Fancy hav­ing some grown-up fun?

Why play is so im­por­tant, re­gard­less of age

7 Days in Dubai - - FRONT PAGE - cait­

Re­mem­ber when you were a kid, and you’d be play­ing with your toys - and not have a care in the world? It was a sim­pler time, less stress, more hap­pi­ness, and plenty of play time. So when did it all change?

With the emer­gence of adult colour­ing books in the past 12 months, tram­po­line ware­houses, and an in­creas­ing ap­petite for nov­elty con­cepts, it’s al­most as though adults are look­ing to re­vert back to child­hood.

That’s ex­actly what’s hap­pen­ing at the Soul Art Cen­tre in Down­town Dubai to­day, where there’s a work­shop on un­leash­ing your in­ner child - in­clud­ing mu­sic, arts, paints and dance.

It’s about cov­er­ing your­self in paint, danc­ing and let­ting your­self go.

Or­gan­iser and mod­er­a­tor, Flordeliza Pe­si­gan ex­plains: “These ac­tiv­i­ties that I fa­cil­i­tate al­low adults to heal from dif­fer­ent stuck emo­tions; es­pe­cially the un­ex­plored child within. Hu­mans are de­signed to keep some child­like in­no­cence, cu­rios­ity, care­less­ness, creativ­ity and the free­dom to have a joy­ful life - oth­er­wise we lose ac­cess to the heart, we stay in the mind and we don't really live.

“As adults, many are car­ry­ing this sup­pressed child in­side and need an un­re­stricted free­dom of ex­pres­sion help to tackle it.”

The phi­los­o­phy of adult-play is one of im­por­tance in men­tal health, and stress man­age­ment.

Naser Al Riyami, psy­chol­o­gist at Change­works Abu Dhabi, ex­plains: “Play has been shown to be the main mech­a­nism of learn­ing, and stress relief for us as hu­man be­ings. When you’re play­ing, you go into an in­ter­nal imag­i­na­tive world. It shifts your fo­cus in­ter­nally, and it al­lows you to ex­er­cise your creativ­ity - and ex­er­cise your play­ful­ness. It’s a form of stress re­duc­tion, and it boosts our im­mu­nity.”

Al Riyami ex­plains how dif­fer­ent forms of play yield dif­fer­ent ben­e­fits: “Sport has the added ben­e­fit of phys­i­cal ac­tiv­ity. Then you have the boardgames, card games - so­cial games you play with friends – they have the so­cial as­pect, and that helps build re­la­tion­ships.

“Then you have the pre­tend games, just play­ing pre­tend - like hav­ing high tea with your seven-year-old princess. That ex­er­cises imag­i­na­tion, creativ­ity, and builds that re­la­tion­ship with your chil­dren… though it doesn’t need to be just for chil­dren.” Go play, how­ever you see fit.

HANG­ING OUT: Un­leash your spirit at the work­shop to­day 4pm. See soulart­cen­

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