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Play For Everyone

Play is essential, it is an effective social activity that helps break down language, culture, and other communication barriers.

Photo of Stefan Olofsson
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It sounds strange because of how simple it is, but providing opportunities for people of all ages to play can have miraculous benefits. I think something critical to think about isn't just creating an environment to improve education for refugees, but to consider the overall ecosystem.

At this point I'd like to ask a few questions. As designers setting boundaries of an experience, what do we consider as education? On a wider sense, are integration and assimilation goals?

In my opinion, yes! By creating opportunities for people to play, language, culture, and communication barriers can be broken. Sports, dance, video games, it doesn't need to be expensive, and it doesn't mean it is just for children. Play pertains to all ages.

Therefore, an important question to be considered is what activities can be set up, and how can we encourage people within different parts of the ecosystem to participate? 

While this isn't a concrete solution by any means, and various situations may call for different cultural probes to ascertain different values and needs, maybe it'll spur some ideation.

Not to simplify the matter, but some well known examples I will drawn upon are the Olympics and the World Cup. These events, though grand on scale, have always brought people together around the world. 

Games, play, social activities, however you like to refer to it, bring people from different backgrounds together. This is the essential element, bringing people together. 


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Photo of Vasia Christoulaki

Hi Stefan,

Play and in general participating in a group with other people who you may not know but you probably share common goals and/or interests can be a great way to interact with a variety of different people and characters. Through play you can learn a lot from an educational perspective, in a more creative and playful way compared to the "sterilized" methods used in many schools and unfortunately definitely in my country. But most important you learn to collaborate, interact effectively, learn to loose and accepting it, sharing, accepting other people and their differences, trying and trying again until you make it and many many other things that can help a kid become a good human being.

What if education was based only in that, making its mission to create people, citizens that are first of all good humans, to themselves and with each other? What is the most important to learn as well as the hardest one? Knowledge or being a good human? Just wondering... We have to take into consideration that refugees are many time victims of racism. How can we erase the discrimination and bring all people together? Moreover bullying is taking great extent lately in schools and universities. Participating in groups could be a good answer to these problems. What will be the goals for using play and group activities? Will it be complementary to other methods or will be the primary one? These are some questions I can think of...

To conclude, I think that play used for educational reasons is a powerful concept that could either be combined with other ideas or stand alone.

I would like to keep discussing this with you and other participants.


Photo of OpenIDEO

Hi Stefan, interesting post! Any chance you could find an image to go along with it? Images help grab attention and tell a story with higher impact. You should be able to use the Edit Contribution button on the top of your post and follow the instructions to add images from there. Looking forward to seeing more of your inspiring insights on OpenIDEO.

Photo of OpenIDEO

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