This past Friday I braved the hurricane rains and winds and headed to Bryant Park in Midtown Manhattan for the kickoff of GoGo squeeZ‘s “Wherever You Go, Go Playfully” campaign.

GoGo squeeZ

Earlier this year, GoGo squeeZ, makers of squeezable, on-the-go and kid-friendly applesauce packets (pictured above) commissioned a study of American families that showed that parents and kids have trouble incorporating “playfulness” into their daily lives. To do their part to ameliorate this problem, GoGo squeeZ teamed up with actor and father Jerry O’Connell and the Life is good Playmakers, the action arm of the Life is good Kids Foundation, a nonprofit organization that provides training and support to childcare professionals.

Mr. O’Connell and Life is good co-founder Bert Jacobs hosted the New York City launch event where guests were able to explore the GoGo squeeZ Mobile Playground, an interactive tree house on wheels.

Bert Jacobs, Allison Toombs and Jerry O'Connell at #gogoplayfully in New York City on June 13, 2013

At the event I had a chance to talk to Jerry and Bert (pictured above with me at the event) about their cause and their own attempts at incorporating playfulness into their lives:

Me (Allison Toombs): What is this movement about? What are you guys here for today?

Jerry O’Connell: GoGo squeeZ has teamed up with Life is good, a terrific non-profit.

Bert Jacobs: Life is good Playmakers is about healing children through play and GoGo squeeZ and Life is good both mutually believe that businesses can be great tools to solve social problems so we are working together to help kids that need it and it’s focused on play.

Me [to Mr. O’Connell]: What’s your part in this?

O’Connell: GoGo squeeZ came to me and said they wanted to raise awareness for American children…that [kids] should be more playful. If you go to their website, you can find ways they can be more playful and every time you use the hashtag #gogoplayfully, go to the website or you make a playful promise at one of their GoGo squeeZ mobile playgrounds a $1 will go Life is good. And I was like, I’m in, this is such a terrific pairing, it works out so well. I was quite familiar with their product because I have two four-year-old children…

Me: Girls or boys?

O’Connell: Two girls, twins. They are very messy. They don’t like to eat anything that is natural or good for them so that’s why GoGo squeeZ is very much part of my life.

Jacobs: He tricks his children!

Me: It looks like a toy so they play with it and eat it accordingly. [To Mr. O’Connell] What do you do with your kids to keep them playful?

O’Connell: My wife and I are really active, we are really outdoorsy, we try to get them out as much as possible. You just have a good time with things, make sure you are singing and dancing all the time.

Me  [To Mr. O’Connell]: Do you live in the city or the suburbs?

O’Connell: We live in the suburbs which is helpful. I grew up in the city and I wish I had Life is good and GoGo squeeZ around back when I was growing up. Instead, I was inside watching Give Me A Break and The Facts Of Life all day long.

Me: Bert [who lives in Boston], how would you teach your kids one day to be playful in a city?

Jacobs: I think playfulness comes from inside of you, so it doesn’t matter if you are in a city or out in the country, I think you can sing and laugh and dance anywhere. And it’s more about your imagination and freeing your mind than anything else and you can be physical any place – the city is a great place, there are lots of stimulus around. And I think as adults we have to be silly and playful around kids and teach them that that’s okay. That’s another thing that I think that GoGo squeeZ and Life is good both stand for is that when we were children we were all open-minded and we were all really free and played all the time. When we get older we have a tendency to lose some of that child-like playfulness and part of the beauty of life and what both these organizations are focused on is maintaining that childhood openness and optimism.

Me: That’s a really good philosophy.

Jacobs: It is not only more fun, but it’s powerful: it actually gets things done, it allows you to blur the line between work and play.

Me [to Mr. Jacobs]: Do you have suggestions for our audience, for moms, on how to make their children more playful? Starting even this weekend, what is something they could do?

Jacobs: Instead of telling them what to do they should sing. Jerry and I will sing “Singin’ In the Rain” right now. [They proceeded to actually sing “Singin’ In The Rain” in the the rain.]

Me [to Jerry]: Do you have any suggestions?

O’Connell: Everything Bert is saying is right; he’s a specialist.

Me: Dad’s are specialists too 🙂

O’Connell: Yes, we are! You can find more suggestions on the GoGo squeeZ website and every time you go there they will give a $1 to Life is good which is really why are all here.

So as Jerry mentioned, you can do your part to contribute to GoGo squeeZ‘s mission: go to their website and every time the hashtag #gogoplayfully is used GoGo squeeZ will donate $1 to Life Is good Playmakers (up to $100K).

You can also view Jerry O’Connell discussing more on playfulness in this YouTube video he made for the campaign.

Thank you to GoGo squeeZ, Jerry O’Connell and Bert Jacobs and Life is good for spearheading such a fantastic and important campaign. It’s one that we here at Lady and the Blog can thoroughly embrace. Here’s to making kids and adults more playful!

As always, feel free to share your own ideas for making life more playful in the Comments section below.


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