The Playful Den


10 easy ways to BOOST playfulness at home

1. Give things names

Naming inanimate objects is called ” anthropomorphizing ” , the practice of giving human qualities and characteristics to objects (or animals). When you do this you will notice how you talk about that object and how you feel about it shifts.

2. Put on the soundtrack to your life

The fastest way to change a mood or switch energy and brings on dancing. Look at how young children respond to music, they feel it and react very impulsively. In short we are meant to dance and feel music, it has a huge impact on mood. Take a couple of hours to get your mood music at the ready and check in to see if switching the radio on or the same old songs isn’t actually having a good impact on you and change it up.

3. Channel your alter ego

Putting on silly voices and acting out gestures will be appreciated your kids (and partner if you have one a sense of humour!) and will allow you free your silly and express yourself. We all have so many sides to us, having characters we can occasionally express through (no Oscar performance required, it can literally be anything) and there is a lot to be said in the skill of being able to diffuse or offset tension by bursting the bubble with humour.

4. Smile and laugh

Sometimes easier said than done, but be sure to have it at the top of your to do list every single day. The physical motion of smiling does something to us and laughing is like real medicine. So get the corners of those chops up as much as you can!

5. Smell happy

Our visual senses are often overstimulated due to increased screen based activities and our smell can be the most underserved. Playing with smells in your everyday routine can bring in a waft of playfulness. Sniff some Play-doh to ignite your nostalgia pangs, get some fresh pastries baking on a gloomy morning, whack on your favourite candle in the evening, have fun with creating your own smellovision channels!

6. Watch something change

It could be a plant, some cress in an egg, some sea monkies – a bird feeder, whatever you can think on, the notion of watching something change and following it’s journey can bring a moment of playful observation and discussion into your daily routine.

7. Shake out your sillies

Teachers often use the tactic of getting kids to shake out their bodies before a lesson. It’s an energy release as much as an energy burst. It takes seconds but is an instant micro burst of playfulness. So if you’re at your desk, kitchen or washing machine pause for a completely inhibition free full body spontaneous shake down. Do it with your family or alone and see how the two different experiences feel. Try and increase your bonkers levels of what happens to your body each time!

8. Play with old photos

It’s a classic, kids love it, we love it, there is something immensely emotive about stimulating memories but there ‘s also a playfulness that can come with it too. Play guessing games – how old? who? where? and it’s an easy way to get some happy nostalgia vibes coming your way.

9. Repetitive bursts of skill learning

Find a very easily repeatable ‘thing ‘ to learn. Like hula hoop, hand stand, jumping from standing, it has to be quick to do and take very little time. Use this as your play break. Keep coming back to it a few times a day if you can and enjoy the improvement you ‘ll see.

10. Dress happy

Whether it’s your favourite colour pen, flowers, necklace or top to toe outfit put the things on you and around you that spark joy and encourage your family members to do that same. Tell the people around you about your choices and how they make you feel – role model that you value playful connections to those things to spread this to others in your home.

So go forth and put some of these into action. I hope they lift your mood, improve your mental health and bring joy to you and your family.

This content was originally shared only to my wonderful Patreon members. They get all of the best bits – plus live events each month. If you want to find out more about Patreon click here.