Text reads 'Adult Play Network' against a backdrop of building silhouettes

Introducing the Adult Play Network

The Adult Play Network is hosted by Andrew Walsh and Alex Moseley, both National Teaching Fellows. Follow Andrew at @Playbrarian on Twitter!

Adult Play. Go on… have a snigger! People see the phrase “adult play” and often associate it with something smutty or even kinky. But why should they? Why don’t we see adult play as normal, and as wide ranging, as children’s play?

Play can benefit us at work, in our research, in our teaching, at home and in our social lives. It’s good for teamworking and building relationships, communication, creativity, innovation, controlling stress, productivity, engagement… so many different things I daren’t try and list them all!

“Adult play” can be sexual, but it’s not the main aspect of it – even though we often think of that before anything else. It’s as though play is treated by society as “dirty” or “not for public view” because it isn’t easy to make money from it. Play isn’t acceptable for adults because it invests power in the players, not external agencies (and companies). Play disrupts, empowers, encourages activity that isn’t easy to generate money from. If we want to play in an acceptable manner for adults, we often have to hide behind hobbies, sports, crafts… play that is structured and packaged in a way that makes it easier to control perhaps?

I’ve been working around play in adults, particularly playful learning, for a while now, and I’d love to do my small bit in reclaiming “adult play”. As such, we’re currently trying to crowdfund the setting up of an international, online Adult Play Network – raising enough money to cover the first year’s platform fees.


The Adult Play Network will be an online platform focussing on sharing tips, ideas and training around adult play – bringing play to all aspects of adult life.  We aim to include:

  • Regular posts about playful practices in different areas of life and work
  • Regular playful challenges
  • Free short /  taster courses
  • Discussion areas
  • Online events integrated with the platform
  • Lots of ways of finding and talking to network members with similar interests (or geographical location).
  • PLUS access to longer member only courses (at an additional cost).

The first couple of online courses are included as rewards in the Kickstarter (link – https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/lancsfairytales/adult-play-network-bringing-more-play-into-adult-lives?ref=50jwhd), each run by an NTF (myself and Alex Moseley).

We can split the network into lots of different categories and groups, I’d be keen on including strands for play in HE and playful research, as well as more generic topics such as playful teaching and learning.

I know there are a lot of playful and creative people in the HE community out there (even if you don’t normally label your teaching or research as play), so it would be brilliant if lots of you could join us in reclaiming play from the world of children and making it acceptable for all of us to play more.

Text reads 'Adult Play Network' against a backdrop of building silhouettes

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