There is a great deal of work out there on the benefits of play, both for children and adults. Some of the best material I’ve found is by Dr. Peter Gray of Boston University. He has a series of articles for Psychology Today called The Value of Play that presents a scholarly look at how important play is in developing high-level reasoning and problem-solving skills.
I highly recommend reading the articles in their entirety, but for today I want to dwell on just a few pieces from the first article in the series: https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/freedom-learn/200811/the-value-play-i-the-definition-play-gives-insights
The first piece is in the article introduction:
“…play is not necessarily all-or-none. Play can blend with other motives and attitudes, in proportions ranging anywhere from 0% up to 100% percent play.”
And the second piece is:
“Play is self-chosen and self-directed; players are always free to quit.”
I feel like these two concepts have some interesting interaction with the concepts of employee engagement and “buy-in”. Give the article a read and let me know your thoughts.