Why You Need to Play Like A Kid Again

When we were kids the world was whatever we wanted it to be.

Our imaginations set the stage.

Reason and responsibility didn’t exist.

We played.

In our made-up worlds we were astronauts, cowboys and pop stars.

A blanket on the living room floor became a dessert island. A cardboard box could be anything from a hat to a rocket ship.

When we took to colouring, the green dog sitting next to the purple tree looked just perfect.

We made crazy faces, used pots and pans as musical instruments and spun in circles in the middle of the lawn until we fell down dizzy.

We listened to stories that our parents read to us and imagined those magical places over and over again.

Then we grew up.

And somewhere along the way, we lost our ability to imagine the impossible.

We were influenced by the rules and consequences that come with being an adult.

It’s a shame really.

We were so creative back then.

We played. Not for any outcome or purpose. We just played.

Wouldn’t it be wonderful to tap into that again? Even for a moment? To find that inner child that is still with us? To open our minds to the creative beings we once were?

We can.

Research shows that playing like a kid can work wonders for boosting creativity in adults.

Dr. Stuart Brown, Author of the book Play: How It Shapes the Brain, Opens the Imagination, and Invigorates the Soul writes:

“I have gathered and analyzed thousands of case studies that I call play histories. I have found that remembering what play is all about and making it part of our daily lives are probably the most important factors in being a fulfilled human being. The ability to play is critical not only to being happy, but also to sustaining social relationships and being a creative, innovative person.” Dr. Stuart Brown, Founder, National Institute for Play

Click here for a TED talk by Stuart Brown.

Playing helps to spark creativity, revives our energy, relieves stress and opens our minds to a fresh outlook. It encourages problem solving and innovative thinking. It’s a palette cleanse of all the restrictions of our adult life.

We have it in our power to feel that freedom of creativity and the joy of play.

Want to catch a glimpse of your childhood imagination?

You’ll remember doing some of these things. No reason you can’t do them again. Remind yourself that your creativity is alive and well…sometimes it just needs a little encouragement!

  • Lie under a tree and look up through the branches and leaves. Something as simple as a change of perspective opens us up to new ways of looking at the world.
  • Swing on a swing or play on a teeter-totter. Roll down a grassy or snowy hill. Jump rope, Kick a ball around the park for nothing…no rules, no goals. It’s amazing how much fun this can be…movement for the sake of it…going nowhere…for no reason.
  • Run through the sprinkler. Remember the fun of that? Running through the freezing cold water and squealing with laughter. Or how about walking in the rain and purposely sloshing through the puddles?
  • Colour. There are loads of adult colouring books out there. But even a kids one will do. Encourage your creativity by having fun with colour. Make that leaf or bird any shade you choose. And don’t worry too much about staying inside the lines!
  • Put on some crazy music and dance…with no one watching. You know the saying….”Dance like no one is watching”. Move however you want to. Let the rhythm take you away… just like you did when you were a kid without a self-conscious bone in your body.
  • Try reading for no purpose other than pure escapism. Maybe a sappy romance? Or how about re-reading a childhood classic or favourite? We sometimes get so caught up in reading what we “should” that the pure joy of an imaginary world is lost. Even better if you can read outside under a tree or stretched out on a blanket.
  • Blow bubbles. Remember trying to make one huge bubble and have it float away without breaking too soon? Or how about some bubble gum? Those were good bubbles too!
  • Walk barefoot in the grass. When was the last time you did that? Concentrate on how the grass feels on your feet. It’s believed this helps de-stress and calm the mind.
  • Daydream. Lay on your back, look up at the sky. Find shapes in the clouds. Try to empty your head of the constant chatter we all live with…the continual loop of everything we “should” or “could” be doing. Just be.


Use your childhood fun to remind yourself how it feels to use your imagination.

The idea is to play just for the sake of it.

Make a conscious effort to step out of your day-to-day routine and restrictions, even for a few minutes. Change your perspective and open your mind.

Remind yourself how it feels.

Then find ways to work play into your everyday life.

Even though creativity plateaus from time to time, it’s still in you.

Sometimes it just needs a little boost!


Post by Margaret Johnston,

As a career event professional, Margaret brings valuable insight and knowledge to the recruitment, management and development of high-performance teams for the event industry. A strategic and inspiring leader, Margaret has held executive roles for several global event management companies and key roles in the start up and orchestration of many high profile and international events.


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