Serious Play

What is Play?

Many articles and books about play seldom provide a stringent definition, as what constitutes play for one person might not be identical for another. A definition put forth by Johan Huizinga, loosely translated, is as follows: "Play is a voluntary activity that occurs entirely consciously outside of 'ordinary life', characterized by being 'not serious', yet simultaneously captivating the player fully and intensely." Play frequently unfolds within set limits of time and space, adhering to mutually agreed-upon rules by the participants. The act of playing contributes to the growth of social interaction.

Characteristics of play

The founder of The National Institute for Play, Dr. Stuart Brown, in his book “Play”, presented seven characteristics of play to define play during a presentation to engineers.


Hidden value

Frequently, play is misconceived as being purposeless, stemming from the notion that it lacks a distinct objective. In actuality, though, it is through play that we acquire skills that may prove invaluable in the future.


Intrinsic Motivation

True play is not enforced by external forces; it emerges spontaneously. Play fulfills a need that doesn't have a tangible existence.



Playfulness is infectious and ignites enthusiasm. Observing others engage in play sparks a desire to join in. When you're fond of something, you become fully engrossed in the game, and this immersion is intimately connected to other accompanying aspects.


Self awareness

Engaged in play, we frequently lose track of our identity and surroundings, enabling us to inhabit diverse situations and roles. Amidst the game, other concerns fade into insignificance.


Time flies

We are fully engrossed in the game, akin to diminished self-awareness. Consequently, our perception of time also diminishes, occasionally leading to complete forgetfulness or the sensation that time swiftly passes by while engaged in play.



During play, improvisation becomes second nature. We find ourselves more open to experimentation and willing to take chances on unforeseen triumphs. The rules may undergo frequent alterations, and the structure of the game remains adaptable. Furthermore, we frequently introduce elements that might appear inconsequential at first glance.


Persistent Craving

We possess an intense desire to continue playing, reminiscent of how children respond when they are deeply engrossed in a game and are interrupted by a dinner call.

Play with your brain

The Strength of Play

Play is frequently mischaracterized as solely belonging to children, yet its significance extends to individuals of all ages. Even animals engage in play. Play offers a platform for skill development, free from the specter of danger, that may prove invaluable in the future. It molds our brains, enriches empathy, and stimulates cognitive faculties. It stands in stark contrast to monotony.

Yet, why is it that we cease to engage in play as we mature? For humans, generating such simulations can be the paramount benefit of play. While engrossed in play, we can envision and encounter situations that are novel to us, fostering learning. We have the capacity to fabricate possibilities that are yet to emerge but might become reality in the future. Through play, we establish fresh cognitive linkages that weave into our everyday existence. Lessons can be gleaned and skills honed without entailing immediate risk.

Engaging in LEGO® Play

Engaging in LEGO® Play

LEGO® Empowers You to Truly Build Anything. Combine this with over 90 years of expertise in premium play, as that's the literal significance of LEGO® in Danish. Furthermore, LEGO® has crafted appealing sets for educational use, alongside sets meticulously tailored for substantive applications in the corporate realm. Marketed under the banner of LEGO® Education, offerings cater to educational needs, fostering enjoyable and purposeful learning. A distinguished approach within this lineup is LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY®, a methodology that brings issues to life across diverse contexts and resolves them in a captivating manner.



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"Play is an activity that should never be taken too seriously."

Jacques Yves Cousteau

"In an hour of play, you uncover more about a person than in a year of conversation."


"We don't cease to play because we grow old; we grow old because we cease to play."

George Bernard Shaw

"Creativity is intelligence having fun." "Play is the most genuine form of exploration."

Albert Einstein

"Having the ability to toy with an idea without necessarily embracing it is a mark of an educated mind."


Source: Google – LEGO Foundation – National Institute for Play – 'Play' written by Stuart Brown, MD and 'Homo Ludens' written by Johan Huizinga.