As we explored on last week’s blog, joy and play are important for brain development, both in children and in adults. There are countless ways to integrate joy into your everyday life. Expressing gratitude can bring joy to you and to others. Promoting positive language in your community will build a culture of encouragement and joy. Creating an inclusive playground where every kid feels a sense of belonging will give them a safe space to play and feel the joy that comes along with it.
At Playworks, we believe in integrating joy and fun into as many moments as possible. Our Coaches and Site Coordinators enter their school communities as caring, consistent adults who are ready to work through challenges with students and teach important social emotional skills for success, but they also enter their school communities as agents of joy, ready to bring play and laughter everywhere they go. School should be a joyful place, and we’re proud that our coaches help contribute to that every day.
“As we entered into this school year, we wanted to focus on what brings ‘BPS Joy’ to our students and community,” says Boston Public Schools Superintendent Brenda Cassellius. “What we’ve seen is that play brings joy across our district, as it is an integral way to connect with your peers and teachers, take a movement break, and have fun. Playworks creates those moments of joy and play throughout the school day, whether it be a recess game of Hungry Fox or a high-five in the hallway. Our students need these moments of joy now more than ever, and Playworks is helping bring them.”
One of our favorite ways to spread joy is through using special claps. At Playworks we use claps as a silly and fun way to show appreciation for each other, whether it be for a great answer to a question, awesome Class Game Time, or just because we want to spread some positive energy! Check out the Roller Coaster Clap from our founder, Jill Vialet, on the left, or watch Coach Jeff teach the Mosquito Clap and Coach K teach the Fortnite Clap!
At the end of recess, some Coaches like to teach cheers to their students as a silly way to get out the last of their recess energy and transition them back to class. These cheers are hilarious, random, and bring so much laughter and joy to kids and adults alike. Our favorite, the Chicken Cheer, is showcased on our Instagram by Coach Steph, and our Youtube channel is full of cheers that you can try out like the Get Loose Cheer and the Little Red Wagon Cheer!
As we think about every day joy, we think about how we can integrate play into any moment. Play is the language of children and brings joy to everyone involved, so fitting it into as many moments as possible will help create a more joyful school environment. One of our favorite times to play quick games is when students are waiting in line, whether it be a line outside the bathroom, a lunch line, or a line to get on the school bus at the end of the day. These are moments that are full of potential to play quick games, and here are some of our favorites:
- The Big Cheese: This game is perfect for students of all ages, and one round only takes 15-30 seconds! Once you teach your students the game, they’ll know exactly what to do when you say, “I am the Big Cheese!”
- Group Count: This game is great when you have a quick moment to play but are in a quiet, small space where active games are hard. Similarly to the Big Cheese, rounds of Group Count go quickly so you can sneak in a couple rounds in the lunch line!
- Up, Down, Stop, Go: Waiting for a teacher to come meet their class after recess and have a couple minutes? Try out a version of Up, Down, Stop, Go where all students remain in line to play. This game will help get any last minute energy out before they transition back into their classroom!
Integrating joy into the small moments will strengthen a community and help children recover from the trauma caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. While there are so many ways to spread that joy, we believe in the power of games and play to help build those communities.
Do you have other ideas of how to spread and experience joy every day? Tweet us and let us know!