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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 or sleep."

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 "About Us":

"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 situation." 

www.instituteforplay.com

 
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