Play – Create a Healthier Mind – Part II

(Continued from – We all need more of it – Play!! – Part I)

Winter-time in Melfort

In the winter months we would slide down the Big Hill, bumper shine on the backs of cars on ice covered streets, go ice skating, play street hockey, hang out at the rinks and the list goes on and on. We had a life full of excitement, adventures, and laughter. I wouldn’t change a thing!

So why HAS this all changed??

Well, we were taught during some informative years that growing up does come with responsibility; which I am in agreement with to some degree. However, being and adult doesn’t mean we need to give up on fun! Growing up should not mean we have to let go of our inner child. Being a responsible parent doesn’t have to come at the loss of a life skill that keeps our imagination and spirit suppressed. We need to unlock this playful side that is begging to get out. We need to teach it to breathe once again.

After analyzing my play time as a child and how happy I was back then I started to evaluate my fun and game time as an adult. After some deliberation I realized that I needed to crank things up a notch. The only way to regain some of those carefree benefits I had as a child is to take action and make it happen.

Here is a list of suggestions that might help you find that inner child again. You will be amazed at the smile you will create on your own face as well as others. When you have decided to create a happier life you should make yourself a promise like I did. Give those you are connecting with your undivided attention. You will see a shift from them within the first activity.

  • Dress up on Halloween with your children
  • Build snowmen together
  • Go bike riding as a family and don’t have a solid plan as to where you are headed, spontaneity has an element of surprise and everyone loves surprises.
  • Go to a children’s movie with your youngsters
  • Find a local mini-golf course and every now and again let them win 😉
  • Plan a treasure hunt game and play along
  • Do a craft together
  • Bake their favorite dish together and let them get their hands dirty
  • Teach them how to fly a kite
  • Build an age friendly puzzle together
  • Get down to your child’s level, if they are very young play make believe games with them. Let their imagination guide you by letting them make the rules of the game.
  • Take them to a magic show
  • Play with pets
  • Play board games and cards and try and teach them that the goal is not about winning
  • Turn some children’s music on and dance with them
  • Let us not forget peek-a-boo with babies, their giggles are contagious
  • Take your children swimming or hook up the sprinkler outside on the lawn and run through it with them.
  • Watch fireworks together or better yet, lay on the grass with them and watch the northern lights at night
  • Go fishing together, I love seeing a child catch their first fish and hearing that scream of excitement
  • Water sports behind a boat are also a way to show your children how it’s done, get on that tube with them, or put on those water skis!!
  • Help them build a sand castle at the beach
  • Read to them for 10 minutes every night and if possible act out some of the characters in the book, make funny faces and change your voice up

For the teens and adults in your life the following list is age appropriate.

  • A game of hide the flag in the park at dark – split friends into 2 teams
  • Board and card games
  • Relay races
  • Dice games
  • Go bowling as a group
  • Play street hockey or broom ball or softball
  • Camp out in the wilderness in a tent together
  • Go golfing together and the one who finds the most balls in the bush wins! The real score winner buys dinner, beer or a treat
  • Change your first name for a day – maybe while on holidays – wear name tags
  • Hit the biking and hiking trails and pack a lunch for the day
  • Play water volleyball together
  • Start a fishing tournament that could run all season long, then hand out some goofy trophies at the end of the season and celebrate together with a pot luck (thanks to my cousin and his wife for this idea)

These two lists of suggestion above are great for training the mind to have fun. This also helps to develop creativity, bonding, a sense of well being, releases stress which in turn helps you to relax. Having fun through interaction of games helps to built trust, lightens your mood and increases brain function. When the game is over you will sit back and physically feel younger. I’m sure you could even use the adult list for ideas to help build relationships at work. Interaction through play will nourish your spirit, clear your frazzled mind and reconnect you to the ones you love. Laughter really does have medicinal qualities.  

If you are flying Solo…


If you are a single person who doesn’t get out in public much you can strengthen your mind by working on puzzles, memory games on the computer like Lumosity, play solitaire, do crossword puzzles, read, color, try paint by numbers, and knitting or crocheting. Also, getting a change of scenery is beneficial, visit with others, and learn a new word everyday from your dictionary. Exercise daily; a 10 minute walk will have you feeling better almost instantly. Reach out to others in need, eat a healthy balanced diet, get enough sleep, and pray or meditate at least four times a week. Try some journaling, watch a comedy show, take a few needed cat naps, practice an instrument, drink enough water, and remember to change up your routine.

There are many more ways to ignite your playful side. The important thing is to make the conscious decision and do it!

Ask, Listen and be Watchful,

Shelley Transparent Signature


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