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Pudsey mum asks: “Will you take the ‘pledge to play’?” during week-long celebration of playfulness

Will you take the ‘‘pledge to play’, or do something fun? West Leeds community interest company Playful Anywhere announced today it was launching Love to Play 2021.

Playful Anywhere is a social enterprise with a mission to catalyse creativity, inventiveness and playfulness, wherever people work, live and travel.

Chief of play and Pudsey mum Emma Bearman is encouraging people to make the ‘pledge to play’ in any way that makes them feel playful during the week-long event between April 10 to 17.

It could be crafting with clay, doing keepy uppy’s with an orange, chalk drawing, pretending you’re Spiderman on your morning run, finding a sticky stick and making your mark, or dancing to Lizzo in the kitchen.

Although Emma says the event is being co-ordinated from the centre of the universe – Pudsey – it is designed to attract a global, if not intergalactic audience. She added:

“We’re on a mission to connect intergalactically. Aiming for the moon, the stars and mars. I want people to dust off an awful year and spring forth with a pledge to be more playful – starting now.

“The journey of life is hard enough right now, let alone if we all avoid the primal pleasures of being playful. Children need fresh air and freedom, to play with friends and so do adults, so it’s important that we still look for new and inventive ways to do that safely.

“I’m giving people permission to take a detour, hug a tree, toot some tunes, be daft, impish and have fun. Pledge to #LoveToPlay2021 and involve at least three others and spread the word safely across the city. Like a playful game of tig – you are it!”

The intergalactic ambitions of the playful prompting are supported by Leeds City Council.

The Love to Play website will be packed full of ideas, including programmed playful events in conjunction with Leeds City Council, and helpful resources to get people playing right where they are, and loving where they live.

Emma conceded that for many people the last 12 months have been really tough, but believes by reigniting our inner child we can start the process of recovery. She added:

“I want people to fire up their imaginative muscles, and allow themselves to dream a bit, come out of your shells, and celebrate the many ways we can play together, with very little money, just a little imagination.”

It has been scientifically proven that play helps adults on a number of health and wellbeing front. It can:

  • Relieve stress. Play is fun and can trigger the release of endorphins, the body’s natural feel-good chemicals. Endorphins promote an overall sense of well-being and can even temporarily relieve pain.
  • Improve brain function. Playing chess, completing puzzles, or pursuing other fun activities that challenge the brain can help prevent memory problems and improve brain function. The social interaction of playing with family and friends can also help ward off stress and depression.
  • Stimulate the mind and boost creativity. Young children often learn best when they are playing—a principle that applies to adults, as well. You’ll learn a new task better when it’s fun and you’re in a relaxed and playful mood. Play can also stimulate your imagination, helping you adapt and solve problems.
  • Improve relationships and your connection to others. Sharing laughter and fun can foster empathy, compassion, trust, and intimacy with others. Play doesn’t have to include a specific activity; it can also be a state of mind. Developing a playful nature can help you loosen up in stressful situations, break the ice with strangers, make new friends, and form new business relationships.
  • Keep you feeling young and energetic. In the words of George Bernard Shaw: “We don’t stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing.” Play can boost your energy and vitality and even improve your resistance to disease, helping you function at your best.

Pledge To Play

The ask is:

1) you/your organisation could pledge to play by saying the following on social media:

I #PledgeToPlay 10-17th April

Why don’t you pledge to play? Wherever you are in the world in the week of 10-17th April, share your plan with the hashtag #lovetoplay2021

Love to Play’s socials are @lovetoplay2021 and Insta LoveToPlay2021

2) If you have something you are already doing that week please do tag it #LoveToPlay2021

3) If you’d like to collaborate by putting on a special online participatory thing during that week for our programme that would be great! Anything daft, engaging, creative would be amazing.

4) Help us connect globally by directly playfully involving people you know to take part.

5) Do you know any astronauts, space station crew, or other people in touch with beings outside of the Earth’s orbit? Can we tag them too?

The event is supported by Leeds City Council, but powered by Playful Anywhere CIC and a team of Space Cadets, Crafternauts, Sea Farers, Landlubbers and Playful Pirates from across the UK and beyond.

Disclosure: Emma Bearman is a trustee at West Leeds Community Media, the social enterprise which runs West Leeds Dispatch.

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