We’ve spent 3 weekends leading activities and bringing the fun working at Camp Wildfire (google it – it’s awesome).
It’s a Summer camp for adults.
How cool is that?
A weekend just to play.
Climbing trees, making stuff, trapeze, quad biking, playing games, swing dancing, hot tubs, yoga, music and general good times.
I won’t lie, there was a bit of streaking.
(not on our watch I might add, but there were some hilarious photos from the other activities)
It was adults rather than ‘adult’.
See, playing is an interesting thing; we know it’s vital for children.
But people get to an age, I don’t know exactly when – that lots just… stop.
While others, like the people we just met – don’t.
I think that’s worth holding a magnifying glass up to.
Nietzsche said that inside every adult is a child that wants to play.
Not to argue with one of the World’s great philosophers – I’m not sure that’s true.
I think many of us have given up on it.
Maybe forgotten how.
Or even why.
I ran a children’s birthday party business for quite a few years – so play is something I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about.
When children play – they smile, they feel happy, free – fully engaged.
It’s incredibly mindful when you think about it.Completely in the moment – feeling what they feel, enjoying the colours, the spectacle, the games and music – laughing with their friends.
Not worried about the future or raking over the past.
A million miles from the heavy, stressed, world-weary experience we can associate with ‘growing up’.
When you think about it – why would anyone want to leave a colourful, carefree world to join the grey grind.
I know I dont.
As a side note; please don’t Google ‘Adult Play’ because that’s something completely different.
I’m not knocking it – go for your life – but that’s not where I’m going with this.
If we define play as joy for its own sake; something to lift the mood, spark creativity and recharge your energy battery – it’s got to be something worth aiming for, right?
Those things make you better company, happier, more productive and healthier.
And furthermore – they are things that you definitely won’t regret on your deathbed.
Times you played are what will become your highlight reel – so why not make it a muthafunking glorious one.
With all that in mind
Here are my 5 Favourite Play Tips
(don’t Google that either)
1. Change the little things
Coming under our definition above, tiny things to lift your mood absolutely fit.
Sprinkling moments of delight through your day.
Taking a nap, listening to music, calling a friend, laying on the grass, reading a book, piling your hot chocolate with marshmallows.
It all adds up and spikes any mundane with sparkle.
Make some changes – cut all your hair off, dye it a new colour – it grows back, trust me – you might have seen the mad things I’ve done with my barnet over the years.
Change your style, go 50s, go Goth, makeup something completely new – redesign your look – it will change your outlook.
Go to a different shop, a different pub, a different park, write with the other hand
(Amy’s kept that up for over 3 years)
shake up your world one mini funtime rebellion at a time.
Play with the everyday – it’s liberating.
2. Diary things
Honestly – I’ve been coaching people long enough to know that if things aren’t scheduled – they tend not to happen.
Definitely not regularly.
Your actions express your priorities, right?
That’s true of everything.
If you mean to feel lighter, play more and inject fun into your life – you’re going to have to ruthlessly carve out the time to make it happen.
The Zumba class, the run, waterpark, crafting, Escape Room, ice skating, book club, evening college, climbing a great big tree to sit on a sofa, go to the cinema or whatever it is.
Make doing your thing a non-negotiable, non-cancellable appointment
Like other people you know do.
You know what I’m talking about there
3. Spice up the boring
(a.k.a. dicking about a bit)
Some of life is just mundane.
That’s all there is to it.But if you approach it all in a playful way, it doesn’t need to be so dreary.
Some past sillinesses:
- Laundry fights with the children.
- Laundry darts (too long to explain, but involves throwing dirty clothes over the balcony for points)
- Cooking along to youtube doing our own voice-over.
- Mass paper aeroplane competition AND rolled up newspaper international football contest in a departure lounge.
- Roller boots to the corner shop.
- Beat Sabre (VR game) breaks every 20 minutes during GCSE revision.
- Making hilarious lunchboxes (little sunglasses on sandwiches, banana with a bow tie, rude jokes in the lid)
- Sending notes from room to room in a remote control toilet with a fake poo in.
- My son once got a large bear out of his younger sister’s room, added leggings, a jumper, socks shoes, trilby hat and stuffed them with newspaper.
- It was about 4 ft tall when he’d finished. And then the bugger would terrify me with it; On the cooker hood, draped over the toilet like it was being sick, in my bed when I woke up, in the back seat of the car when I got in.
I screamed a lot.
His sister did a similar thing with her trombone.
That bloody thing.
I won’t lie – I repeatedly almost shat myself – but it was hilarious.
This is the stuff.
4. Space to Play
Yes, interior design (I do rather like it) and all that – but it doesn’t mean you can’t have fun with where you live.
Currently, we have gymnastic rings in the living room.
Not even sorry.
We left some of the fairy lights up from Christmas because they’re pretty.
And some bongos.
And a boa on my flipchart.
I abhor clutter, but I do love fun things around the place.
Don’t be afraid to do that.
Ikea are brilliant at that – but don’t just embrace the Fharrt sideboard (hahah) embrace the spirit of a store that emptied 100 cats into it for a commercial.
That’s next-level play.
5. Play with other People
(don’t google that, either).
Fun multiplies with other humans – but they need to be the right ones.
Do a play:human audit to get rid of the fun sponges from your life.
You don’t have to do it dramatically, but you can quietly step away.
See more of the people who make you laugh.
Who makes you lose track of time.
Who makes you want to try new things.
Who puts your brakes on.
Dare yourself to YES to more things that sound like play.
And NO to the stuff that children would say was BORRRINGGGGG!
The little things add up to a whole new attitude;
brighter outlook, more energy, more patience and more smiling.
And that’s seriously important.
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