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101 Playful Ideas

Updated: Feb 10, 2022

No matter how old you are, you can benefit from a bit of fun and play in your life!

There's so many reasons to play. You learn more quickly. You move better. You have more creative ideas. You improve your brain function. You feel more optimistic and energetic. You enjoy life more simply because you're having more fun.

If you're stuck for inspiration on how to add a bit more playfulness into your life, here's 101 playful ideas to start:

  • Watch a funny video to get a good belly laugh

  • Play a board game

  • Think up 3 different ways to sit in your chair

  • Use your fork in the other hand

  • Do some colouring in

  • Climb a tree or hang from a branch

  • Scribble or doodle

  • Play fetch or tug of war with your dog

  • Play with Lego or blocks

  • Make up some funny walks

  • Kick a ball around

  • Write or draw with your left hand

  • Make up a story and write it down or tell a friend

  • Play with your cat

  • Get some chalk and draw on the pavement

  • Cut your vegetables or food into funny shapes (or use a cookie cutter)

  • Dress up with a silly hat or outrageous shirt

  • Talk or sing like a pirate

  • Play hopscotch (use chalk to draw one on pavement)

  • Lie on your back and fake laugh (ha,ha,ha) and see if you can help yourself from laughing for real

  • Do a bear walk

  • Avoid or jump on the cracks on your next walk

  • Follow a blue car for 5 minutes and see where you end up

  • Play in the waves at the beach

  • Play a string game (aka cat’s cradle)

  • Make a sandcastle or dig a trench in the garden

  • Collect leaves or shells and make a pattern or Mandela

  • Blow bubbles

  • Get some play dough and create different shapes

  • Make a handmade card or paper craft

  • Put on some face paint or wear different make up

  • Make a newspaper hat

  • Do some origami

  • Pick some flowers and arrange them in a vase

  • Play a card game (try using real cards instead of online)

  • Do a jigsaw

  • Put on your fav tune and dance like no-one is watching!

  • Sing karaoke or lip sync (use your hairbrush or a wooden spoon as your mic)

  • Poke your tongue out and make faces

  • Have a swing at the playground

  • Make a daisy chain

  • Drum with your hands to make a tune or pattern - use the benchtop, your thighs, clapping your hands, the floor - whatever makes noise

  • Read a sentence backwards or say words backwards

  • Play with flavours and try different ingredients together!

  • Play wordle game (warning this is addictive!), do a crossword or wordfinder

  • Skip!

  • Bake some cupcakes and ice them in random colours

  • Read or tell a joke

  • Pretend you're a superhero (what would superwoman do?) for a minute, an hour or all day

  • Order something different on the menu

  • Go out and pretend to be a tourist in your own town

  • Make an obstacle course in your lounge or out on the lawn (use chairs, broomstick, blankets, sticks, balls)

  • Juggle a few items (hint: let them drop!)

  • Hula hoop (or belly dance if you haven't got a hoop)

  • Do a handstand, cartwheel or crawl

  • Eat something off your plate using only your mouth (no hands)

  • Put on the silliest outfit you can make from your own wardrobe

  • Draw lines in the sand or garden with a stick

  • Play naughts and crosses

  • Stack rocks to see how high you can go

  • Play with a yo-yo or spinning top

  • Make up an itinerary of your dream holiday and lay out (or write down) what you would pack

  • Sit in nature (or look out the window) and do let your mind wander for 10 minutes

  • Do your favourite craft activity

  • Play with water pistols, sprinkler or a hose

  • Play an outdoor game e.g. tag, quoits, cornhole, petanque, croquet

  • Write a letter to your future self

  • Re-lace your shoes in a different pattern

  • Take a silly photo of yourself (and /or your kids or pets)

  • Play knucklebones

  • Whistle a tune (bonus: see if others can guess what it is)

  • Play charades

  • Paint a picture - maybe try finger painting

  • Play I-spy (with my little eye)

  • Cut up some magazines and make a collage

  • Try a youtube dance video (or make up your own dance steps)

  • Make up a secret handshake

  • Learn how to say hello and sign your name in NZ sign language

  • Do a rolly polly (a forward roll) or roll from side to side on the floor

  • Try interlacing your toes (use your hands to help!)

  • Make some funny noises or talk in goobledy gook

  • Read aloud and do the voices of each character

  • Collect interesting objects on your walk (leaves, rocks, shells, sticks or take photos of things / colours you like)

  • Run around your garden or park in a zig-zag (pretend you’re running away from the zombies or a crocodile)

  • Make shadow figures with your hands and a torch

  • Rearrange your spice jars, books or ornaments by colour or height

  • Walk around the block in a different direction

  • Eat in the dark or with a blindfold

  • Pretend you're a tree swaying in the breeze - shift your weight and wave your arms gently about

  • Lie on the floor and have a pretend temper tantrum!

  • Have a sword fight with long grass, long stemmed flowers or pool noodles

  • Play air guitar

  • Smooth chocolate wrappers or tinfoil without ripping it

  • Paint your nails or toenails different colours or add a pattern

  • Pretend the floor is lava and make your way between furniture or places in backyard or over jungle gym

  • Play elastics (channel the 80s playground here!)

  • Write a word with your tongue inside your cheek or air draw a word with your arm

  • Look through binoculars at things close up and far away

  • Play connect the dots or drawing patterns (with paper, freckles on arm, stars in sky, cracks in pavement)

  • Cut out paper shapes / people from folded paper

  • Twiddle your thumbs

Let your imagination run wild. I made this list up lying on the couch. I had fun just making the list! What things did you come up with? How do you add some fun or play into your life? Let me know in the comments.

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Great ideas here, thanks. I will be sharing this with friends in rest homes as well as others so they can enjoy some different things to do in the day or share time with grandchildren with some of these as well 😁

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