A Scholarly Blog on Play

As a like-minded play advocate, PlayCore is proud to partner with Dr. Stuart Brown on furthering the advancement of play and helping our world understand the critical importance of participating in play throughout life. Our work together thus far has resulted in several play concepts that promote attunement between family members, and we are honored to feature Dr. Brown as our Scholarly Writer in Residence, a role in which he will impart his wealth of knowledge through seminars, features, and a monthly blog. To learn more about his unique insight on play, we invite you to check out his informative blog, shown below.

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Why Play?

Because nature designed us to play. Because we are built to enjoy its nature-assured benefits, which are manifold and often subtle in their manifestations.

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Child And Dog Playing At Park

Human Play and Animal Play: Why We're More Similar Than You Might Think

Have you ever wondered why a yarn-ball romp with your kitty, or tug of war with your dog is so contagious and fun? And so good for you?

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January Adult Child Play

Neoteny: To play is deeply embedded in our human biological design.

Neoteny is the biological design in the genes for staying "young" despite getting older. This immaturity is retained through our design for lifelong PLAY.

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Group Of Friends Running Together At The Park

Play and movement, and “knowing” through movement

Movement play lights up the brain and fosters learning, innovation, flexibility, adaptability, and resilience.

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Attunement Single

Is there a beginning moment when play is recognizable?

Play actually begins to have an effect on a child even before birth, at least indirectly.

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Play For Seniors

Play for Seniors: A Health Mandate

Play is certainly a major part of everyone’s human nature, and within each of us resides an active or dormant play nature, able and waiting to be more fully activated!

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Boy Playing With Truck Single

Early Play Patterns as a Predictor of Life and Passion

Play patterns emerge early, and their hallmark is spontaneous glee.

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Kids Wrestling Play Single

Rough and Tumble Play - Is It Necessary?

In this blog post, we will focus on one pattern of play behavior, ROUGH AND TUMBLE PLAY, or as it is commonly referred to - PLAY-FIGHTING.

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About Dr. Brown

Trained in general and internal medicine, psychiatry, and clinical research, Dr. Stuart Brown enjoyed a playful childhood and the benefit of growing up in an era when children, when they weren’t in school or asleep, lived their lives independently engaged in play with their peers. As an adult, he pioneered studies on the importance of play through research on homicidal young males, and felony drunk drivers, finding a startling common thread in their stories: serious lack of play in childhood.

As his career progressed through roles as Asst Professor of Psychiatry at Baylor College of Medicine, Fellow in Psychiatric Research at Harvard’s McLean Hospital, Chief of Psychiatry at Mercy Hospital and Medical Center, and an Associate Professor at UCSD School of Medicine in San Diego, CA, Dr. Brown believed that play could be the key to discovering the full potential that is in everyone, but also that defining “play” would require more in-depth understanding of its essential nature. He was surprised that much of the play-related research he reviewed was fragmented and siloed. He also noted the absence of quantitative confirmation of clinical observations, not to mention a scientific and evidence-based way of understanding, and suggesting, how to improve play and give us all permission to play more.

Over his career, he documented thousands of in-depth personal play profiles irrefutably demonstrating the negative emotional and multi-sensory consequences associated with a play-deprived life. In addition, this work also confirmed that the active presence of ongoing play is present in the accomplishments of the very successful. 

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In 1989, upon leaving clinical medicine, he decided to pursue play in even greater depth. To gain insights, Dr. Brown turned to animal play research. Working with the National Geographic Society and Jane Goodall, he became acquainted with the premier animal play experts in the world, observed animal play in the wild, and began to understand play as a long-evolved behavior important for the well-being and survival of all animals. As a result of his extensive studies, Dr. Brown came to understand that humans are uniquely designed to enjoy and participate in play throughout life and launched the organization, the National Institute for Play, to promote the integral role play has in human development and overall well-being. He has written and lectured about play in numerous public and scholarly forums, has directed and produced several documentaries and learning series about play and similar topics for CBS, PBS, and BBC, and written the book Play: How It Shapes the Brain, Opens the Imagination, and Invigorates the Soul. 


About the National Institute for Play

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The National Institute for Play (NIFP) is a 501c(3) non-profit public benefit corporation committed to bringing the unrealized knowledge, practices, and benefits of play into public life. It is gathering research from diverse play scientists and practitioners, initiating projects to expand the clinical scientific knowledge of human play and translating this emerging body of knowledge into programs and resources which deliver the transformative power of play to all segments of society, so that people of all ages and abilities understand why remaining playful for life is critical for health and happiness. The National Institute for Play is led by its founder, Dr. Stuart Brown., a Board of Directors with extensive experience in the business, academic, professional sports and non-profit sectors, and a Council of Advisors consisting of distinguished, multidisciplinary scientists and play practitioners.