The art of cultivating well-being through play at any age
What was your favorite toy as a child? Mine was a pink lutu-lutuan (toy cookware) set that witnessed pretend parties and “cooking sessions” with my childhood best friend Em. Decades after, we laugh over fond memories of having tea with dolls and stuffed animals and acting like we were grownups.
Personally, toys or objects to play with have been a source of joy and delight from the earliest moments of childhood to the later stages of adulthood.
As a child, I vividly remember the excitement that would bubble up within me whenever I received a new toy. The colorful packaging, the anticipation of discovering what was inside of it, and the sheer joy of playing with my new treasure brought indescribable happiness. I believe a sense of gratitude was also planted in my heart early on as I still remember the people who gave me some of my most memorable toys.
Upon reflection, little did I realize that even as an adult, toys would continue to hold a special place in my heart. They provide moments of happiness and remind me of the importance of play for my inner child.
Looking back, toys transformed my world by fueling my imagination and nurturing my creativity. They allowed me to explore different roles and characters, invent stories, and bring my dreams to life. Those moments of imaginative play were a source of fun, transporting me to a world where anything was possible and where happiness was found in the simplest of things.
The same happiness can still be derived from playthings even as adults. Toys have the remarkable ability to improve the well-being of adults like us in various ways. They promote playfulness and provide a source of entertainment and relaxation. Engaging in play activates the brain’s reward system, releasing endorphins and reducing stress levels.
Playing with toys allows adults to tap into their imaginations, harnessing creativity, and providing a break from the demands of daily life. Whether it’s building with construction sets, solving puzzles, or engaging in board games, toys offer a playful outlet that can significantly enhance positive emotions.
Based on research, toys can also be beneficial for promoting cognitive function and maintaining mental sharpness in adults. Many toys, such as brain teasers, strategy games, and puzzles, require problem-solving skills, critical thinking, and memory recall. Regularly engaging in these activities stimulates the brain and helps to improve cognitive abilities.
Additionally, playing with toys that involve fine motor skills, such as model kits or crafting projects, can enhance hand-eye coordination and dexterity. These brain and motor challenges contribute to mental stimulation.
Lastly, toys can foster social connections and provide opportunities for adult social interaction.
Whether it’s participating in tabletop role-playing games, joining a hobby club, or attending collector conventions, toys often serve as a common ground for individuals to connect and bond over shared interests. These social interactions can combat loneliness and isolation, promoting a sense of belonging and emotional stability. Some toys and games encourage teamwork, communication, and problem-solving skills.
Toys offer numerous benefits for the well-being of adults. They provide a source of entertainment and relaxation, stimulate brain function, and promote social connections. Through engaging with toys, adults get to embrace their playful side, exercise their minds, and connect with others who share their interests. Sometimes, merely looking at toy collections increases positive emotions.
The happy feelings attached to them can make adults’ hearts sing. Adults can experience increased happiness, reduced stress, and an overall improved sense of well-being.
If you’re a toy enthusiast or just a kid at heart, it’s the time of the year to meet toy collectors, creators, and cosplayers. Check out and celebrate 20 years of TOYCON PH at the SMX Convention Center in Manila from July 7 to 9.
For your random thoughts, e-mail the author at email@example.com. — Kate Adajar
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