Play

The purpose of play is play. Play might have positive side effects, such as physical activity, general well-being, creativity, or even some sort of formal or informal learning. But while you play, you do so with the purpose of playing. Play is related to aspects of our being, which adults may often prefer to understate or perhaps even hide. In a time when our efforts are measured by utility, tensions arise around children’s play, since play has no measurable outcome. Still, play continuously pops up in the lives of children and adults, crosscutting domains like media, literature, and education regardless of political and pedagogical paradigms.

The term play describes activities that are free of external purpose (OED). Play is autotelic, carrying its purpose in itself. Definitions of play emphasize its relation to bodily movements: play has to do with operations, with doings, and with practice, such as jumps …

This essay may be found on page 146 of the printed volume.

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