Why Play is Important

Play and games are not just important to children and young people but to all people everywhere, and this is why we are using them in this project.  

In a book called Homo Ludens, Johan Huizinga (1872 – 1945) was one of the first people to argue that play is an important part of adults’ social and cultural lives.

This book was first published in Dutch in 1938. The title is in Latin. Translated into English, this means Man Plays.

Since then, a lot more people have written books on play, games, playfulness and fun.  Although they don’t all necessarily agree with each other, they do all agree that play and games are important to people everywhere.

Cartoon of a pile of books

Some interesting things about play

It is voluntary – you only join in if you want to

It challenges us – in his book The Grasshopper, Bernard Suits describes a game as ‘the voluntary attempt to overcome unnecessary obstacles’!

It is uncertain – the outcome is unpredictable

It involves failing – we don’t have to win

It builds community – it can help us to work together

It can help us solve problems – and to learn as we do this