Two years ago, I came across a tweet that mentioned International Blowing Bubbles Day on May 6 (an initiative from a dutch artist Flip Looyen). I tought: “Hm, nice”, but went on with reading other stuff. That night I woke up, and felt the need to do something with it. I have a strong vision on the connecting power of Playfulness, so I thought to apply Blowing Bubbles to prove my point. I thought of a location where people are not connecting and decided on the bus/trainstation of Eindhoven (Netherlands) at 7am. Then, I sent out a tweet inviting others to join me on May 6th to Blow Bubbles on this location. And in case nobody showed up, I brought 83 sets of Blowing Bubble stuff (all I could find in my hometown of Veldhoven to hand out for free.
So what happened?
To my surprise, a lot of people reacted with fear (around 50%). Either not accepting my offer, or very fast putting their blowing bubble set in their bags with the excuse “nice for my kids”. Another large group of people (around 40%)held the blowing bubble set in their hands, not opening it, looking around what other people were doing. Some of them needed a little encouragement before trying. When they did (leave their comfortzone) they reacted with high energy. And there was a small group of people (around 10%) that immediately reacted with joy and started to play with it. Surprisingly a lot of people in function (railwaypolice officers, taxidrivers).
My (not validaded) conclusions after this experiment;
1) YES, Playfulness connects. If you look at the picture, you see two guys playing and a third is watching them with a smile. There is a connection there.
2) Playfulness is something that a lot of adults perceive as scary, not done, childish, etc.
3) While working (in stead of waiting) we tend to be more open towards strangers and like a Playful distraction/intermezzo.
My vision is still “Playfulness Connects”, but my mission after this day became “To invite adults to leave their comfortzone and dare to be Playful”
So what will you do on International Blowing Bubbles Day on May 6th 2013?
More info: http://www.internationalblowingbubblesday.wordpress.com
With playful greetings,
(Dutch Newspaper Eindhovens Dagblad invited me to blog for a week about this International Blowing Bubbles Day two years ago: here’s the text in dutch: http://www.steentrain.nl/attachments/File/Blog_ED_Bellenblaasdag.pdf)