Get out the checkerboard: How games from your past can enrich your present
From checkers to dodgeball, most people have fond memories of their favorite childhood pastimes. But did you know they can help boost your creative energy as an adult too?
Should you walk by Atlanta’s Piedmont Park on a sunny afternoon, you might wonder what all those people are doing running around. Are they playing soccer? Football? Nope. It’s an energized game of kickball — a classic team sport from grade school gym class.
Elsewhere across the country, you might spy perfectly normal adults jumping around in a plastic ball pit or engaged in a game of tag. If it sounds a bit odd, remember that you don’t have to be a child to enjoy playing. Along with new rules and a wide range of playing fields, playing “kiddie” games as an adult can be a blast.
Playing is for people of all ages
The fact is, you never outgrow your need for play. It provides fun, joy, and greater creative energy in adulthood. As psychiatrist Stuart Brown says in his book Play: How it Shapes the Brain, Opens the Imagination, and Invigorates the Soul, “What might seem like a frivolous or even childish pursuit is ultimately beneficial. It’s paradoxical that a little bit of ‘non-productive’ activity can make one enormously more productive and invigorated in other aspects of life.”
Here are some activities from the past that can enrich your present:
- Coloring books. Feeling stressed out? Research shows that the simple act of coloring promotes a state of concentration and release from the problems of everyday life.
- Board games. Board games are experiencing a renaissance. Thanks to meetup groups, adults can gather in a battle of wits and make new friends in the process. Clue or Battleship, anyone?
- Sports. Kickball, dodgeball, and street hockey are killer ways to stay in shape. Even better, physical activity releases endorphins and other feel-good chemicals in your brain, which can help combat stress and depression.
- Amusement. You’re never too old for your childhood favorites including musical chairs, charades, duck-duck-goose, water balloon fights, and tag. Try some out at your next family gathering or work party and watch the laughter and hilarity ensue.
Recognizing the link between play and creative energy, more companies are turning to the power of play to foster camaraderie and innovation amongst their employees. It’s not uncommon for offices to have their own game rooms, complete with ping pong tables, foosball, arcade games, and more.
If you’re looking to incorporate more play in your life, try searching for adult game groups and sports teams in your area. Today, many cities have hockey, kickball, or dodgeball teams for adults. With a little effort and commitment to make play an active part of your life, you’re bound to find something to delight the child within.
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