Ice cream with sprinkles. Who says adults don't know how to play or have fun?!

Big smiles served here: how to amp up your play

Today my daughter (she’s 2 now) spent some time playing with stickers. One sticker was a pair of eyeglasses. She carefully sticks it on her eyelid and smiles at me. I smile back, especially with my eyes but I make no declarations about the situation. After a few moments she laughs out loud and says “I silly!” I join her laughter. There are a thousand reasons I love being a mom, but the steady stream of laughter and play ranks high on the list. 

Play is something I’ve been pondering…adults are just kids in aging bodies. We love play, but it can sometimes feel elusive. How do we tap back into that fun side of ourselves? Read on for some ideas on how to amp up your play at home and work.

What is play?

In a sweet article with 37 reader-driven ideas for play, Sandra Pawua describes play as, “a purposeless activity that brings about joy and pleasure […]  You’re simply immersed in the moment-to-moment experience of play with a child-like abandon.” Isn’t that such a nice summary? Play is this thing that brings lightness to our hearts, but it can be forgotten in the mental train track of the day (unless of course we’re in the thick of playing with our kids). One of the play suggestions in the post is to build a snowman, which brings back a fond memory. 

One night, while living in the coastal city of Olympia, Washington, it snowed buckets. At around midnight, my husband and I decided to do something about our rain-free fortune and built the parts for a massive snowman. With hushed giggles, we assembled it outside our neighbor’s front door, eager to share in some smiles the next day upon its discovery.

Sometimes all you need to spark play is curiosity. Ask yourself: What is the most fun thing I could do right now? 

How to strengthen your Play Muscles

Funnily, the things I found entertaining as a kid are often still the case today. It’s fun to skip rocks at the beach, to draw, to play games that require looking or acting silly. But ya know, it’s sort of like a muscle – if you don’t use it, the skill becomes a little rusty. How do you amp up your play if it’s been a while?

In her post on 10 Ways to Have More Fun and Play More as Adults, Marelisa Fabrega offers a number of ways to strengthen our play muscles. These range from planning minimum play time (similar to minimum daily exercise time) and scheduling specific time blocks for fun activities. She also recommends going on a play date with your partner instead of your standard date night activity. Sign me up! 

Play at Work

Play at work…now here’s a realm where the idea of play can feel a little far fetched. But some people have figured it out! 99designs has a nice article that covers the spectrum of what play is, describes play’s ability to maximize team creativity, and offers some ideas to get us going. Ever tried writing your to-do list as a limerick? Have you invented a fun tradition that you do before starting a difficult task?  Check out the 99designs link for more inspiration.

Amp up your play!

I hope this week brings you laughter, and play, and moments of delight. And wherever this finds you, be it nursing a sick family or eagerly anticipating the next phase of life, give yourself a big dose of appreciation and gratitude for all that you are and all that you’ve become. It’s breathtaking.

Aw, why not sweeten the deal. Go on and treat yo’self to some sprinkles on that next scoop of ice cream. Just for fun.

****Know anyone who would love more play in their life? Share this post with them! Extra points for anyone who leaves a comment telling about something playful they did recently.

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