behavior · children · community · emotion · health · mental health · play · psychology

Clowns bring laughter, positive psychological benefits to children in refugee camps

From the BBC3 article:

Ash [Perrin] and his team of clowns, musicians and dancers are ‘play specialists’ who work with children in refugee camps across Europe. The aim is to allow the kids “to feel good, feel daft, and feel playful”.

They are part of The Flying Seagulls Project, a band of clowns and performers who believe in the power of play. They have traveled to numerous refugee camps across Europe to help entertain and support children and their families via play.

This kind of outreach and human interaction is so powerful, not just from the viewpoint of lifting up people’s spirits, but especially for children’s mental well-being. It is incredibly beneficial to everyone but especially children to provide play and laughter as a respite from a really scary situation, at a time when they need a village of support at the exact time they have lost that village, as their parents try to cope with their new situation as well.

This kind of outreach is crucial especially as the refugee crisis intensified and continues to grow and more families are displaced and their lives put into turmoil. Play is how children process their emotions, explore and understand the world, and this kind of work can help children process trauma.

Unstructured play is crucial as well, but having guided play like this is important in a situation where the rules and conditions have changed for children – they need guidance from others to say “this is allowable here.” It is okay to laugh, to sing, to feel silly.

There are clowns who also work in children’s hospitals in the U.S. and around the world, providing similar services. Being able to go to where the children are, in their time of need, and say, “let’s play!” can be incredibly healing.

behavior · community · creativity · happiness · play · Social

Why The Nose working to get a laugh out of the world

A clown nose

Happy Friday! Have you been waiting all week for some fun? Why the wait? Why not get a quick giggle in now? All it takes is a little red piece of foam, and the ability to not take yourself too seriously. I saw this shared on Facebook and had to spread the good cheer.

Why The Nose is a movement in clown accessories laughter and clowning around: is dedicated to the act of wearing a clown nose everyday, in order to make people smile.

It’s here for YOU…to encourage you with an act of Heroic Uninhibited Innocence :)

It’s really that simple. In a world filled with distractions and distrust, you’d be amazed at how many people (of all ages) have lost a sense of childlike wonder. Or maybe you wouldn’t…

Wearing a clown nose is fun, it’s easy, and it’s free (if you already have the nose).

We’re not trying to sell anything, we’re only showing you how joyful it is to change someone’s day.
Trust us, the nose breaks through barriers and opens doors every time you wear it…give it a try!

This phenomenon of adults wearing silly noses has been seen around both the 2011 and 2012 Burning Man Festival and other playful grown-up events courtesy of Tex Allen, who according to the website is a “responsible burner” but also wants to encourage people to enjoy themselves and enjoy their lives. I honestly hope this becomes a movement beyond just the Burning Man circuit, although I don’t think you’d need to wear the nose all day to get the effect he’s looking; maybe just for a quick trip to the grocery store. Visit the website for videos of some high quality goofing off. Or visit them on their Facebook page to see who else is getting their silly on.

Check out the video from Burning Man 2011 for more examples and maybe some inspiration.