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How to Play (And Still Be A Grown-Up)

It's play time! By rediscovering the abandon of play, you can reduce stress, improve your mental health and take a well-needed time out.

We see children do it all the time: jump ropes, create fashion doll musicals, make building block cities, play dress-up and stick-up. They laugh, giggle show off and show up. Sometimes they even tell each other to shut up, and then are friends again, within seconds.

As card-carrying members of the adult population, we often fail to recognize that within play lies deeply rooted secrets to our own humanity.

Play Supplies:

  • Crayons & coloring book
  • Sidewalk chalk
  • Bubbles
  • Kazoo
  • Whoopee cushion
  • Rubber chicken


Some people play best alone—a crate full of fashion dolls and they are good to go. Others like one or two friends to build a clay city or play hide and seek through the work cubicles, while others prefer group dynamics such as musical chairs or a rousing game of Twister.


Sidewalk chalk can beautify your driveway or write a slick love note to a neighbor. Crayons can be used to color outside of the lines in a coloring book or make a homemade greeting card that can be eaten in case of emergency. The toys you choose need to be appropriate to the situation and the setting: bubbles may have a calming effect at the workplace, but a screaming rubber chicken might put you in the unemployment line.


If you are whoopee cushion kind of person, you may not have the best of times with a fashion doll diva. It is important to seek out playmates with similar interests. If you are artistic consider starting a lunchtime drawing group with pilfered office supplies.


Play must be fun, I repeat, it must be fun, if you are not having fun it is not play, it is something else entirely and would be included in a very different kind of article such as how to remove a fur ball from an alligator!

Tips & Warnings

  • Keep a play journal using crayons, magic markers and stickers
  • Make and keep play-dates
  • Smile a lot
  • Laugh
  • Do not bring a screaming rubber chicken when visiting the elderly.
  • Smile a lot more
  • Keep laughing

Article Evaluations (from eHow):

7/1/2009 Ah yes, I play all the time. 34 years old and learning to skateboard, that's my most recent endeavor. I like your ideas, Ada-Reva. 5

5/27/2009 Fun tips and great written format! 5

5/15/2009 Very fun, thanks! 5

5/12/2009 lol..fun..nice work on How to Laugh at Yourself so the World Laughs with You! 5

5/12/2009 My husband and I love to play. Thanks for the great article! 5