The playfulness of children and adults is an important part of being human. Spontaneity and fun are basic human emotional needs, and are also means by which children and adults bond and learn. Children play with toys, act out stories, just generally let loose. Adults, too, play — or most do. Here are some quotations about play and playfulness — general playing, playing music, playing games.

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Almost all creativity involves purposeful play.

— Abraham Maslow

Here is the vicious circle: if you feel separate from your organic life, you feel driven to survive; survival — going on living — thus becomes a duty and also a drag because you are not fully with it; because it does not quite come up to expectations, you continue to hope that it will, to crave for more time, to feel driven all the more to go on.

— Alan Watts

This is the real secret of life — to be completely engaged with what you are doing in the here and now. And instead of calling it work, realize it is play.

— Alan Watts

It is interesting that Hindus, when they speak of the creation of the universe do not call it the work of God, they call it the play of God, the Vishnu lila, lila meaning play. And they look upon the whole manifestation of all the universes as a play, as a sport, as a kind of dance — lila perhaps being somewhat related to our word lilt.

— Alan Watts, Zen and the Beat Way

To stimulate creativity one must develop childlike inclination for play and the childlike desire for recognition.

— Albert Einstein

God does not play dice.

— Albert Einstein

Combinatory play seems to be the essential feature in productive thought.

— Albert Einstein

You have to learn the rules of the game. And then you have to play better than anyone else.

— Albert Einstein

If you’re not having fun, you’re doing it wrong.

— Alex Borgusky

Learn to live well, or fairly make your will;
You’ve play’d, and lov’d, and ate, and drank your fill;
Walk sober off, before a sprightlier age
Comes titt’ring on, and shoves you from the stage.

— Alexander Pope

No child should ever be too sad to play.

— Andrew Galasetti

Hard work gives time to play harder, and smile at ease.

— Anthony Liccione

The supreme accomplishment is to blur the line between work and play.

— Arnold J. Toynbee

All my growth and development led me to believe that if you really do the right thing, and if you play by the rules, and if you’ve got good enough, solid judgment and common sense, that you’re going to be able to do whatever you want to do with your life.

— Barbara Jordan

A child loves his play, not because it’s easy, but because it’s hard.

— Benjamin Spock

It is neither work nor play, purpose nor purposelessness that satisfies us. It is the dance between.

— Bernard De Koven

On the one hand we have the playing mind — innovative, magical, boundless. On the other is the gaming mind — concentrated, determined, intelligent. And on the hand that holds them both together we have the notion of playing well.

— Bernard De Koven

Without this playing with fantasy no creative work has ever yet come to birth.

— Carl Jung

The creative mind plays with the object it loves.

— Carl Jung

The debt we owe to the play of the imagination is incalculable.

— Carol Jung

Don’t play the saxophone. Let it play you.

— Charlie Parker

It is better to play than do nothing.

— Confucius

One aspect of play is the importance of laughter, which has physiological and psychological benefits. Did you know that there are thousands of laughter clubs around the world? People get together and laugh for no reason at all!

— Daniel H. Pink

Bart Giamatti did not grow up (as he had dreamed) to play second base for the Red Sox. He became a professor at Yale, and then, in time . . . president of the National Baseball League. He never lost his love for the Boston Red Sox. It was as a Red Sox fan, he later realized that human beings are fallen, and that life is filled with disappointment. The path to comprehending Calvinism in modern America, he decided, begins at Fenway Park.

— David Halverstam

People tend to forget that play is serious.

— David Hockney

Play is our brain’s favorite way of learning.

— Diane Ackerman

In rare moments of deep play, we can lay aside our sense of self, shed time’s continuum, ignore pain, and sit quietly in the absolute present, watching the world’s ordinary miracles.

— Diane Ackerman

It is in playing and only in playing that the individual child or adult is able to be creative and to use the whole personality, and it is only in being creative that the individual discovers the self.

— Donald Woods Winnicott

Cricket to us was more than play,
It was a worship in the summer sun.

— Edmund Blunden

Humor is by far the most significant activity of the human brain.

— Edward de Bono
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