Some time ago, on Jz's blog, she mused about play (in the BDSM sense) and playfulness, how it figures in people's lives, and whether this is a need or a want. She was, I think, following a train of thought started by Vesta, so there is some interest out there in this seemingly very un-serious subject. At the time, I think I came down on the side of feeling like play was a want, not a need.
More recently, I was listening to a radio show about play, but of a much more generic nature. The interviewee was the head of the National Institiute for Play. Who knew such a thing existed? Turns out that there is evidence that play is in fact a need, and not just among children. He cited research into the benefits of play in adulthood: beyond providing joy, relaxation, etc., play also enhances, among other things, adaptability, problem solving skills, intellectual flexibility, empathy, and a sense of irony. All of these seem like good things to me, well - I love irony, but I'm not quite clear on why it may be important. But it turns out that play is good for you.
I'm kinda new to the particular variety of play of which Jz had been speaking, but the NIFPlay talks about 7 types of play and all 7 seem to fit. "Attunement play" involves things people do to get "in tune" with each other; "body play and movement", "object play", and "imaginative and pretend play" probably don't need an explanation; "social play" involves something called 'rough and tumble play'... nuff said; "storytelling-narrative play" is what so many do so well here on these internet 'pages'; and "transformative-integrative and creative play" is that which takes it all to a whole new plane.
So, eat your veggies, take your vitamins, and play - it's good for you!