It is well established now that when we are born, we interact and relate to our world through a "state of being" that is safe, loving, kind, spontaneous, non-competitive and non-judgmental. In this state, children feel totally loved and secure and have a sense of belonging to the world. Interacting to others in this state through play is the safest, kindest way of being in the world and what can be called innate play. Unfortunately, at a very young age children are taught "cultural play" and are deprived of innate play that keeps them whole, healthy and co-operative.
Young children who still have the instinctive, cellular awareness of innate play begin play as most animals do, with a specific sequence of safe interactions. It starts with a "look" that gives the receiver a feeling that you are safe and lovable. Then contact is initiated by the child from the hands inward and from the feet upwards. First contact can take a child a few seconds to several months depending on the individual. Like kittens, children use the body in play instead of toys.
What Is Innate Play?
Studies show that children who are encouraged and allowed to care for each other in safe loving ways are less likely to harm each other in the future. This state of innate play that young children teach us, brings to all who engage in it a sense of belonging and a feeling of being totally present and in the moment in a non-threatening way. The child experiences self-acceptance. This creates the strongest environment for learning as well as a sense of peace and self-awareness. One of the most powerful characteristics of innate play is that nothing ever happens which the child does not want or feel comfortable with.
Eleanor Cyrce developed the practice of innate play working over many years with hundreds of children, many of whom she has played with year after year. When innate play is re-introduced to young people, it supports them to be with one another in a way that is cooperative, non-violent and non-competitive. It provides an alternative to aggressive touch. It is well known that there is scientific proof that infants die without safe loving touch and movement. At all ages humans who don’t receive safe loving touch are at a much higher risk for disease, depression, isolation and violence.
Innate Play is a state of mind that can happen throughout the day within yourself, and with whomever or whatever you come in contact, including animals. Children are born into this state but are conditioned out of it by societal pressure.