Can fun change behavior?

By Nancy S Buck, Phd, RN

Many years ago I learned of an ingenious invention.  A father who was worried about the number of solitary and sedentary hours his children spent passively watching television decided to make a change in his home. He configured a stationary bicycle that needed to be pedaled in order to provide the electricity to power the television. If his children wanted to watch TV they had to produce the pedal power to make the TV work. At the time I wished I had the knowledge and skill to make my own TV run by Nancy energy.  At least I would be exercising while I spent what I considered to be too much time “vegging” out in front of the boob tube.

Hold onto your hats, folks. There is a website that may delight, surprise and inspire you. The Fun Theory, http://www.thefuntheory.com is An initiative of Volkswagen. 

canstockphoto6113908This site is dedicated to the thought that something as simple as fun is the easiest way to change people’s behaviour for  the better. Be it for yourself, for the environment, or for something entirely different, the only thing that matters is that it’s change for the better.

 Spend a bit of time on this website and learn about all sorts of ideas people have not only imagined, but that the folks from The Fun Theory have actually made into a reality, and discover the miracle of fun.

Dr. Glasser declared that fun is one of the five genetic instructions driving all behavior. What this website demonstrates over and over and over again is that people are more likely to follow the path that will lead them to fun. Along the way, parents, or governments can associate the fun path with wished for behavioral changes.

For instance, creating a game to pick up toys, or decluttering a room, or doing homework,  increases the chances you child (and you adult) will complete the task. The child probably has very little interest in completing the task. But children always have interest in fun, more fun, and more fun and games.

Or, as one of the video demonstrates, recycling material that increases the publics accumulated “pin ball” machine score increases the likelihood that people will recycle. When people can play the “piano keys” on a stairway they are more likely to use the stairs instead of the escalator also provided.

Do you want to improve your Mental Health & Happiness? Start meeting your need for fun, (which includes learning as long as the learning is fun), more regularly. See if you can create a game, challenge or more fun into your least favorite chores and jobs. Ask your children for their ideas and help. Children are experts at making fun and games anywhere, anytime whether appropriate or not. They can also be your consultant and coach when you need more fun in your life!

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