Always Well Within

Calm Your Mind, Ease Your Heart, Embrace Your Inner Wisdom

37 Fun Activities That Will Re-Introduce You to the Power of Play

How adults benefit from play

Do you play every day?  If not, consider the powerful boost play could give your emotional, mental, and physical well-being.  Most notably, play can:

  • Relieve stress when endorphins, the body’s natural feel-good chemicals, are released.  As an added bonus, endorphins can reduce pain too.
  • Enhance brain function when you engage in cognitively challenging games like puzzles, word games, memory games, or math games.
  • Boost your creativity and stimulate your imagination.
  • Reduce social isolation, mitigate depression, and increase connection, trust, and intimacy.
  • Improve your social skills if they happen to be rusty.
  • Inject more vitality into your relationsip, deepen your feelings of intimacy, and help you to heal resentments and wounds.
  • And finally, playful communication can lighten up a heavy situation, break through anger and help you move through an impasse

Seems like play is just what we need, doesn’t it?

What Is Play?

Most of all, play is considered a purposeless activity that brings about joy and pleasure.  That means you’re not engaged for the sole purpose of winning, accomplishing a goal, or improving your self.  You’re simply immersed in the moment-to-moment experience of play with a child-like abandon.

Animals remain playful throughout their adult life.  Humans, on the other hand, tend to get bogged down in worries, work, and mental rumination, forgetting almost entirely how critical fun is to an adult’s health, happiness, and relationships.

[Seems like you? You may want to read:  How to Balance Work and Play.]

So let go of any notion that play is a pointless waste of time, and bring some fun back into your life.

Not Sure How to Play?

Because I don’t get enough play, I asked people who follow my Always Well Within Facebook page to share some of the childlike activities that always make them feel good, even as adults.  This is what they said:

Play benefits your health + well being, adults too!

  1. Coloring
  2. Playing with building blocks
  3. Water fight with my husband
  4. Playing in the rain and snow
  5. Sleeping
  6. Swinging
  7. Walking barefoot outside
  8. Eating ice cream
  9. Dancing around the house with my cat
  10. Hula hooping
  11. Backyard cricket
  12. Blowing bubbles
  13. Drawing with chalk
  14. Singing silly songs
  15. Using building toys to simply build with no plan and then knocking them over
  16. Sand play
  17. Running around a butterfly in the garden
  18. Building a sand castle
  19. Laying on a blanket and watching the clouds move during the day
  20. Counting the stars at night
  21. Skipping rocks in the river
  22. Hanging out barefoot on the beach
  23. Laughing without any reason with someone, clapping to increase the energy of laughter
  24. Looking at the clouds and trying to find an Angel or a heart,
  25. Looking for heart-shaped rocks on the beach.
  26. When someone reads to me
  27. Throwing a frisbee on the beach
  28. Playing fetch with the dog
  29. Dancing and hanging out with my friends
  30. Watching cartoons
  31. Listening and dancing to the vinyl classics
  32. Tubing in the river
  33. Group indoor games
  34. Rolling down a grass covered hill
  35. Sharing jokes
  36. Building a snowman
  37. Going for a bike ride with a friend, with no particular destination

Maybe you would like to try one of these today?

Let Play Transform Your Life for the Better

Because you deserve to forget about your work, commitments, or troubles every once in a while.  That’s what play can help you do.  So don’t just look at this list, feel momentarily inspired, and then set it outside.  Sit down right now and decide how you’re going to incorporate more play into your life.

Make a list of the childlike activities that always make YOU feel good.  Then schedule a few each week. Invite your friends over for a game night or take your partner out to throw a frisbee on the beach, go to an amusement park, or sing karaoke.

Have fun and let the power of play transform your life for the better.

P.S.  If you are drawn to the idea of play, you might also like 21 Super-Easy Tiny Pleasures Guaranteed to Destroy Stress.

So what are your favorite childlike activities that make you feel good even as an adult?  I would love to hear!

Thank you for your presence, I know your time is precious!  Don’t forget to sign up for my e-letter and get access to all the free self-development resources (e-books, mini-guides + worksheets) in the Always Well Within Library. May you be happy, well, and safe – always.  With love, Sandra

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17 Comments

  1. Great list and we need play in our lives so much especially as adults….something I lost and found. Play, for me, releases the creative energy I have inside, and connects me to my true self.

    • Donna, I love your description of how play releases creative energy for you and connects you to your true self. I need to “work” on play, that’s one reason I wrote this post!!!!

  2. I have come to to appreciate play in my life after spending most of it thinking that play was frivolous or even embarrassing. I regret that I did not play more with my kids when they were little. Life has generously given me a second chance with grandchildren. I have the luxury when I spend time with them of just following their lead. Children know very well how to play and they will teach us if we make the time and pay attention.

    Love all the activities listed, and I can definitely commit to making time to eat ice cream!

    • I’m glad you got such a wonderful second chance with your grandchildren, Galen. I think it’s quite typical for most adults to lose touch with their playful side as adults. Here’s to regaining our playful hearts. And, of course, yes to ice cream.

  3. Spending time with my nephews Sandra reintroduces me to play. They are so in the moment and enjoying every minute of life. Also a visit to the state fair yesterday brought out the playfulness in me.

    Thank you for sharing these reminders of play and encouraging us to do more of it our lives.

  4. Love the idea of play! As I went down your list, I found that play is something that I do daily 🙂

  5. Thanks for a delightful post, Sandra. Elisha Goldstein writes all about how play is essential to mental health. Thanks for the reminder. I don’t get enough. Now, I know I have some bubbles around here somewhere! 🙂

    • Yay for bubbles!!!! You’re welcome, Debbie. Good to know about Elisha Goldstein. He’s great on mindfulness too.

  6. Hi Sandra,
    I just landed on your blog and just wanted to say that I am loving the content.

    I like the list! The simplest things in life are often the most rewarding and joyful!

  7. I have a long list of things I do and things I think I might do some day but let me throw these into the pot for fun: making a blanket fort. Glamping in the backyard. Drawing and painting with your non-dominant hand. Walking down the beach with your eyes closed.

    LOL! I took a very unusual clown training in Canada that was tremendous fun and I think improv classes and singing groups are great ways to play too. Plus ecstatic dance gatherings… It is a muscle I work on frequently and with lots of commitment. <3

  8. Oh I love love love play! My hubby and my daughter often ask me…”when will you grow up?” To which I respond with a very naughty, “never ever!” 😉
    My favorite way to play is with my little girl…tickle fest ofcourse tops the list. Then I love to watch animated feel good movies,tv shows and I also play computer games. I go play all sorts of games with my little girl and her friends. Yup…never planning to grow up.

    • Isn’t it great to have a little girl to remind you of play! I know you love your so much. Thanks for these great ideas, Zenenat. Definitely hope you never grow up!

  9. I was struck by how many of these I only did when I was a kid. But I’m happy to report I counted the stars on Saturday night at least!

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