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Admission: I’ve forgotten how to play. I’m not sure when it happened, but the seriousness of life has overtaken me. The burden of adult living has weighed heavy lately. Maybe for you too. This is the week my kids begin summer. This is our first classic summer break since our year-round school option has dissolved. This year, Josh and Luke will experience a traditional American (forever-long) summer. Because, for me, “play” has been more a theatrical story you go to watch rather than a fun, frolicking time, I am sensing my own need to surrender to levity, fluid time and leisure.

How will I do this? Ummm… one day at a time. A few things will help. Remembering “play” is a synonym for “make”. (I love making stuff). “Play” is about the here and now, not the end product. (I don’t have to compete). Play involves participating, not being on the sidelines watching. (I have to be willing to leave my “critic” behind and take a chance to fail, to be vulnerable, etc.). Most importantly, bringing a playful attitude into the space is imperative. (I must loosen my fists and let go of control, the outcome and allow for spontaneous laughter). The present moment whispers, “Yes, Ally, life is not work all the time. You can relax and enjoy.”

Okay. I think I’ll try that for a while.



25 Playful Ideas for Adults (for use with or without children)


  1. Spend time with a coloring book.
  2. Watch life-giving TV without having a time limit attached.
  3. 
Lay in the grass. Look at the clouds. Use your imagination.
  4. Get out a hose. Let yourself be sprayed.
  5. Make origami.
  6. Make lemonade. Lay around and read a book for a long time. Sip lemonade as you read.
  7. Cram some classic tunes. Have a dance party.
  8. Watch Kid President. Get inspired.
  9. Find a park with a big grassy area. Throw a ball or frisbee.
  10. Think of a friend who makes you laugh. Call him/her.
  11. Sit in a chair while you oversee your kids make a dessert. Let them make a mess. It’s okay, it doesn’t have to be perfect.
  12. Get out a canvas. Paint without having an idea of an end image in mind. Just paint the colors, shapes, words, emotions that arise.
  13. Plan a day trip but keep it a surprise for those coming along.
  14. 
Play games without keeping score. Why? Simply to build relationships, have fun, and not worry about the “winner”.
  15. Make a picnic. Eat it in your own yard on a blanket.
  16. 
Grab a camera. Take photos as your day unfolds.
  17. Everyone grab their favorite book. Take turns reading a portion of each.
  18. Have a sing-a-long.
  19. Get out some clay. Turn it into your favorite animal.
  20. Hike a local trail with your kids (yes, there will probably be complaining. Bring water & snacks. Make light of their hot, sticky irritation).
  21. Find water (lake, ocean, pool). Swim on your back. Bounce a beach ball.
  22. Go to a playground. Swing in the swings.
  23. Make an obstacle course. Run through it.
  24. Throw popcorn in the air and try to catch it with your mouth.
  25. Write gratitude to God for all the ways you enjoy play in your life.