Our mobile devices have become a natural extension of our daily lives. The average person living today has
access to more information in one day than our ancestors encountered in a lifetime. But sometimes we feel
like we're losing touch with something equally important: a sense of play.
Playground Society challenges you to develop the habit of play, using your own powers of observation and
the technology already in your pocket. It welcomes you to a community of people making playful connections
together. And it takes as little as two minutes a week.
Are you ready to play? Check out the brief instructions below, then follow @PlaygroundSociety on Instagram
to get started on your first Play Mission!
Three times a month, a new Play Mission is posted to @PlaygroundSociety on Instagram. Play Missions are
designed to offer two things:
1) A prompt or parameters to get players thinking, and
2) The freedom for each player to interpret the mission in his or her own way.
For example, the Play Mission #psStack is a straightforward prompt to think about stacking things in a playful way.
But what things? Rocks? Laundry? Sushi rolls? Your roommates? And how will you stack them?
When you decide to accept a Play Mission, you can interpret it however you like. Just snap a picture of the result
(your pencil sharpener stacked on top of your sandwich stacked on top of your dog?) and share it to Instagram
with 2 hashtags, #PlaygroundSociety and the mission hashtag.
You can participate in as many or as few Play Missions as you like. If you’re feeling inspired, you can even do
the same Mission multiple times. And you can always see how other players are responding to the same Missions
you’ve completed by searching the Mission hashtag.
Then, if you’re the kind of person who’s motivated by a little friendly competition, we also choose Fav's and post
them to the homepage.
For awhile we were awarding points and keeping a Leader Board...but...not anymore.
Now we just choose FAV's, as you can see on the homepage if you scroll down.
Points are awarded for simply posting Missions. Post as many responses as you like, but you only get 10 points per mission, that is unless....YOU WIN!
Winning missions get an additional 10 points.
Of course, the more posts you make for a mission the more likely you are to win.
What's a winning mission look like?
The best posts for Playground Society are images or video showing you or your friends or family doing some playing. All posts are great, but aside from exceptionally playful photographic compositions, we're looking for evidence that you took the Play Mission, actively played, and snapped a fun picture to share with the communty.
"Play. It is an activity which proceeds within certain limits of time and space, in a visible order, according to
rules freely accepted, and outside the sphere of necessity or material utility. The play-mood is one of rapture
and enthusiasm, and is sacred or festive in accordance with the occasion. A feeling of exaltation and tension
accompanies the action."—Johan Huizinga, Homo Ludens
"It's the things we play with and the people who help us play that make a great difference in our lives."
—Fred Rogers, Mister Rogers' Neighborhood
Einstein. Plato. Confucius. Jung. Emerson. Picasso. And yes, Mister Rogers. All of them acknowledged the
importance of playfulness in daily life. When people enjoy what they are doing, no matter what it is, there is
often an element of play involved. We've all felt the sense of energy and flow that comes with losing ourselves
in a playful moment. We don't need research to tell us that play is awesome. But research is increasingly
demonstrating that playful behaviors and attitudes are frequently at the core of innovation, creativity, attention,
effective problem solving, mental health, altruism, interpersonal success, and more. (For a great introduction
to some of these ideas, check out this TED Talk by Stuart Brown.)
Playground Society is about play for play’s sake, but once you try it, you may discover that it's about a whole
lot more! But don't take our word for it. Here are a few other thinkers' thoughts on the subject:
“Play is the highest form of research.” – Albert Einstein
“The playing adult steps sideward into another reality; the playing child advances forward to new stages of
mastery.” – Erik H. Erikson
As we play, we can also open ourselves to the exploration of our edges, always creating new adventures
of self-exploration as we let go of old out-dated beliefs about ourselves. ― Judith-Annette Milburn
“You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation.” ― Plato
“This is the real secret of life -- to be completely engaged with what you are doing in the here and now.
And instead of calling it work, realize it is play.” ― Alan Watts
Please feel free to contact me for any reason. I especially invite suggestions for Play Missions
and ideas about improving Playground Society. Along with Instagram, you can also follow
along on Facebook and Twitter.
Scott Wayne Indiana
symplvision @ gmail.com