Date of Completion


Document Type

Open Access Capstone

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

First Advisor

Nina Greenwald


In my first Critical and Creative Thinking course, I chose to explore singing and performing meaningful songs with my father as a form of creative thinking. This project led to the realization that, as an adult, I had forgotten what it was like to play. With this acknowledgement, I was prompted to explore underlying reasons for why my capacity to play was blocked in the first place. In doing so, I explored play theories and reflected on my own forms of play, as a basis for understanding how to successfully re-introduce play into my life. Through metacognitive reflection, this synthesis describes the journey to recapturing my creatively playful self - from the point of recognizing its loss, to identifying significant underlying blocks, to devising and applying effective strategies for removing them. Before my reflective journey could proceed, it was important to explore the complex meaning of play and its importance to both children and adults. Despite the many definitions and theories of play by Brannen, Csikszentmihalyi, Vygotsky, and others, I decided that to create a lifelong practice of play, I first would need to establish my own conception of creative play: one that involves an expression of music, dance, writing, and a reconnection with my childhood play. Next, I explored the importance of play, especially unstructured play in children, and its benefits. I discovered that there seems to be no reason why these same benefits, including increased intellectual, social, physical, and emotional capabilities, could not apply to adults as well. After this process of examination, I made a plan to actively play again through music, dance, writing, and my work as a communications professional, through a series of specific projects. Through weekly written reflections on playful projects, I describe the journey to rediscovering my ability to play. In my project, I explore how each of these experiences helped me to be myself again and overcome significant creative blocks, such as fear of failure, fear of being judged, and negative self-talk. In reconnecting with my own kind of creative play, new ways to keep it alive are discovered that will enrich my life beyond the Critical and Creative Thinking program. In addition, I hope to inspire others to find ways to reconnect with their own forms of play.


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