What is play?
To play is to engage in an activity for enjoyment. The activity itself can be anything.
We refer to play as any leisure, recreation, or sport based activity which can be intrinsically motivating and fun regardless of its primary purpose for engagement. Through our services we expand the awareness of and motivation for play creating autonomy and explicit opportunity for play.
Who should play?
Oftentimes, we think play is for children, when in fact play is for everyone! Age, ability, needs, interests, and resources should never be a reason someone does not play.
Why should we play?
We all learn through play. Extensive research shows the benefits of play to be endless.
Play is an essential part to a child's development. Through play, children learn and practice skills as they explore the world around them. Play impacts the physical, intellectual, emotional, and social aspects of a child's development. Children develop and negotiate friendships, navigate diverse emotions, learn to take risks, and explore creative processes through play.
Play is just as important for adults. As we navigate life's most challenging moments, play acts as an outlet across the mental, emotional, physical, and social aspects of life. Through play, adults can connect with their youthful, more accepting selves in order to change their perspective in a situation. During play, adults are capable of being more comfortable with their own vulnerabilities, exploring their world and enhancing awareness of self and others.
Play is beneficial for an individual and the community in which they belong. It brings people together; to recognize, accept, and embrace one another. This brings a sense of belonging to individuals within a community. Play is the vehicle to guide social inclusion.
What barriers exist, limiting play?
Everyone has their own experience, however common barriers do exist.
There is a lack of awareness of its importance and strategies for prioritizing play. For children, there are academic expectations at school which supersede play while adults primarily experience the challenge of balancing one's work and family responsibilities with their own down time.
As a society we are driven by cultural and social norms. Assumptions and attitudes exist which limit play to children only and do not prioritize the need for play alongside education, work, and family. In certain communities, people with disabilities are not viewed as capable of play.
Tangible barriers exist. This could be limited finances, physical inaccessibility, lack of transportation, inadequate programming, or limited human resources connected to play.
Who does Platform to Play work with?
We believe everyone deserves a platform to play therefore we strive to work with all individuals, organizations, and communities near and far. We specialize in using play as a means for social inclusion of youth and adults with disabilities and play as a form of learning for professional development with schools, non-profit organizations, and community programs.
We also have some creative ideas to help bridge the gap and build a culture of play globally; no matter the organization type or development of the community!
What is Recreational Therapy?
According to NCTRC (National Council for Therapeutic Recreation Certification), "The purpose of the RT process is to improve or maintain physical, cognitive, social, emotional and spiritual functioning in order to facilitate full participation in life. Services are provided or directly supervised by a Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialist (CTRS)."
At Platform to Play we approach all of our services from the scope of a recreational therapist, using recreation and play as a means to achieve functional outcomes regardless if we are educating professionals through play or working directly with individuals and communities on their own play.
How is play used in Professional Development and Educational Training?
We maximize on the power of play. All professional development and educational training is designed from the lense of recreational therapy, using recreation based activities to achieve functional outcomes. We guide professionals through this process which encourages discussion and reflection from a new perspective.