Pub. date: 2009 | Online Pub. Date: May 18, 2009 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412971935 | Print ISBN: 9781412966702 | Online ISBN: 9781412971935| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Psychological Benefits of Play
Michael John Apter
It has become increasingly recognized that play is essential for a full, healthy, and creative life. There is even a (U.S.) National Institute for Play, set up to study and promulgate these benefits. Various psychological advantages have been claimed over the years by different researchers and practitioners. These include especially the role of play in learning, its encouragement of creativity, its use in therapy, and its protection against stress. If learning is undertaken as a form of work, it can be experienced as an unwelcome chore, and avoided wherever possible. Such learning, where it occurs, will tend to be repetitious and involve rote learning. It will also tend to be mechanical and superficial. However, if it is experienced as a kind of play, then it will be entered into with joyful gusto, cherished and prolonged. It will also tend to be creative. A whole tradition in education—known as progressive education—is ...