January 28, 2021

20 Top Quotes on the “Power of Play”

Sam Caucci

You can learn anything from a game.

People don’t always realize it, but games are serious business. They’re used by doctors when learning to perform brain surgery, they’re used by navy seals and military pilots for top-tier training, they’ve been used to train contact tracers during the pandemic, and they’re used to teach students about subjects ranging from math to human trafficking prevention

And not to mention, they’re actually fun

Recently, someone (who clearly lacks a scientific understanding of how learning actually works) emailed us with the argument that training should not be fun. Here’s what they had to say:

“Forget that training is supposed to be fun… No trainee should come in thinking that training should be fun. The fun part totally destroys their expectation, as learning new things is exciting but not equivalent to fun.”


Honestly, we feel bad for this person who’s clearly never had a training experience that could qualify as fun, and now thinks all training is doomed to be boring and mundane. 

Let me be fair, it’s not all his fault. Other people share this point of view, because most people don’t know how learning works. Cognitive neuroscientists find that without play learning misses. They’ve discovered that play isn’t just a nice-to-have—it’s a must-have. Play is a necessary ingredient for learning.

Now take a moment to picture one of the most memorable days of your life.

I guarantee you didn’t think of that time you were forced to watch a three-hour training module from your desk. You probably thought of a time when you were doing something new, exciting, and fun. Because that’s how our brain (and memory) works: it does best when we’re challenging ourselves by playing, competing, and having fun.

But you don’t have to take it from me. You can take it from some of history’s top authors, world leaders, artists, and engineers, whose quotes on the power of play have shown generations of people how important play truly is.

So here are 20 top quotes from leaders in every industry on the power of play:

My top three QUOTES: 
  1. “You’ve achieved success in your field when you don’t know whether what you’re doing is work or play.” -Warren Beatty
  2. “A soldier will fight long and hard for a bit of colored ribbon.” – Napoleon
  3. “Work? It’s just serious play.” -Saul Bass
All of my QUOTES:
  • “Adults play too — or should.” -Julie Lythcott-Haims
  • “Play is our brain’s favorite way of learning.” -Diane Ackerman
  • “We are never more fully alive, more completely ourselves, or more deeply engrossed in anything than when we are playing.” -Charles Schaefer
  • “Do not keep children to their studies by compulsion but by play.” -Plato
  • “Whoever wants to understand much must play much.” -Gottfried Benn
  • “The opposite of play is not work. It’s depression.” Brian Sutton-Smith
  • “Children learn as they play. Most importantly, in play children learn how to learn.” -O. Fred Donaldson
  • “Children need the freedom and time to play. Play is not a luxury. Play is a necessity.” -Kay Redfield Jamison
  • “Play is training for the unexpected.” -Marc Bekoff
  • “There is for many a poverty of play.” -D.W. Winnicott
  • “We don’t stop playing because we grow old; We grow old because we stop playing.” -George Bernard Shaw
  • “Children need the freedom and time to play. Play is not a luxury. Play is a necessity.” -Kay Redfield Jamison
  • “It is paradoxical that many educators and parents still differentiate between a time for learning and a time for play without seeing the vital connection between them.” -Leo F. Buscaglia
  • “The creation of something new is not accomplished by the intellect but by the play instinct.” -Carl Jung
  • “Almost all creativity involves purposeful play.” –  Abraham Maslow
  • “Each player must accept the cards life deals him or her: but once they are in hand, he or she alone must decide how to play the cards in order to win the game.” -Voltaire
  • “People tend to forget that play is serious.” David Hockney

Did all of these quotes on the power of play make you want to stop reading and start playing?

Then you’re in luck! Share your favorite quote on Twitter by January 28th, tag @1huddle, and we will send you a VIP access code to 1Huddle’s Power of Play game, which has just been added to our new on-demand Game Shop.

Sam Caucci, Founder & CEO at 1Huddle

See Our Policy Plan

Check out our plan that outlines a position that we at 1Huddle fight for everyday; for every worker. 


RAISE Every Worker