Play Champions programme: Playful Field Trip

The Playful Champions were very lucky to be able to take part in a remote field trip, hosted by Jana Wendler (https://www.playfuel.co.uk/) and Amy Strike (https://amystrike.com/). They organised an incredible session for us, filled with activities and virtual adventures, which was engaging all the way through!

Participants had been sent a parcel to open at the start of the day. It contained a selection of envelopes and items for use on the imaginary “island” – this was our destination for the day. Except this was no ordinary island – our challenge for the day was to explore and figure it out for ourselves, making our own destinations as we went along.

Everyone was asked to introduce themselves & present a gift to the group – we had a variety of objects and concepts, including a pack of playing cards, a fishing pole, and a set of Guatemalan worry dolls. This helped everyone get to know each other better and get excited about our adventure.

We were then launched straight into a puzzle, as we got into our virtual boats to get to the island. The challenging word puzzle was a great way to put our minds in a playful space.

We finally arrived on the island, and looked into our parcels to find a bag of crisps – hula hoops to be precise. Throughout the day, if we heard the sound of a seagull, we had to duck out of view, or else we would lose a crisp. The frantic scramble to duck when we heard the sound was hilarious!

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All of the participants had symbols on our parcels, which we deciphered using a guide. They spelled out the word “Cartographers”. Once we’d deciphered it, we were given a link to the map of our island, to which we were invited to add images to represent the different locations – the beach, the forest, the shack, the lighthouse etc. We were able to “discover” more about the island through each other’s images, and build up a picture of what we wanted it to look like. It was fascinating to see what people came up with!

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We looked in our bags, which contained a selection of random items, like shells and feathers. People whose items matched would be in the same group. We split into our groups and chose which part of the island we wanted to go to, sending a picture or showing an item related to that location in order to “travel” there. In our breakout rooms, our task was to create a game for another team. For example, the group at the shack created a game of chance where players took turns to make a gift out of plasticine to give to either the inhabitant of the shack, or his pet goat. Two members of the host group were the inhabitant and the goat, and they had to roll the dice to find out whether they were happy of unhappy with the gift. If the players had at least 2 successes out of 4, they won! Everyone agreed this was one of the most fun parts of the day.

Then we were summoned to the lighthouse, where we were tasked with completing a challenging puzzle – in complete silence – to turn the lighthouse siren off. It really put our problem solving skills to the test! After our frantic scramble to complete the task, we’d definitely earned our lunch break.

After lunch, we play tested a program called Ink, which allows users to create a choose-your-own-adventure story, by walking around our homes & local areas, imagining our island and taking pictures of what we saw. We then ended up on the Gather Town – much like a little video game! – where our avatars wandered around, discovering YouTube videos and articles on playfulness. We ended the day with a drink and finishing up the crisps we hadn’t lost to the seagulls!

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We came away from our trip to the island with new ideas for how to incorporate playfulness into our teaching, learning and lives in general. Thank you Jana and Amy for an awesome day!

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