Remember the rush of exhilaration you used to feel as you catapulted down a slide? How about the upsurge of adrenaline the moment you were tagged “it” and went hurtling after one of your peers on the playground? Who cares if, in today’s society, the idea of adult play can be anathema? Play is an essential component of a well-lived life. In fact, although Ponce de Leon went to Florida in search of the Fountain of Youth, and died never having found it, the real Fountain of Youth can be discovered each time we allow ourselves to play.
If you’re not used to incorporating purposeless, enjoyable activities into your life, it can be difficult to know how to start. So, in honor of Safe Toys Month, I thought I’d offer some ideas.
5 Ways to Embrace Play:
1. Follow the example of children.
Whether you have a child of your own, a grandchild, or friends with kids, having access to those who have not yet been conditioned out of “silliness” can be your greatest asset. Watching kids will teach us everything we’ve forgotten about how to embrace our own inner children. That’s not to say you should sit back and watch. The next time you’re in the vicinity of young ones, when they bust out the Barbies, start an impromptu dance party, or begin building a fort out of blankets, join them.
2. Bring out the board games.
It doesn’t matter if it’s Monopoly, Dungeons and Dragons, or Apples to Apples. Incorporating friendly, competitive games into your time with friends is a great way to play. If you’re a die-hard video gamer and have determined Taboo to be taboo, you can still gather your friends together for some more technological, less traditional, pursuits. Speaking of pursuits, if you are open to more old-fashioned options, don’t underestimate Trivial Pursuit. It’s both fun and informative.
3. Let your inner artist out.
Painting, drawing, scrapbooking, making a collage, learning origami, knitting a scarf, writing a story, or experimenting with cooking are just a few ways to unlock and unleash your inner creativity. It doesn’t matter if you’re objectively “good,” only that you have a good time. I highly suggest buying an adult coloring book and giving yourself permission to color outside the lines.
4. Move your body in fun-filled ways.
Been meaning to try a new dance class? Join a volleyball league? Learn to do a cartwheel?
The object of movement doesn’t always have to be “staying in shape.” We can move for the pure joy of movement itself. When you were a child, you probably danced, frolicked, skipped, and moved in a myriad of expressive and unrestrained ways. Reconnect with that version of yourself and dance like no one’s watching.
5. Incorporate comedy into your life.
There are a number of ways to incorporate comedy into your life. You can identify TV shows and movies with rip-roarious plotlines, or a stand-up comedian whose sense of humor jives with yours. I’m a huge proponent of comedy improv, which is essentially make-believe for adults (aka sanctioned silliness for grownups). Whether you want to learn to improvise in a fun-filled class setting, perform on stage, or sit in the audience, there’s nothing better than being in an environment that encourages adults to laugh.