I’ve already written about the power of play and why we need more of it in our lives. Yes, even – and especially – adults. If you’re not sure what in the world I’m talking about, pause here and go read this quote and this post.
Okay, now you’re all caught up to how essential it is to play. But how do you incorporate it into your daily life? How do you find new ways to play, so you can get out of your leisure-time rut? Here are some tips for adding more play to your day.
- Dance in the kitchen. Turn up the tunes and dance like no one’s watching. Or if you don’t care if they watch, and participate, invite friends or family members to join you. Get your groove on. Try some goofy moves. Mock the lyrics. Just let yourself go and follow your body’s lead.
- Play cosmic chess. This is a fun game I used to play with my friend Luke, years ago. Everything in your environment is a possible chess piece. There are no rules, other than taking turns. You make up the moves as you go along. As part of a match, we once created an amazing impromptu sculpture of salt & pepper shakers, a napkin holder, and other stuff on the dining room table. The winner was unanimously declared when the pile fell over. You might even want to create a fancy cosmic chess set, like this, but it’s not strictly necessary.
- Color and doodle. Sure, adult coloring books are all the rage. Don’t dismiss the idea just because it’s trendy. It simply means that amazing artwork will be more readily available. If you’re super artsy, create your own coloring pages. Play with markers and colored pencils and even crayons. Put colors together that don’t ever collide in nature. Color outside the lines if you feel like it.
- Have a boffer battle. Boffers are fake padded swords, used by those who re-enact medieval battles. They’re easy to make with PVC pipe, foam, and duct tape. JFGI (just freaking google it). Make a set and have a crazy battle with a friend.
- Play with rocks. I love to play with little polished rocks and crystals. I carry them in my pockets like tiny pets. Other people enjoy playing with bigger rocks, making cairns or stone walls. You can collect them from the beach or wherever you go – I find there is always a rock looking to hitch a ride to a new locale. Rocks move very slowly on their own, so they’re often happy for our quick feet and wheeled vehicles.
- Laugh at yourself and life’s odd moments. You know the ones – the GPS gets you totally lost, you forgot to bring that essential item with you, you trip over your own feet (often right in front of that special guy or gal). Find the humor in these little “fail” moments.
- Have a scavenger hunt. Find a playful friend or a team and create a scavenger hunt, or find one online that sounds fun. Play your way around the neighborhood or town. If you don’t want to physically collect items, use your phone’s camera and collect photographic proof.
- Dress up for no reason. Take yourself out for morning coffee in an evening gown or tux. Wear all your favorite colors and patterns and tie dyes at once. Don a fancy cap. Act natural and pretend you don’t know why people are looking at you oddly. Take silly selfies.
- Make refrigerator poems. You know those magnet words you can put on your fridge door? Get some and make ridiculous poetry. Start a story and see who continues it. Anonymously put some on the staff fridge at work and see if others play along.
- Play with pets. Dogs love to play chase the ball or stick. If you don’t have a dog, borrow one for a couple of hours. Cats, in the right mood, will play so kittenishly that they will have you laughing until you’re in tears. Catnip is a good motivator. My cats like to play with me and my rocks and crystals, especially if I’m setting up an altar or doing a Tarot reading.
- Flirt with someone. Sure, be safe and respectful and all that – I know you have good manners. But in the right setting, a few moments of mutual flirtation will lift your mood. Playful verbal banter is encouraged.
- Ask a question. When you’re grappling with a big issue or some uncertainty, ask a question to the Universe at large. Then practice playfully reading the answers in your environment. Each Facebook meme could be a clue. The pattern of ducks swimming in the pond or the shape of clouds are potential omens. Open a book at random and read a line in response to your question. Consider all of these replies equally, and with a light heart.
- Get side-tracked. Sometimes we’re out and about and we have an impulse to go a different way, stop into a new shop, or call a friend out of the blue. Follow those impulses! They will often lead to delightfully playful encounters. You can even set up a playdate on purpose – invite a friend to have tea or a picnic, and bring food you’ve never tried before or a silly new game to play.
- Invent a silly game. Need a silly game to bring to a playdate? Invent one! Kids are genius at this. Be sure that the game requires liberal use of your imagination. If you come up with a fun game, I’d love to hear about it; post a description in the comments.
Get playing, and enjoy!