What makes you play? When are you playful? What do you need to feel ready to slip into a playing mood?

Last week I co-facilitated a workshop on remote communication. We designed the workshop in a spirit of play – creative, open-minded and lightheaded – and included moments of play and games. At the beginning we asked participants the same question I ask you: What makes you play?  We discovered that we have different spheres when and where and how we start to play.

Kids and pets

Parents among the participants mentioned their kids, others their nieces and nephews. Kids are inviting us – the adults – for playing. The same is happening with pets. My dog invites me to play, every day at least once. It seems that playing with kids and dogs is the most natural and obvious thing to do.

The little investigation round showed that most of us are playful in company. We look for cheerful people; it is more fun to laugh together. Also Mathias Poulsen, the organizer of the Counter Play Festival tweeted: To me, the key to living the most fulfilling and playful life is in the interactions with the people I meet. I can’t stay playful alone.

Game boards and other things

Quite some participant’s declared themselves gamers. They love playing games, especially board games. And the funny thing is: they love cheating.

I don’t even know “Brändi dog” a favourite board game. I am not a gamer. I am not playing games. I don’t have games at home somewhere in a cupboard. Nevertheless, I am a playful person. Paper and colours invite me to draw. I love to play around and be creative. I follow more the open unstructured way. When I cook I use a recipe as starting point for my own variations.

“In my head”

One participant declared I am playful in my head. I love to ask What if…?  What if we would move the whole office furniture to the toilet?

A great question offering a lot of space and options to work differently. She is my soul-mate, me too, I love playing with words. I think in possibilities, in variations; what is also possible at this moment; what can I also do?


And I wonder if there is even a playful time? Maybe after dinner with friends?


There are playgrounds – for kids. But actually a beach is one big playground for everyone; that is what one can observe during the season when sandcastles are being built and kites are flying. And adults play like kids.

I just read a blog post about a family opening their walls for playful drawing:  I Let My Kids Draw On The Wall. Yes, You Read That Right.

While artists have their ateliers, dancers their dance floor and musicians their exercise room, what playful spaces do we find in offices, conference centres and meeting rooms?

What I definitely know after our reflection round on playfulness: WE ARE ALL PLAYFUL.

So what about creating a playful atmosphere in workshops. To me this seems the ideal entry point to bring more playfulness to work life. A workshop offers the safe space for people to dare to be who they are and include their playful side.

What do you think? What invites you to play?

Related stories