Benefits of Play

Marlene Swinging

While coloring at a 4-H meeting, I realized how relaxed I felt. My daughters and I were helping out with the group’s Northwest Montana Fair float project, and I was outlining circles with various colors to simulate a crowd at a rodeo. Lately, I’ve been feeling rushed as everything seems to be screaming “Get this done first!” It was a guilt free hour of respite from my usual routine.


As a woman, I do believe I get my share of play even though my kids accuse me otherwise. I can be found swinging at the playground, swooshing down waterslides, or playing in the snow in winter. An occasional game of badminton is fun and you can catch me playing dodge ball out in front of my house. To the chagrin of Mallory and Eileen, a game of peek-a-boo with a little boy recently occupied me while waiting in line to check out at the grocery store.


Laughter is the best medicine, exercise is the cheapest, and play restores us. I can attest that my concentration and focus are better when I’m playing the role of avid hunter with my bow and arrows. Everyday cares are set aside and my full attention is on the target.


Here is a list of the benefits of play:

  • Stimulates the imagination and spurs creative thought
  • Reduces stress and worry
  • Induces a feeling of light heartedness
  • Promotes positive emotional health
  • Increases energy levels


Too often I have seen women who have refused to play. They sit on the sidelines and say no to driving go-carts, paddling canoes, or shooting guns. Perhaps they play in other games, but I’m proposing  to go for all of the gusto you can get!


Play is good for us and may even increase our longevity. It is an essential factor in our well being. As the saying goes, our kids won’t remember if the floor was clean, but they will remember if you took the time to play.