in the water, kicking a soccer ball around, building stick houses in at the edge of the woods and then making roads to them, making mudpie pancakes or sand castles, racing to the top of the hill…. I suppose that was my last play which was the day before yesterday on our walk. To be a proper race up to the top you have to jump and down and shout “yaaahoo!” while waving your arms in the air – if you can do it without being so out of breath that you fall over. In fact many things I do I can find a way to turn into purposeful play. Most of the time I entertain and play with the grand children but I am not above engaging other adults and also playing by myself. Who can pass up all that fun?

  7. I guess that depends on how you define “play”. My “play” usually involves silly iPad games, jigsaw puzzles, beads, yarn – all of which mean sitting. Not nearly as healthy physically as something more physical, I know.

  8. When was the last time I played? With my sisters and daughter this weekend, walking down memory lane as we strolled on the beach at Sullivan’s Island, SC.

    We had a ball!

  9. You don’t have to ask me twice to act like the’ child still within’ and play Laurie . Only this afternoon I went down to the beach, collected driftwood for our wood burner , rolled up my trousers and jumped over the waves like a six year old then lay on the sand listening as the waves rolled like I had got nothing else to do . All I needed was a bashed up copy of Enid Blyton’s Famous Five On treasure Island and I be landed .
    Cherryx

    • Olga — If the last time you played has been “probably too long ago,” then I hope you’ll make the opportunity to do so soon — you’re going to have a blast. I promise! 🙂

      • Our practice paid off tonight as she caught a pop fly to her at 3rd base and then threw for a double play at first base!! Sad she will only be a “tween” queen for 6 more days. The 18th she will be a real teen at 13. God help me 🙂

  10. Hi Laurie
    Haven’t ever played bocci ball nor seen it played, nor even heard of it prior to today.

    Do get out and play golf a couple of times a week – most weeks, though have managed 18 holes 4 times in the last 7 days (two of those interclub days), though only likely to be once in the next 7.

    Have got a plan for a couple of hours on the mountain bike this afternoon.

    • Ted — You’re definitely out and about, enjoying and playing in the beautiful gem of a country you and Ailsa live in — one of the most gorgeous locations on this planet. And while I don’t play golf, I love riding my bicycle 🙂

  11. I just read jzart’s comment about colouring books . Here in the UK we have a fortnightly mag called Art Therapy . You are given beautiful drawings to colour and every mag has free crayons and felt tips . Plus meditation and mindfulness exercises to do . I don’t know if you have them in the U.S. or maybe something similar.
    Cherryx

  12. Great reminder, Laurie. I play hide and seek with my feathery friends in the salt mars at least three times a week 🙂 Play is rejuvenating!

  13. Ironically, I was returning from a funeral for a dear friend Joel when I first read this message on my iPhone. I didn’t comment then, but I thought, “how serendipitous.” Joel had a bocce set and invited our small group of friends and children to play on their front lawn.

    My teenage daughter enjoyed the game so much that she gave a set of four bocce balls to her dad for Father’s Day last year.

    When she wrote a memory email remembering her favorite Joel moments, bocce showed up. I think she enjoyed seeing her parents and adult friends playing like kids again.

    • Shirley — I read your touching tribute to Joel on your blog. My heart hurts for his family and friends. Serendipitous, indeed. Bocce ball isn’t something that comes up all that often 🙂

  14. What a beautiful bocce ball set. I’ve played a few times and always thought it was fun! We have a paddle tennis court and have recently taken to playing Pickle Ball. If you’re not familiar, it’s kind of a simplified tennis game played with whiffle ball. I like the reminder to play, and play often. 🙂

  15. Ah Laurie, I “played” chess with my sons Sammy and Jeremy two nights ago. I was a big chess guy back in my college days and have retained my enthusiasm and knowledge of the game over the years, though I am certainly not tournament quality. Playing games in general does indeed relieve stress and enhance all the positive qualities you broach here, providing the participant is not a serious competition junkie. Such a condition could cause quite the reverse effect, of course not in a really good way. What’s that phrase: “All work and no play make Johnny a dull boy.”

  16. I try to play a little each day, but my type A-ness sometimes allows me to forget to do this. Last weekend in the extreme heat my boys played with their water guns and water sticks, they needed some training on how to “properly” get each other and so I just had to join in and show them. We had tons of laughs chasing and dodging. I need to somehow make everyday that fun.

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