The (rising) importance of play

The act of playing is essential to human nature. Part of the reason why is that playing allows us to learn more easily. And that is why it is such a shame that modern education is based predominantly on external motivators, argues Professor Rob Martens. In a society where (young) people experience increasing levels of pressure to perform, we should put more focus on play as a way to learn through intrinsic motivation, instead of through extrinsic rewards like grades and punishment. 

And even among adults you can see a growing need for playing. Possibly due to the emergence of the performance society, adults (or ‘kidults’) buying toys for themselves is currently the biggest source of growth for the toy industry. You can see brands like Lego already tapping into this trend by focusing strongly on older demographics through aesthetic building sets for Adults. The closing slogan even reads: “Adults welcome”.

How can you facilitate play at work or in people’s lives?