The Flying Seagull Project | Why it matters
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Why it matters

The science of laughter

We’re serious about fun

Play is important. It helps us develop mentally and physically. It strengthens social bonds and reaches across isolation. It makes the world a happier, better place.

 

But where safety, food or shelter are lacking, where poverty forces children into labour or where illness or disability or social exclusion shrink the world into a daily struggle, play can seem a luxury.

 

We aim to give those in need the opportunity to play and laugh and to plant a seed to let their happiness grow.

The Flying Seagulls’ work reflects powerful current evidence from social science, neuroscience and biochemistry of the importance of laughter, collective physical play and trusting relationships for building social bonds, resolving conflict, creating cohesive communities, developing resilience and securing personal and social wellbeing.

Professor Deborah Youdell in a 2015 study on the impact of the Flying Seagull Project’s approach for the Public Service Academy at Birmingham University.

The science of play

Physical health

Develops motor skills and improves fitness (Lindon 2007), improves function of blood vessels (Science Daily, 2011), increases the number of antibody-producing cells and enhances the effectiveness of T cells for a stronger immune system (Scott, 2011).

Cognitive development

Improves IQ (Elkind 2007), develops vocabulary, ability to solve problems, self-confidence and motivation, and an awareness of the needs of others (Zigler 2009). Lack of play in childhood linked to reduced brain size and activity (Tobin 1997).

Emotional resiliance

Reduces stress, increases levels of endorphins (Scott, 2011), improves ability to cope with and recover from trauma (Lester and Russell 2008), reduces aggressive behaviour (Bird 2007).

Social harmony

Helps children relate to each other and feel part of their community (Casey 2010). Develops empathetic skills and cooperating, helping, sharing, and solving problems (Open University 2011). Helps overcome cultural differences and break down social isolation for disabled or disadvantaged children (Dunn et al. 2004).

Community ties

Improves children's ability to develop strong, trusting relationships with other children and adults, strengthens general community ties (Worpole and Knox 2007), and improves adult perception of community strength and safety (Prezza and Pacilli 2007).

Reducing anti-social behaviour

Reduces likelihood of developing violent or anti-social behaviours, reduces aggression and emotional repression (Edwards and Bromfield 2009). Reduces aggressive behaviour (Bird 2007).

Testimonials