Joan's artwork for the Stanford Inn Playshop

Play is essential.

I discovered its value playing with images cut from magazines, paints, pens, glue, words, found objects – art “stuff” – and collaging without worrying about outcomes, ignoring judgements, seeing what happens – just playing! And I found that play leads to surprise – to creativity. And I have been encouraging play ever sense.

I offer the Creative Playshop at the Stanford Inn and witness guests having a similar experience who leave energized and rejuvenated. An hour and a half “mess’n with art” without criticism allows openness and curiosity, leading to wonder and awe.

So I was excited to see National Geographic’s Big Idea to start 2024 was “We need to play, Seriously”. Author Sadie Dingfelder introduces Stuart Brown, founder of the US National Institute for Play, who notes “The opposite of play is not work, it’s depression.”

Having fun is fundamental to survival. It is the key to invention, to adaptation; it is the doorway to joy.

It’s Spring, what better time to begin: Splash in a puddle, draw with a stick in the sand, throw a ball with your dog or a child. Maybe even start a collage!