What happens when you play more

Would you like to be more creative, less stressed, grow brain cells, have a different experience of time and be sexier? If you answered yes, then read on...

What is play?

The play offers a sense of engagement and pleasure, takes the player out of a sense of time, and the experience of doing it is more important than the outcome. In other words, it is purposeful on its own. What I particularly like about this definition by a long-term-play-enthusiast PhD Stewart Brown is that playing gives us a different experience of the sense of time. A different sense of time? That’s almost like magic!

Why should we play more?

Deep in the jungles of Congo lives a rare egalitarian and empathetic society! The Bonobo monkeys. Dr Isabel Behncke spent time learning about this peaceful community and saw that what they do differently is - playing daily! Observing the Bonobos Isabel found that:

Play helps us be more resilient

'Play is our adaptive wildcard', Isabel says. What does that mean? In times of uncertainty, especially like the ones we are experiencing right now, play is a proven approach to take on the crisis. It helps us adapt faster in face of difficulties.

Play connects us

A second thing that Isabel found is that play is about connecting and encouraging tolerance. It gives us the diversity of interactions and helps us learn to create rules and trust.

It’s a game of curiosity and increased creativity

Finally, play is all about diversity of behaviours and connections and as such it empowers creativity. It's a game of exploration and it helps us connect new and old ideas. This was also a dominant finding from our Pilot testers, who shared how playing games at Playground served as an inspiration and a seed for their next projects.

Side effects of playing

If learning from Bonobos didn't impress you, here are some other interesting side-effects of playing:

  • Playing makes us smarter – it stimulates the growth of brain cells & increases memory

  • It reduces stress and contributes to overall wellbeing

  • Increases the sense of belonging

  • It helps us to learn how to deal with life and is therapeutic

  • How about some extra cognitive growth and flexibility?

  • It attracts the opposite sex ;)


..play is my connection to the unimaginable. Apart from offering a world of possibilities, it is a helpful mindset that transforms tasks I don't like into exciting challenges. It provides a different angle on how to approach a problem and serves as a reminder to not take life too seriously.

Do you want to play more but need some ideas? While we are working on suggestions, you can check out some secret messages left by strangers on Playground 👈.