Performing Your World – How Imaginative Play Helps Us Grownups Get Unstuck

Kids love to play make-believe. When we talk about bringing back play as adults, this one seems like a stretch. Adults don’t play make believe, do we? Grownups don’t get together and announce that today we’re going to play Star Wars and you get to be Luke. Or do they? This week’s guest reminds us that the imaginative play that we engaged in as children gave us access to tools we can use throughout our entire lives. Imaginative play provides us with the opportunity to be agile and creative in our thinking – to see new paths, new scripts to follow when we start to feel stuck.

If you’re tired of carrying around that weight – of trying to meet everyone’s expectations and following the very serious grownup path we’re all supposed to, I invite you to meet Tony Perone, Ph.D., a lecturer at University of Washington, Tacoma. He teaches introductory psychology and human development courses. His incredibly lucky students have the opportunity to see what it’s like to peel back that layer of expectation and write new “scripts” for our usual mundane daily interactions. Even our conversation is playful and fun

Here’s an excerpt from Tony’s profile on the University of Washington website:

“I examine the self-reported meanings, presence and developmental and educational benefits of life-span imaginative play in the lives of adults. I interview adults about their imaginative play: their meanings of the words “imagination” and “play,” their self-reported engagement in imaginative play in their early childhood, elementary school years, adolescence and adulthood, its relationship with community practices and beliefs and their stance on how their imaginative play has helped them learn and develop. In addition, their experiences with imaginative play in their formal learning environments are discussed as well as their suggestions for the inclusion of imaginative play in formal schooling.

“I am a part of a larger international performance movement that draws upon and creates scholarship in psychology and the arts to support the presence and importance of play and performance across the lifespan. Members of this movement include urban, suburban, and rural youth, academics and practitioners such as teaching artists, therapists and community organizers. We believe in the presence and potential of play and performance, broadly construed and create practical performance opportunities for development across the lifespan to effect more humane, just and inclusive environments.”

So get ready to start thinking in some new ways – throw out your expectations and get ready for some serious fun.

Links:

• Learn more about Tony Perone, Ph.D. and his playful research on his UW Tacoma profile page
Freakonomics Podcast Episode with Trevor Noah
Improv Everywhere
Performing the World Conference
Eastside Institute

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