How to Increase Joy with Carefree Playfulness

Today I watched two squirrels chase each other up and down trees. They were fast! A realized I was smiling just witnessing their carefree, childlike play.

Oh, for the love of play! Complete with giggles and silliness. Just thinking about it brings about a lightness to my mind. Sometimes it’s fun to release stress with carefree, childlike playfulness and laughter!

Women laughing and having fun

Having young children was a great reason to play. I have fond memories of playing with my children when they were young. We’d dance in the livings room, swim for endless hours in the lake, set our record for volleying a ball back and forth in the driveway, and I could go on and on. Such fun!

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Adults Need Recess, Too!

Playing is fun and joyful. It refreshes and energizes both children and adults. That’s why fun and play shouldn’t end with childhood.

Recently, I’ve realized that I don’t take enough time to play… good old fashioned, carefree play!

I miss releasing my child-like self! Giggling and having silly fun makes me feel young and joyful!

I have “play” on my vision board, yet I want more carefree play in my life. It’s time to do something about that!

Vision board with playful activities
A portion of my vision board including friendships with bliss and play.

The Importance of Play According to Science

Play takes us back to a simpler time when having fun was the main focus of our life. In my opinion, that’s healthy for the mind, body and soul. But what does science say?

According to Mayo Clinic,

The benefits of play — for adults as well as kids — include stress management, joy and social engagement. 

Mayo clinic’s article continues on to say, “Evidence suggests that play is just as important for adults as it is for children. Along with challenging your body in new ways, active play provides opportunities for stress relief and social connections.”

Researcher Dr. Stuart Brown, founder of the US National Institute for Play, really shows the importance of play with this quote:

“The opposite of play is not work, it’s depression.”

~ Stuart Brown

Dr. Brown also describes play as:

Time spent without purpose. 

How often do you take time to do activities with no purpose?

Watch Dr. Stuart Brown’s TED video for more of his thoughts on play:


11 Activities to Play, and Get that Carefree, Child-Like Feeling

Woman dancing carefree

Are you like me and crave more fun, carefree play? Here are some ideas for activities that most any adults can do. Remember, the purpose according to Dr. Stuart Brown is to spend time without purpose.

Pick one and do it right now to get that carefree, childlike fun feeling! Well, finish reading this post, and then go for it!

  1. Play with your pet. Fetch with my dogs is downright therapeutic for me! A cat and some yarn is entertaining.
  2. Go swimming, complete with attempting the perfect hand stand.
  3. Color! Get out the crayons or markers and color. Don’t knock it until you try it! There are lots of adult coloring books, find one that suits your taste.
  4. Draw. Use your imagination and just have fun!
  5. Tell a story. Make one up or tell a story about when you were a child.
  6. Ask a friend fun questions. For example, which character would you be in the tv show Friends? Or… if you won a one week all-expenses paid trip to anywhere, where would you go?
  7. Play games! Get out some board or yard games, play cards, or go kick a ball. Games aren’t just for kids!
  8. Dance! It’s ok to dance by yourself. Turn on the music and let your living room be your dance floor. My friend, Marlene, used to get us gals dancing in her home when we gathered for ladies night. Great memories!
  9. Do your hobby. Garden, play a musical instrument, craft, scrapbook, write… if that’s not enough ideas, check out my list of 35 fun hobbies with free online tutorials.
  10. Build a snowman or sand castle, depending on the season.
  11. Challenge your colleagues to bring a joke of the day. It takes only a minute yet will bring laughs and fun to the lunchroom. (Lots of corny jokes here.)

Do those ideas get your imagination going? I bet you can think of at least 11 more!

Go Play!

There’s nothing like hearing the giggling and uninhibited screams of joy from children who are outside playing. It’s pure joy!

Let’s all learn from our younger selves and the children in our neighborhood. What did you enjoy doing as a child? Get out of your comfort zone and take a risk – give it a try again!

We may not have the same physical ability as our younger selves, but I’m pretty sure we all still have the ability to have just as much fun.

A child on a playground isn’t self-conscious – give yourself that same gift if only for a few minutes. Other than don’t hurt yourself or others, there are no rules!

Oh, you’re too busy? Listen to the research… play is important enough to schedule it on your calendar. Give yourself full permission to goof off!

“If it’s not fun, you’re not doing it right.”

~Bob Basso

Please feel free to leave me a comment with how you bring childlike play to your adult life!


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Adults having fun playing at the beach

2 Replies to “How to Increase Joy with Carefree Playfulness”

  1. Can’t wait for our week at the cottage to play more. I like to kayak, swim and just dig my toes in the sand. I am do lucky yo have grandkids who will be joining us. I love to hear them giggle and watch them enjoy life.
    One of my favorite indoor play items is a jigsaw puzzle. It totally calms me as I look for the right piece. It also reminds me of Christmas vacation. Every year we would get new puzzle for Christmas. Putting it together was a family activity. The best part was my dad would join in the fun.

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