When did you last escape your responsibilities—work, bills, groceries—to play and goof around like you did as a child? Adult playtime may be more important than you realize. In addition to providing an opportunity to have fun, playtime has a host of physiological and psychological benefits, including:
- Healthier immune system
- Improved sense of connectedness
- Increased empathy
- Boosted creativity
- Reduced stress (especially when paired with laughter)
- A positive outlook on life
To promote these benefits, adult playtime opportunities such as the following have been established.
- At the Intergenerational Learning Center, children and seniors come together to sing, dance, tell stories, and create art projects—giving seniors a renewed sense of self-worth.
- At Camp No Counselors, adults can disconnect from life’s stressors, make friends, and participate in playful activities such as dodgeball, zip lining, nature hikes, and talent shows.
- The San Francisco Games Group meets twice a week to play board games and cards. Open to anyone who wants to join, the group was started 20 years ago as a way for people to socialize and connect over games. Whether it’s playing a game of Monopoly or joining a sports league, playing in groups is a great way to maintain social well-being.
There are countless ways to let loose and have fun. Here are six ideas to get you started.
1. Host a Game Night
Board games are social in nature, generally requiring more than one participant. Whether you prefer a game night with the whole family or strictly with adults, board games exist for every occasion. Just keep in mind the main objective is to play and have fun, not to win.
2. Color in a Book
Growing in popularity, adult coloring books recently topped Amazon’s bestselling book list. Coloring is a form of creative expression that can help reduce your stress and increase your ability to live in the moment. The books can be found online or in bookstores.
3. Surround Yourself with Playful People
Spend time with friends, family members, or coworkers who are innately curious, playful, and open to trying new things. They may be more inclined to support your decision to incorporate playtime in your routine and might even want to participate.
4. Join a Sports League
Sports leagues are ideal if you enjoy being active and competitive. Whether tennis, basketball, or flag football, adult leagues can keep you physically and socially healthy—and they’re fun.
5. Think Back to Childhood
What games, sports, and activities did you enjoy as a child? Did you like riding your bike? Fixing things? Playing tennis? Think back to the activities you enjoyed most and brainstorm how you could incorporate them into your life now.
6. Play with Children (the Experts)
Children know how to play—it comes naturally to most of them. If you have nieces, nephews, grandchildren, or children of your own, make time to play with them. Observe their abilities to live in the moment, and learn how to incorporate their playfulness into your own life.