Category Archives: Playfulness

How I got to speak at TEDx

For 3 years I had a dream of speaking at TED or a TEDx event. Last month I got my 15 minutes of stage at TEDxTallaght in Dublin. Some people ask me how I got in…and here’s my answer. More and more TEDx events invite speakers to send in their idea, either in text or in a short video. So did TEDxTallaght. Here’s the little video that I made that got me in ūüôā

I can highly recommend using Imaginative Play for whatever goal you have in your life. It may take 3 years before it becomes reality…in the end you can say; I did it anyway ūüėČ

Annemarie Steen

PS Having a good friend (thank you Padraig) close to the organizing committee also had a positive influence on the decision.

You’re more than welcome to join my Licence to Play community for inspiration and resources on playfulness & playful learning.

Click on “What happens when you press Play” to see the actual TEDx talk

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TEDxTallaght I What happens when you press PLAY I Annemarie Steen

From Playing the Game of Seriousness, it’s now time for playing a different game: The Game of SeriousLESS…and to allow and welcome our authentic and playful selves to come back to the surface. Not only at home, but especially at work. Besides the fact that this will increase our mental health and sense of well-being, it will also bring us vital lifeskills to deal with today’s fast changing and complex world.

You’re welcome to join¬†my¬†playful community¬†to get updates, inspiration and resources on Playfulness & Playful Learning.

Playfully yours,

Annemarie Steen

My personal experience doing a TEDx talk (in Dublin)

Annemarie Steen at TEDxTallaght

Annemarie Steen at TEDxTallaght

One day before my TED talk at TEDxTallaght in Dublin I was visiting a local pub. An alcoholic toothless guy (his name was Dan), came up to me and asked me “Where are you from?” And ofcourse I replied with “I’m from The Netherlands, I live in Eindhoven area”. And I asked him the same question: “Where are you from?” And his reply was: “Earth”. I laughed and we started talking. He said “the moment we say where we are from, we distinct ourselves from others, while the earth is such a tiny place in the total universe”. And I thought he’s absolutely right. We are all earthlings.

Last minute, I changed the start of my TED talk based on this idea and my starting sentence became: Hello, my fellow earthlings ūüėČ

Later in our conversation he said: “So you PLAY with people all around the world, AND get paid for it? That sounds like the best job in the world!” And I replied with a big smile: YES!

My biggest fear was that my time (15 min) was too limited to tell my story AND get the audience up and invite them to leave their comfortzone (Play is something very scary for adults) and enter their playzone. Play is an experience product. I invited the audience to experience ¬†5 different types of play; object play, imaginative/pretend play, movement play, creative play and social play. And looking at the faces…it went gr8! (pictures by @rocshot)

tedxtallaght

tedxtallaghttedxtallaght

Now, it’s waiting for the video to be released…(3-4 weeks).

If you want to have the first look…you’re welcome to follow/like my facebookpage.

Wish you a playful day!

Annemarie Steen ūüôā

Are Estonians Happy?

Previously I wrote a blogpost “The two faces of Estonians” about my experience with Estonian people. They tend to believe, that they are a very serious and more introvert type of people, especially when at work. In their private life and at weekend parties they dare to show their other, more playful side.

Happy in TallinnRecently I was invited by some Happy Estonians to help them make a Happy in Tallinn music video from Pharrell Williams’ hit song, after making a Happy in Eindhoven one in my own hometown. It was my role to invite the people to dance and act playful to the music while we were filming. Sometimes a bit shy at first but quickly loosening up to the music, we shot the video in two amazing days. The video was released 3 weeks ago and already got almost 20.000 views.

Some of the reactions of Estonians to the video were;

These are not real Estonian people, these are actors and it is fake. We don’t show our happiness this openly.

For me I see this as a big compliment. Apparently I was capable of bringing their playful side out in front of the camera. And I’m very proud of the result. I know for a fact that Estonians are Happy! They just need a little bit of encouragement to show it…But then again; don’t we all?

Enjoy the video:

With playful greetings,
Annemarie Steen

You’re more than welcome to get updates on my projects and resources about playfulness and playful learning by following my facebookpage.

Explosion of Happy video’s on youtube…and I couldn’t resist making one too.

Happy in Eindhoven1682 video’s from 142 countries! (at this moment) Have a look at this impressive list of cities that have done a Happy video clip on the hit song “Happy” from Pharrell Williams.

When I looked at this list two months ago, I say that Eindhoven, my city was not in the list. And I decided to be the one to change that fact. Why? Because I love to see people playful, spontaneous, a little crazy and daring to step out of their comfort zone. And this seemed to be the perfect chance to invite them to do just that. So, I started a facebookgroup and invited people of my hometown to join the project. I asked them on what special location in Eindhoven they wanted to have their 30sec ‘of fame’ to do a little dance. A week before the shoot I made a planning of all locations and posted this on the group.

The day itself (April 19th) everything went awesome. We were lucky to have perfect weather, everybody was at their locations in time, all very happy, some even rehearsing with a large group of friends they brought along. The youngest was 5 years old, the oldest 88! We (Me, Mike with his videocamera and Aikje with her photo camera) were shooting from 10am until 9pm, visiting 15 different locations. I was also very lucky to find a sponsor for the editing, because I have no expertise in that area. Ad Mulders did a gr8 job.

And here’s the end result! Enjoy!

When your city is not in the list (yet), I can highly recommend to make one yourself. You get a lot of happy vibes from doing it. Good luck!

Playful Greetings,

Annemarie Steen

For more updates on Playfulness & Playful Learning, follow my Facebookpage

 

Play, Playfulness & Playful Learning

What’s the difference or relation between Play, Playfulness & Playful Learning?

I’ll try to explain how I see it (at¬†this moment).

violinPlay is an act, something that we (can) do. We can play with objects, play a game, play tennis or the violin, play a role, etc. Scholars say that Play has these following traits; “PLAY must be intrinsically motivated, you must be free to play (it has no utilitarian function), you don‚Äôt know the outcome, it is outside your ordinary life and it must be fun.” (Gwen Gordon)

play, playfulness bookPlayfulness on the other hand¬†is not an act, but rather something that we are. It’s (as Bernie deKoven mentiones) inherited. It’s in our nature to be playful. And nature in itself is playful (Alan Watts). Bateson describes Playfulness as a positive moodstate, from where the act of playful play starts. It’s this moodstate that we see in young children much more often than in adults, who are told to act serious instead of playful.¬†Only when we are really happy, in love or a bit typsy on alcohol, we cannot hide our playfulness anymore. It breaks through the surface of ‘behaving’ and reveiles itself as a¬†force of our¬†nature. No doubts: We ARE¬†playful.

Some Play-practicioners,¬†like Bernie de Koven,¬†choose the path of purposeless play in the sense that pure play shouldn’t¬†have a purpose or goal. It’s the act of play itself that’s fun and rewarding.

In Playful Learning things are a bit different. Learning games and experiences are designed to meet certain learning objectives. So it’s not play in itself that’s the goal, but the learningobjective is. In this case, Playful Learning is a mean towards reaching a desired outcome. This in itself¬†seems to contradict with the ‘you don’t know the outcome’ of play.

I am passionate about Play AND Learning. So I develop playful experiences connected to objectives that are important to my clients. For example, a client asked me to deliver training to improve their performance at a businessfair. I designed games and exercises to raise awareness about groupenergy, connecting to strangers using status, collaboration, daring to ask for an order, etc. The client was surprised and delighted at how effective the team worked together (just after 2 sessions of 0,5 day) and delivered a peakperformance.

For me the learning that comes out of the playful exercises is more natural and much more powerful and longerlasting than traditional training. The participants are invited to make sense of their personal experiences, thus creating individual learning with¬†possibly very different outcomes for different people. It’s teachless teaching in the sense that I don’t teach knowledge. I create playful experiences and invite my participants to make some sense out of them. And they find out: There’s sense in non-sense!

I also create Play Missions that don’t have any other purpose than to just enjoy doing them. And by doing them uplifting the energy of the player (and it’s surroundings).

So I haven’t yet made up my mind to what category of Play-practicioners I belong to. The ones that¬†see pure¬†Play as a goal in itself, or the ones that see Play as a mean towards reaching a goal. I play both ūüôā

With playful greetings,
Annemarie Steen
Playfulness & Playful Learning

Playing with children, adults and Michael Gove: An interview with Patrick Bateson

Patrick Bateson recently published his book “Play, Playfulness, Creativity & Innovaton”, a scientifc approach to understand how these are connected. Here’s an article of an interview from Dana Smith with Bateson.

Brain Study

I’ve got a new piece up today on King’s Review of an interview I conducted with Cambridge professor of ethology Sir Patrick Bateson. Professor Bateson has a fascinating new book on the benefits of play and playfulness, and how these traits can help us develop creativity, innovation and flexible thinking.

I discuss the book with Professor Bateson, as well as branching into the effects reforms in education are having on our brains and behaviors, and how too much school may actually be harming children today.

And finally, the question everyone’s been wondering, do those ping-pong tables in new-age offices really offer any sort of benefits? Read the article to find out!

Playing with children, adults and Michael Gove: An interview with Patrick Bateson.

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