The Importance of Creative Play

An online community has been challenging me to play more this summer and it has reminded me how important creative play can be for our mental well-being. I think physical play is important, but there is something about letting our creative juices flow that makes us feel more alive and removes (or at least reduces) the stresses in our lives. There are lots of ways to be creative and not all work equally well for all people. I love making music, but sometimes playing an instrument has added stress rather than relieved it. Painting is not something that interests me a lot, but working with words and images – now that is something I can lose myself in for hours at a time.

I have rarely met a person that doesn’t agree that children need time for creative play and there is much lamenting among adults I know that today’s kids don’t spend as much time in creative play as we did when we were children. However, there is a point when we stop allowing ourselves time for creative play and I think adults need it even more than children. I know many adults who manage to find an outlet with creative hobbies from knitting to cooking to woodworking, but often they justify the time spent on these hobbies by creating scarves for the homeless or quilts for their grandchildren. Why do we need to justify anything? Why can’t we just create something for the fun of it and simply for the pleasure of creation? I think more adults are experiencing this urge. I have friends who take painting classes or visit pottery workshops and there is apparently a rising interest in adult coloring books. Now that’s what I’m talking about – something fun and simple and creative that soothes your soul.

One of the things I hope to encourage with this web site is more fun simple creative word play. You can write longer pieces if you choose, but if you don’t want to today (or ever) that is OK, too. I recently had a lot of fun playing the simple #SharkBooks game. Read more about the game on but essentially it is a pun game where you adapt a real book to something sharky. Here are some examples of the puns I made with books on my desk:


bite-by-biteFrankly, I could have spent all day on this pulling books off my shelves and every time I visit the hashtag it makes me laugh.

Another clever game that I absolutely love was created by a friend (Margaret Simon) in the online community I mentioned above. She adapted the card game Apples to Apples to become a simple writing prompt. I love it and plan to steal the card game from my son so I can have it whenever I need a quick dose of word play. The Apples to Apples game inspired me to create my own word play game: the Muse Game. I played just today and came up with this easy found poem about my hometown Mt. Sterling, KY, but tomorrow I plan to use the Apples to Apples prompt because it will work well with my other newfound love of Tanka poems.

So spend some time playing with words today and every day! Share your word play using the #JustWrite hashtag.

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