Health & Well-Being

Adults Need to Play More

It was so easy being a kid, all you had to do was eat, sleep, and play. Now as we get older, we realize that adults need to play more.

“The body heals with play, the mind heals with laughter, and the spirit heals with joy.” This unknown author speaks powerful words.

When our grandchildren were younger, they loved the playground. We watched as they sailed down the slide and rose high on the swings. Their squeals of laughter were music to our ears.

The playground was a part of our childhoods, too, and being there brought back heartwarming memories that felt so good.

Kids Learn Through Playing

Babies and young children learn new things about their environment and themselves through play. Preschoolers and older children practice life skills and develop their bodies, minds, and social interactions through play. They also engage in group learning, sharing, negotiating, and resolving conflicts through play. Continuing into adolescence and adulthood, play contributes to a well-rounded and joyful existence.

But for many of us, adulthood brings an end to play. Between personal, family, and professional responsibilities, play not only takes a back seat, but is also deemed immature and irresponsible. But the truth is, we cease playing because there’s little time to do so in our lives.

Adults Need to Play More & Have Fun Doing It

Even though we’re busy with everyday responsibilities and schedules, it’s important to make time for leisure. Play empowers us to be flexible, creative, young-at-heart, and free-spirited. It provides an opportunity for pure enjoyment and doesn’t need real structure. Play is a free-flowing and healing fun that unleashes our imagination.

Like how healthy food sustains physical wellness, play benefits our health and emotional well-being. Play and laughter are stress-relievers, triggering the release of feel-good hormones called endorphins that combat stress.

Find your inner child and return to some childhood activities. Or engage in a wide range of adult fun-filled playtime activities. Here are some ways to play.


Painting, writing, crafts, photography, collecting — these are just some of the hobby’s adults enjoy. My mother-in-law collects miniature porcelain shoes. My husband enjoyed toy soldiers as a child, and now loves creating detailed dioramas. A good friend took a photography course, sharing his amazing photos with others. Choose something you love and something that is fun.

Have some kid-friendly fun blowing bubbles with family or friends. You never know; you may outdo yourself and blow the most giant bubble of your life!

Family Board Games

We love interacting with our family through board games. And even the grandkids enjoy it, setting aside their video games and cellphones to join the game.

Lawn and Pool Games

Another great group activity, but with the added pleasure of being outdoors! Croquet, corn-hole, volleyball, or bocce are great places to start. They’re fun and engage our competitive spirit, releasing some adrenaline. Be sure to win or lose graciously.

Soft Adventure Activities

Though maturity may take activities like mountain climbing or strenuous hikes off the table, we can still enjoy outdoor excitement. And you may not be up for intense whitewater rafting — but you can still whitewater raft! On a recent Florida trip, a group of gals of varying ages embarked on a 2.5-hour kayak eco-trip. Two had never kayaked before. No problem. Our guide was amazing and patient and instilled confidence in the newbies. I’m not sure we’ve ever laughed so much together.

Entertaining at the Next Level

Forget those boring neighborhood get-togethers. Plan a Halloween costume party or hold a murder mystery event wherein attendees dress in character and playact through the evening. It’s really fun!

Plan a Playcation

Find that inner kid. Not into camping? Try glamping. Or stay in a treehouse. Perhaps it’s time for a trip to Disneyland. How about going to your county fair? Ride those kiddie rides and take a spin on the Ferris wheel. Walk through the funhouse and laugh. Eat cotton candy, popcorn, or a funnel cake. Or try your hand at a carnival game. You might get lucky!

Life is short. Too often, the real world gets in the way of enjoying the time we have. Adults need time to play more, so make time. Your body, mind, and spirit will thank you for it.


Noreen Kompanik

Noreen Kompanik is a freelance journalist, associate editor, and speaker from San Diego. A retired registered nurse, she now travels the world and writes about her adventures. Her stories have appeared in TravelPulse, Edible San Diego Magazine, Europe Up Close, International Living and more.

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