Fun and play shouldn’t end with childhood.
You’re an adult now, and the time for playing and having fun is over, right? Wrong! Adults can, and should, play and have fun. In fact, there are studies that show the many benefits of playing for adults, which include increased creativity, productivity, and feelings of well-being.
Adults need play. Below you’ll find ten ways in which adults can play more and have more fun.
1. Set the Goal of Playing More. Start by setting a goal to have more fun. When we think of setting goals we usually think of serious things, such as losing weight, quitting smoking, making more money, or starting a small business. However, the goal of having more fun is just as important as those more adult-sounding goals. After all, what’s the point of being thin, having more money, and having your own business if you’re not enjoying yourself?
2. Decide What Fun Means For You. A lot of the time adults can’t even remember what they like to do. Or maybe they’ve outgrown the things that they liked to do in the past and they haven’t gotten around to identifying new things that they enjoy. If this is you, there are two steps you need to follow:
- First, sit down and make a list of the things that you enjoyed doing as a kid. Then, go over your list and highlight those things that still sound appealing.
- Google “fun ideas for adults” or “bucket list ideas“. You’re looking for ideas on fun things you may want to try. Once you have your list, just like before, highlight the ideas that sound most interesting.
3. Set a Fun Minimum. Just as you tell yourself that you’re going to exercise for at least half-an-hour a day (I sincerely hope that you’re telling yourself this), tell yourself that you’re also going to do something fun for at least half-an-hour-a-day. In addition, do the following:
- Set aside one day a week in which you’re going to have a minimum of two hours of fun.
- Set aside at least two weeks a year which you’re going to devote entirely to having fun.
4. Put Fun In Your Schedule. If you don’t schedule something, it’s unlikely to happen. Therefore, if you want to play more and have more fun, you have to schedule it.
In addition, scheduling fun is important for your productivity. As I explain in my eBook, Make It Happen!, scheduling fun will make you less likely to procrastinate. Why? Think of it this way: it’s as if you have two different people living in your head. One of these people is an adult, and the other one is a little kid.
The adult wants to get to work. They want to finish the progress report that’s due on Monday, and prepare the tax returns with plenty of time to spare before they have to be filed. However, the kid in your head has other ideas. They could care less about the report and the tax returns. The kid just wants to play and have fun!
Here’s the thing: if you’ve ever been around kids you know that you can’t just force them to behave and sit still all the time. If you do this, they’ll rebel. That is, they’ll get in the way when you’re trying to work. If you want a kid to sit still, you have to promise them a reward. The reward is playtime.
If the kid knows that there’s ice skating scheduled at 3:00 p.m., or that you’re going dancing at 8:00 p.m., or that you’re going to spend all of Saturday afternoon building model airplanes, the kid will calm down and allow the adult to work until that time. By scheduling fun, both the adult and the kid in your head win.
In order to make sure that you achieve your goal of having more fun and playing more, schedule it.
5. Create a Play Drawer. A while back the book “Simple Abundance: A Daybook of Comfort and Joy” by Sarah Ban Breathnach spent several months on the New York Time’s bestsellers list.
One of things that Ban Breathnach recommends in her book is to create a comfort drawer to “stockpile small indulgences” for “those nights when you feel as if you’d like to pull the covers over your head and never come out.” It should include items to pamper yourself, however you view pampering.
Using the comfort drawer as inspiration, create a play drawer for those times when you need a break from work and you just want to be silly for a while. Here are some ideas for things you can include in your play drawer:
- Jigsaw puzzles.
- Coloring books for adults — adult coloring book sales are skyrocketing. After all, coloring is an absorbing and relaxing activity. Some of the bestsellers on Amazon include Secret Garden: An Inky Treasure Hunt and Coloring Book and Enchanted Forest: An Inky Quest & Coloring Book.
- Play-Doh — there’s play dough for adults now, but I think the kids’ version is great.
When you have a few minutes to spare here and there, open your drawer, pick something, and play.
6. Combine Fun With Other Activities. Think of the things on your to-do list, and then look for ways to make them more fun. For example, I’ve already mentioned exercise. When most people think of exercise they think of self-sacrifice and drudgery. However, exercise can be fun.
Here are some ideas:
- Shop around for an exercise class that you enjoy. Try SoulCycle, Zumba, pole dancing, and so on. Don’t stop until you find a class that feels like play to you.
- Join a sports team. If you loved to play soccer or baseball as a kid, find a team for adults and join.
- Gamify your exercise. As an illustration, if you jog, get an app that lets you pretend that you’re being chased by zombies. You’ll be staying fit, surviving a zombie apocalypse, and having fun, all at the same time.
- Remember bouncy castles? Those were so much fun! The adult equivalent is a mini-trampoline! And it turns out that rebounding is one of the best exercises that there is.
7. Have More Fun at Work. In my post, 25 Ways to Have More Fun at Work, I explain that fun and humor in the workplace have many benefits.
Gather the studies out there that show how having fun at work has a positive impact on the bottom line, and prepare a presentation for your boss. In addition, volunteer to create and head a “fun committee”. You’ll start having more fun at work, and your co-workers will love you for it.
8. Have Play-Dates With Your Significant Other. Date-night doesn’t have to be dinner and a movie. Instead, you can go to a theme park, go on a scavenger hunt, or play paintball. After all, as I explain in my post “18 Ways to Keep Your Relationship Strong“, you’ll be strengthening your relationship by keeping playfulness alive.
9. Befriend a Fun Person. The people you hang out with will have an enormous impact on your life. If you need to relearn how to relax, be more spontaneous, laugh more, and simply be more willing to play, look for someone who’s already doing these things. Then, follow their lead.
10. Hang Out With a Kid. Little kids innately know how to play and have fun. When I need to have more fun, I visit my nephews. They never disappoint. In fact, I visited them on Wednesday of last week. We juggled, played a game that involved hopping around the house, and even danced to Joey Montana’s song, “Picky”. It was fantastic!
As an adult, you have every right to enjoy yourself. In fact, adults need play. George Bernard Shaw once said, “We don’t stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing.”
Use the ten tips above to add more fun and play to your life. Live your best life by playing more and having more fun.