Cultivating Playfulness

The capacity to be playful is as key in the development of children as in adults. Being playful is not just about being light-hearted, avoiding difficult feelings and looking for fun. It is about the ability to interpret, to problem- solve and to find meaning in experiences. Playfulness makes an individual more likely to engage in a situation or environment.

The Key Research Findings highlight the value of cultural learning to develop a capacity to play for children (2017, Cultural Learning Alliance)

  1. Taking part in arts activities can increase cognitive ability by 17%
  2. Learning through arts and culture can help children achieve in Maths and English
  3. Learning through arts and culture develops skills and behaviour that lead children to do better in school
  4. Students who take part in arts activities at school are three times more likely to get a degree
  5. The employability of students who study arts subjects is higher and they are more likely to stay in employment
  6. Students who engage in the arts at school are twice as likely to volunteer
  7. Students who engage in the arts at school are 20% more likely to vote as young adults
  8. The arts can help young people to turn their lives around: young offenders who take part in arts activities are 18% less likely to re-offend
  9. Children who take part in arts activities at home during their early years are ahead in reading and Maths at age nine
  10. Who take part in the arts are 38% more likely to report good health

I wonder how playfulness in adults overlaps in many ways with those for children, including being creative , using humor to think of things that happen to us, motivation to get things done, being able to develop positive affect. I believe that coming to psychotherapy and counselling can develop adults’ capacity to being playful and reduce their stress.


Written by

Saveria Cristofari
Counsellor & Psychotherapist

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