“Mindful play is not just essential for kids; it can be an important source of relaxation and stimulation for adults as well,” says Katie Brisley-Logue, Deputy Executive Director for Brain Power Wellness, a school-based wellness company. Because it is a significant part of one’s well-being, here Brain Power Wellness reviews the benefits of mindful play for both adults and children and how best to incorporate mindful play into daily routines and educational settings.
What is mindful play?
Who better to engage in play than a child? Children are experts at play, and the act of play requires being in the present. Mindful play targets teaching the child and the parent how to be present in the moment using play activities.
Benefits for children
Children greatly benefit from engaging with mindful play as its activities stimulate creative problem-solving, trigger the release of endorphins and temporarily reduce pain, and develop empathy, compassion, and trust. Regular mindful play enhances a child’s attention span, guides better decision-making, and teaches how to calm oneself down when needed.
Benefits for adults
Adults engage in mindful play activities and observe its benefits during the Brain Power Wellness retreat. During the retreat, adult participants learn the benefits of mindful play, such as releasing one’s inner child while being mindfully in the present and allowing one’s mind to escape from daily stressors and relax. The additional benefits for an adult when they participate in mindful play with their child include loving a child simply as they are, finding out more about a child, and better connecting with the child. In the end, mindful play strengthens relationships between a parent and child.
There are different roles that an adult can serve when engaging in mindful play with a child. One is a more passive role, where the adult observes how a child interacts with play while withholding any judgment and keeping curiosity at the thought’s forefront.
When an adult takes an active role in a mindful play, it is critical to allow a child to take the lead consciously. Children are told what to do more frequently than not – allowing the child to guide the activity and share how to play forces a parent to be present with a child rather than the opposite way around. Children also often act on the first thought that comes to mind during play, so an adult must try and follow that same mindset, which leaves no room for overthinking.
Mindful play in daily routines
Busy schedules and limited time do not make cutting out daily time for mindful play easy, but that does not mean it is impossible. The first action a parent can take to make time for mindful play is to commit to one to two hours in the evening when all technology is turned off, such as cell phones, television, computers, and tablets. Another is to think about physical activities a child and parent could enjoy together, like walking, riding bikes, skating, playing tag outside, playing with objects in nature, swimming, swinging, or playing in the sprinklers.
About Brain Power Wellness
Brain Power Wellness is a holistic, school-based wellness organization that supports healthier, happier, more focused school environments. The mission of Brain Power Wellness is to help transform the culture of its partner schools through self-development, mindfulness, community building, retreats, SEL, holistic wellness, and brain training for teachers, students, parents, and administrators.