I've recently been reading a great book about the importance of play in our lives. So many of us spend so much of our time working. Working at our day jobs, working towards our dream jobs, working in school, working around the house, working on raising kids... how often do we just simply play?
I realized recently that I hadn't been doing this at all. When I am career focused, which I have been since I was 16 years old, I rarely take too much time to play. But recently I had been burning the proverbial candle at both ends from morning until I passed out exhausted at night, and knew I couldn't go at that pace much longer, so I simply stopped and stared infusing my days with play.
I wanted to create a fun list of ways, as an adult, you can play and get in touch with your inner child. He or She is still there, you just have to put down the phone, tablet and computer to meet him or her where he or she is and have a good time simply "being". Read on for my list of ideas and feel free to comment with how to infuse "play" into your day!
Visit The Local Park: Tossing around a ball in fresh air and sunshine, putting down a picnic blanket and munching on healthy goodies, all while tiring yourself out with good old fashion kickball, four-square (remember that game?), or basketball is a great way to spend an afternoon.
Play In A Toy Store: When was the last time you visited F.A.O or Toys R' Us, not to buy a gift for a kid, but to PLAY with the toys and test them out like you did when you were younger? It's an awesome way to spend a summer afternoon. And if you illicit any weird looks, you can still say you are there shopping for a kid. Or invite them to play, if they are being that judgmental of you they probably need to play more than you do.
An Afternoon of Game Play: Having friends over for a board game night and baking brownies or cookies is simply bliss. For the boys, having the guys over for retro video games is always a winner, or maybe a hot wheels race, or building a model plane.
Build A Fort: Pretty self explanatory. Putting up chairs and blankets and climbing inside with a movie, board games, a good book or magazines is a perfect way to laze away an afternoon or evening. Bonus points if you do it in jammies or make signs for your fort.
Color Outside The Lines: Or, if you were a perfectionist child, then you can stay inside the lines. The point is to get out the crayons, the sketchpad, the color books, the paint and canvas... any artistic medium of your choice and make a masterpiece. Or create something only your mom would post on the fridge. The point is just to create something, no judgments allowed.
Marco: Polo! Dig deep into your memory, or utilize Google, and find childhood games that you played. Hop in the pool with friends for a good game of Marco Polo, or play hide n' seek in your neighborhood. Ring toss, horseshoes, and tag are great options for the park. You can also count these as exercise too. Score!
Host A Slumber Party: Recently, my girlfriends and I had a slumber party. We played games, had dinner and stayed up late laughing. It was so fun! Prank call the boys, watch your favorite childhood movies and bake a gluten-free, dairy-free pizza to make it feel like a real Saturday night slumber party from elementary school without all the calories and toxic ingredients.
Dear Penpal: When was the last time you wrote a letter? Being a writer I do do this often. It's fun to find pretty stationary and pick a friend to write a letter too, just because. Add a child-like kick with glitter stickers or scented markers to address the envelope.
Play Dress-Up: When was the last time you went to the mall and tried on outrageous clothes, just for fun? My sister and I use to do this as teenagers for no other reason than to take photos and laugh. Trying on my moms clothes growing up was a thrill. Go through your closet and mix and match your clothes in new ways. Do your hair and make-up just because. I promise it feels exhilarating.
Play With The Kiddos: Playing with kids, like I did with my niece at her party, makes it easy to tap into your own inner child. I let her plan the day and had many adventures being "driven around the park", "visiting a princess castle", playing kickball and meeting her new birthday bunny. And it was one of the best days I've had in a while.