Jul 22, 2019

By Janet Ready, faculty

Are you interested in being more creative and innovative, energized and enlivened this summer? --Think about what’s on your own personal playlist.

Dr. Stuart Brown in his book, “Play:  How it shapes the brain, opens the imagination, and invigorates the soul” points out that neuroscientists, biologists, psychologists, social scientist, and researchers from every point of the scientific compass now know that play is a profound biological process.  It has evolved over eons in many animal species to promote survival.  It shapes the brain and makes animals smarter and more adaptable.  In higher animals, it fosters empathy and makes possible complex social groups.  For us, play lies at the core of creativity and innovation (p. 5).

“Of all animal species, humans are the biggest players of all.  We are built to play through play.  When we play, we are engaged in the purest expression of humanity, the truest expression of our individuality” (p. 5).

Check out your summer playlist and see if it incorporates the following properties of play:

  • Doesn’t have purpose (just for fun)
  • Voluntary (it’s my choice)
  • Delights the soul
  • Freedom from time
  • I’m free to be me
  • Lots of improvising (unstructured)
  • I want to keep going

Being intentional about creating our own valuable opportunities for play can help us to renew our sense of optimism, open up to new possibilities, be advocates of living well in our communities – and be the best versions of ourselves.


Brown, Stuart.  MD.  Play. How it Shapes the Brain, Opens the Imagination, and Invigorates the Soul.  2010.  The Penguin Group.  New York, NY.

 summer playlist