It’s Our Turn to Play !!!
Sitting in a circle of chairs in a large, open room, sunlight pouring in from the windows, I take some deep breaths to relax, observe. My prim suit exudes corporate-confidence.
The other chairs are occupied by twenty people from a local social service nonprofit. Some are smiling, some squirming, some look downright terrified. They have come for a ‘playshop,’ — as directed by their HR person. I can almost see the thought clouds over their heads: What’s a playshop? I could be playing with my dog. Wouldn’t that be the same thing? I wish I were anywhere but here. What on earth is she going to make us do?
It is my job — my pleasure — to put them at their ease. There’s only one way to do that: make a fool out of myself right off the bat. They will laugh and, more importantly, they will know they can relax a little bit. It won’t kill you to look foolish.
I begin with the important information (exits & bathrooms) and expectations (join in, but if you’re uncomfortable, you’re welcome to sit out and join back in later). I give the pitch for play and laughter (it’s medically proven to improve health and well-being). Then, without further ado, I begin to strip off my prim corporate attire. Eyes bulge, more squirming, some ogling. And then … ta dah! They see that I’m wearing brightly colored pants and t-shirt underneath. As I pull out my gold lamé sneakers, I can feel the atmosphere shift. It’s our turn to play!
I wrote It’s Our Turn to Play!!! after leading playshops for ten years for different groups, organizations and for people with different abilities. With professional organizations it was framed as ‘team building’. For others it was promoted as ‘connecting with your inner child’ and having fun.
I explain how and why one might create a playshop and the stages of play that children evolve through that I replicate in a playshop. There are activity suggestions for each stage of play as well as troubleshooting if things go belly up.
Interested? Let me know, and I’ll send you a copy of my book.