Is It Play or Work? (or Play + Science = Transformation)

I sometimes listen to Krista Tippett’s Speaking of Faith on NPR.  This Sunday’s show was an interview with Dr. Stuart Brown, a physician and director of the National Institute for Play.

First of all, I never heard of the National Institute for Play – and didn’t know that people were devoting their life to studying play. I am also wondering, what a cool place to work (or rather “play”) and how do I get a job there.

So, I did some further research on the National Instititue for Play and found that their mission is as follows:

“We are approaching this work as students of the science of play. We are gathering with other play experts and students to develop projects which will expand the clinical, scientific knowledge of Human Play as well as projects which will translate the knowledge of play into practices and training programs to deliver the benefits of play to all segments of society.”

The research from the NIFP has identified 7 patterns of play as identified below:

  • Attunement Play
  • Body Play and Movement
  • Object Play
  • Social Play
  • Imaginative and Pretend Play
  • Storytelling-Narrative Play
  • Transformative-Integrative and Creative Play

There are some interesting takeaway’s to bring to the “corporate table” from this research around creativity, innovation and ideation that is so important to adapting to a changing world.  This type of play is best summarized as “Play + Science = Transformation“. 

I encourage you to learn how you can apply this research and add more “play’ to your personal and professional life.

The Speaking of Faith podcast can be downloaded here or you can listen to it here.  The SOF website also has an interesting and short 2-minute slideshow on play occurring in nature that can be found at this link.


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