This quote on a wall at the National Museum of Play in Rochester, NY reminded me of a story I heard about Dr. Seuss.
Sometimes, when he needed an idea or when his agent thought it was time for a new book, Dr. Seuss would open a closet that was filled with hats. Then he and his agent would pick out a hat, put it on, assume characters they thought would be likely to wear such hats… and then they would play.
They would keep at it, playing long into the night if necessary, until they found an idea and created a rough sketch for a book. Then Dr. Seuss would get to work and write the book.
Thus, many of the playful Dr. Seuss books began as purposeful play.