Looking to inject a little happiness and carefree abandon into your life? Then it might be time to revisit your childhood. We look at the top activities that will help unlock your inner big kid.
Do you remember when you decided that those ‘childish activities’ were beneath you and you couldn’t wait to ‘grow up’? Then the monotony of being a 9 to 5 working, tax paying, early rising and appointment scheduling adult kicked in and we realised being responsible and grown up wasn’t all it cracked up to be.
Many experts are now pointing people suffering stress and anxiety back to the activities they loved during their childhoods to increase creativity, concentration and productivity. It can even help you find new skills or uncover hidden talents you’d long forgotten.
So, tap into your inner kid, put your silly pants on and jump back into these eight youthful activities that are just as fun as you remember!
1. Colouring in
Many of us spent happy hours as kids colouring in, and now, with so many beautiful books targeted for adults on the market, there’s no reason you can’t do it as an adult. Not only is it a good way to express yourself artistically without the pressure of a blank canvas, many report it to be the antidote to anxiety by keeping “the mind still and hands busy.”
Huia Hamon of Hooz Art just released her third colouring series inspired by Pacific Mare designs, which have proven to be wildly popular.
“Colouring is a chance to get that creative freedom again that a lot of grown ups have forgotten to add into their day,” she explains. “It’s a way to connect with the fun and to play.”
“A lot of people are finding colouring in is something they can do with their children instead of being in front of a screen. It’s not just a 'kids activity', creativity is for everyone, it's about creating lifetime memories.”
Credit: Hooz Art prints / Penelope Quinn Instagram
Don’t let the kids have all the fun, trampolining is fun, relaxing and a fantastic way to stay fit – and it’s also a great alternative for running, for those who find it puts excess stress on their joints.
“With trampolining, the springs take away all the impact of the road, and as a result, the activity has been shown in test to be three times more beneficial to you than running,” writes Adam Reynolds, owner of Springfit Gymnastics for Yourdocmedical.co.uk.
“So a 10 minute bounce is the same as a half hour run. Trampolining protects your joints while exercising your muscles.” It can also increase oxygen capacity, improve sense of balance, improve circulation of the lymph and improves cardiovascular health.
If you don’t have access to a trampoline (or are too embarrassed to jump on with the kids) then look online to find a trampoline park. Most major towns and cities will have one, so book yourself in for an hour or two and rediscover the freedom of bouncing, jumping and tumbling.
3. Swings and park play
When was the last time you went swinging? And no, we don’t mean that kind of swinging from the 70s, we’re talking the simple, clean fun of flying high and feeling like you could reach out and touch the clouds. Few things will give you that youthful exhilaration that comes from a swing set, so find the nearest park and get your inner kid on. And don’t stop at the swings, get on the slide, the monkey bars and see saw for some truly juvenile fun.
4. Tag, hide and seek, and water fights
Do you remember the adrenalin-pumping thrill of hide and seek? Or the competitive boost of tag? Or the joy of drenching your opponent with the full blast of a water gun? Just because you’re over the age of 12, doesn’t mean you can’t still enjoy these activities. Grown up versions include lasers and paintballs, but there’s no need to spend money to play – use your imagination and set up a game with friends in a spooky or unusual location such as a cemetery, a museum or a historic site.
5. Small-scale models
Many kids remember building small-scale models such as boats, planes, cars and trains as kids, so if it’s something you enjoyed, there’s no reason you can’t enjoy it as an adult. In fact, this time you won’t have a pesky grown up standing over your shoulder showing you how to do it ‘right’.
6. Flying a kite
There’s nothing more soothing and carefree than launching a kite into the air and seeing it glide gracefully skyward on gusts of wind. Navigating the kite as the wind tugs it back and forth is a great exercise in mindfulness as flying any kite requires a high level of concentration. Not only are you outdoors breathing fresh air, you’re also getting physical exercise and it can be a very social past time too. If you want to step it up a level, you could even make your own kite – an act of artistry in itself.
7. Climbing trees
Climbing trees was an integral part of childhood for many children. So why stop as an adult? In fact, according to a recent study, climbing a tree or balancing on a beam can dramatically improve cognitive skills. Researchers in the Department of Psychology at the University of North Florida conducted the first study that shows that dynamic activities like climbing a tree done over a short period of time have dramatic working memory (the active processing of information) and cognitive benefits.
“This research suggests that by doing activities that make us think, we can exercise our brains as well as our bodies,” said research associate Ross Alloway. “This research has wide-ranging implications for everyone from kids to adults. By taking a break to do activities that are unpredictable and require us to consciously adapt our movements, we can boost our working memory to perform better in the classroom and the boardroom.”
Credit: Instagram Penelope Quinn
8. Art and craft
Who says arts and craft are just for kids!? Crafts have experienced a huge resurgence in the last decade (need evidence? Just search ‘crafts’ in Pinterest!). And while you may think you need the ‘creative gene’ to give it a go, that isn’t the case. Just the act of doing something with your hands and using your problem solving skills can be beneficial.
“Crafting gives us the opportunity to use our tactile and fine motor skills in an age when most of us are tapping away at our electronic devices,” says Penelope Quinn, LifeStyle Channel’s Craft Expert. “I often find when I hold craft workshops that people just are just craving the opportunity to switch off from the modern world and exercise their creativity – crafting almost brings about a meditative state. And then, at the end of it, you have a beautiful keepsake.”
“Find something that works for you. It could be knitting, sewing, upcycling, jewellery making, paper craft… the possibilities are endless! For first time crafters, I often recommend trying doily dream catchers – they always turn out beautiful, the materials are simple to source, and they make a great gift!”
Credit: Penelope Quinn Instagram
Life coach Laura Jones told Fastcompany.com to do something simple with their hands such as gardening, sewing, knitting, or crafting. "By keeping your attention on something that doesn’t overwhelm the brain, your subconscious has time to work on other problems in the background," says Jones. "You can find better solutions faster, the same way [your brain] does when you sleep."
Want some ideas on easy crafts? Head to Penelope Quinn’s craft expert page for more ideas!