How many times can you remember being told to act your age, not your shoe size?

While play is often seen as vital for a child’s development, in adults, it tends to be frowned upon a bit more. It’s as though when we hit adulthood, fun no longer means crashing through piles of leaves, dressing in bright colours, or playing with water pistols. 

But is it so bad to be childlike, at least in some ways?

Childlike endeavours as an adult can be joyful experiences – they can introduce us to new things and new friends or make us smile on an otherwise hectic day. 

They keep us young, figuratively and physically. 

Being an adult is busy work, so it can be difficult to even think about play let alone find the time to do it. So, to help you out, here are 10 things to do in your day that can add a little bit of childlike glee to the humdrum routines. 

  • Dance like no one’s watching

Not only do you get the health benefits of physical activity, but it can also lift your spirits. One 2021 study from UCLA Health found that the overwhelming majority of participants said that dancing improved their mood. It doesn’t matter if you’re on a night out or at home alone in your pyjamas, put on your favourite tune and go for it!

  • Paint a picture

Draw, doodle, paint – grab whatever you have on hand and let your imagination run free over the page. Don’t be afraid of feeling like a fool; your art doesn’t have to be objectively ‘good’. Just allow yourself to have fun with it! When you’re done, get it framed or printed on keepsakes that you can gift to friends and family.

If you’ve got a spare afternoon, fill your tote bags with supplies and snacks, go outdoors and have a go at drawing something that catches your eye. 

Adult colouring books can also be a great option if the thought of a blank piece of paper is more stressful than exciting. 

  • Get crafty 

Whether it’s something you missed out on in your childhood or something that has recently piqued your curiosity, learning a new skill or craft can help to recapture the sense of discovery and leave you with something to be proud of. 

There are hundreds of crafts to try out or get into – look locally to see if there are any clubs or workshops to try. Following free tutorials on YouTube is also an easy way to dip your toes into a new skill you may not have considered before.

  • Try something new from the menu  

It can be hard to let go of the tried and tested sometimes but give it a go – it will spice up mealtimes, and you might discover something different that truly tickles your taste buds. 

Healthwise, trying new foods will also mean adding variety to your diet, which not only helps to improve your overall nutrition but tucking into something delicious can also be a great mood-booster

  • Daydream 

As a kid, you might have been told off once or twice for daydreaming – but sometimes, it’s good to have your head in the clouds. Think of it as ‘thinking for pleasure’. Daydreaming can have many positive impacts on your well-being, including easing stress as well as expanding your creativity. 

Find fantasy in normality, go cloud-watching, plan performances in your head – there are no limits to what you can daydream about.

  • Sing 

Singing has been scientifically proven to make you happier. Like dancing, it releases endorphins, which help to lift your overall mood. 

Listen to music that brings back memories – from your favourite childhood film, the music you listened to as a teenager, or even make up your own tune – let it go and sing to your heart’s content.

  • Play games 

Play and laughter release endorphins, the body’s feel-good chemicals, which help to lower our stress levels and increase happiness. Whether it’s board games, computer games, or mobile games, spending at least a little time playing can improve cognitive function and boost your problem-solving, especially when it involves challenging the mind.

Try tapping into your inner child with the toys you used to play with. 

LEGO, for example, now has a range of complex sets catered specifically towards adults based on art, nature, science, and history, as well as popular culture. 

  • Splash in puddles

Research suggests that when kids jump in puddles, it’s helping them to develop skills such as balance and control over movement. It’s also just plain fun. So, if it’s been raining recently, pop on your wellies and go for a muddy walk. 

Squelch in the mud, splash in the puddles – we guarantee that you’ll laugh. 

  • Dopamine dressing 

The recent trend of ‘dopamine dressing’ is rooted in the idea that your outfit can be utilised in a way that boosts your mood. The goal is to encourage the production of dopamine, which can help to make you feel happier and more confident. 

Dopamine dressing is influenced by personal experience and can be more nuanced than just wearing bright colours – it’s about choosing pieces and colours based on the positive associations you have with them. 

  • Laugh 

There’s a good reason why people say laughter is the best medicine. Smiling and laughing often throughout your day is an amazing way to add playfulness to your daily routine and has many benefits both for your physical and mental health. It can lower stress levels, relieve pain, and help you to connect with those around you

Taking time out to play and be a big kid can completely transform your mindset, helping you to enjoy life more fully. The world has so many things to discover (or even rediscover).

So be ever curious. Keep looking up, keep exploring. And to end with another popular saying that you should always remember when you’re feeling stuck: age is just a number.  

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