Play, within a child's world, is often called a "child's work," because it is within play where children tend to engage in life most freely.
Play, in the adult realm, is often believed to be unnecessary or self indulgent, as in "What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas..." and while that may be one way to play, I would like to suggest that play should be happening for all of us much more often than during Spring Break, or on a summertime vacation. In fact, the reason this post is so late this month is that I took a rare vacation myself in early April. I was going to work over Spring Break, and then I realized I wasn't practicing what I preach!
Play reinvigorates our souls, connects us to our deepest selves and allows authenticity and vitality to emerge, without the constraints of who or what we "should," be or do in our lives. When we engage in play, whether it's belly laughing with our children, engaging in artistic endeavors, playing sports, surfing, riding our bikes, spending time with friends or on vacations, or just taking a walk or going to the spa - we are connecting ourselves to our inner child.
No matter how old we become, our inner child never leaves us, and so we need to take care of the parts of us which so often become depleted or lost, in the service of our constant "adulting," (as my kids say!).
And, I would also suggest that it is quite important to teach our children and teens about the importance of play - because if we aren't playing here and there - they won't know how or believe that they are worthy of playing and taking care of their inner child....and broken inner children create broken inner adults, who are ripe for addiction, depression, anxiety, health problems...and the list goes on and on.
As a therapist, I often ask people to tell me what they did as children for fun, in order to help them re-connect to their true passions, callings and personal joys.
So, here are the questions and ideas for April:
Questions: What did you do as a kid that you did just because it made you happy or made you feel free inside? What do you do now that does the same thing or what do you need to do again?
Ideas: After you have established what type of play may be missing in your life, what do you need to do to make play happen? What excuses or issues get in the way of you loving your inner child enough to show yourself that you are worthy of play, rest and joy?
Here are some great ways to play and connect to your inner child:
Catch a Midnight Movie at the Drive-In
See where the road leads you on an unplanned drive
Jump in Puddles
Visit a Farm
Pose for Pictures While Hotel Bed Jumping
Let Balloons Go
Take a Train Ride
Be intimate with someone
Get Dressed Up For A Stay Date
Turn Your Sidewalk Into an Art Gallery
Play Follow the Leader or Simon Says
Wage a Spit Ball War
Go Fly A Kite
Get Lost in a Good Book
Make Up Your Own Song
Learn a Magic Trick
Find a Swimming Hole
Smell the Roses
Press Pause, Do Nothing
Visit A Play Therapist
Host a Gratitude Lunch
Pick Fruit Fresh From the Tree
Create a Vision Board
Take a Leisurely Stroll- Often
Listen to the Rain
Learn to Make Jam
Pretend with your partner
Make a playlist of your favorite music
Yoga and Meditation
Take a drive along the coast
Play an online or board game with your kids
Sit in the quiet
Take a cooking class
Get a puppy or kitten
Learn to surf or paddle board
Have a "make each laugh" contest
Plan a dream vacation
Dr. Kim Sage