Think about the sounds that you love most. The sound of laughter is probably high on the list, especially the sound of a child giggling.
Somehow, as we grow up, we forget how to play. It starts at school. There’s a certain pressure to be serious, to buckle down and get the work done, to pass tests. Then, you become aware that life can actually be quite hard. You may have to work in a job you don’t like, you have the pressure of keeping a roof over your heads, food on the table and taking care of a family. Everything becomes pretty serious.
I had a dawning realisation that life doesn’t have to be this way. That recapturing playfulness could make life better. For example, studies have shown that being playful speeds up learning, increases productivity and job satisfaction and helps build relationships. I made a decision that I would try to bring joy back into life. I started looking into “How to be Playful” and “The benefits of play” and discovered that this is a vast area, backed by studies and research, by psychology and sociology. I’m only beginning to scrape the surface. I wanted to share the adventure on my journey towards playfulness… and that’s what The Playful Way is all about. I’m going to learn as much as I can about play and I’m going to attempt to apply principles of playfulness to my life and share them with parents, educators and business bosses as I go.
Welcome to The Playful Way.
Principles of The Playful Way
To begin with, before getting into the research, here are a few key principles of play:
- Playfulness doesn’t mean that you are frivolous or treat life’s problems as insignificant – it means that you take them seriously but look for fun in the ways we deal with them.
- Playfulness doesn’t mean that you are silly or annoying (though for those who have lost playfulness it can seem that way… persevere, they will see the light). Playfulness means that you find fun in tasks which might otherwise be boring – play a word game while queueing, do some creative people watching while waiting for the bus etc. It means that you look on the bright side and try to bring joy and lift the spirits of yourself and those around you. Take time to explore the world and find the joy in it.
- Play is not simply the absence of work. Play and leisure are different things.
- It’s important to remember that play should never be hurtful. As I tell my children – “if it isn’t fun for everybody involved then it isn’t playing.” So jokes at the expense of others’ feelings are not appropriate. Playfulness is about laughing, making others laugh and unleashing creativity.
- Play is about creativity and whimsy.
I’d like to invite you to join me on my journey to The Playful Way. To invite play back into your life.
I’m a qualified teacher and experienced writer and adult trainer and I’ll be offering courses in parenting and teaching playfully. I’d love you to sign up here to receive regular updates so you don’t miss out.