The Institute for Play was founded by Dr. Stuart Brown, who is "very serious
about play," which he believes is as important for our health "as vitamins
Early in his medical practice, Dr. Brown became convinced that "healthy,
varied play in childhood is absolutely necessary for the development of empathy,
social altruism and ... that play needs to be prioritized into our businesses,
educational and family systems". He is concerned about the influence of
television programming and over-organized child activity that "diminish
parent-child play" and "flood the child with stimuli that do not provide
joyful participant learning."
The Institute for Play has created The PBS series "The Promise of
Play", and the site provides information on purchasing videos of the shows.
The site includes insightful articles on play personalities, the importance of
play, playing to learn, playing at work, learning trust, preventing violence, and
play deprivation. A list of speakers and consultants is also provided.
The following is excerpted from a statement by the founder on the page
"Take a moment to imagine a world where no one plays. In that world we
would work, eat, sleep, do chores, exercise, and interact with others, but we
would not play. No kids games, no adult games, no sports, no tag, no hopscotch, no
hide and seek, no dolls, no kids fairy tales, no movies like The Matrix or The
Full Monty, and no jokes or comedy. Only work and meeting our survival needs. How
would you feel after a week like that? After a year? After a lifetime?
"Now imagine a world where everyone plays regularly, freely, creatively,
and joyfully. In this world we would work and sometimes play at work. We would
eat, sleep, do chores leavened with play, tell jokes, dance, go to the beach, play
sports, play Rummy with the kids, go to plays, and so on. How would you feel after
a week like that? After a year? After a lifetime?
"The differences between these two imagined worlds are enormous. Whether
or not you can list the differences, you can feel them. No play means continuous
tension and stress, without counterbalancing joy and pleasure. Adding play
releases tension and stress, and gives joy and pleasure. You begin to see why play
is vitally important. At present, play is poorly understood and underused as a
positive force in the world. I believe an Institute for Play can alter this