Discover the Joy of Unstructured Playtime…for Grown-Ups!
Adults enjoy feeling inspired by the presence of beautiful, creative objects. They like looking at them. And they like picking them up and fiddling with them. These are people who instinctively know about the importance of play.
After all, playtime isn’t just for children. Grown-ups need playtime too!
Imagine setting aside a time in your calendar for a few hours of completely unstructured playtime. The only point of unstructured playtime is to dream, putter, chatter, draw, twirl, jump, dance… or just have fun.
In unstructured playtime, you can do pretty much whatever you want to do. You can play alone, or you can play with others. The only rules are to keep your activities safe, fun, and free from expectations like goals, achievement, or productivity.
Oh, and maybe step away from your computer and phone. Keep your playtime as low tech as possible!
Unstructured play gives both children and grown-ups the space to explore interests. You get to discover more about yourself, others, and the world around you.
- Do you want to bounce a ball against the wall? Go ahead!
- Read a comic book that has nothing to do with work? Do it!
- Build a house of cards for no reason whatsover? Go for it!
- Chat with a friend while solving a puzzle? Sounds delightful!
- Stack blocks into a tower and then knock them down? YES!
For many adults, taking a few seconds to imagine unstructured playtime provides a much-needed mental break. The mere idea of stepping away from the constant pressure to strive and achieve can relieve stress.
But for other adults, the idea has the opposite effect. They feel a sense of anxiety, shame, or even dread. What’s life without structure and goals? Who are we as people if we aren’t striving to achieve or produce?
If you’re in the second group, it’s probably a good idea to find out! You can start small by taking only a few minutes a day for unstructured play. Ask yourself: what can I do today, for a little bit of harmless fun?
Then, go off and do it. Over time, your instincts for fun and play will build up. You may even come to realize that all that striving to achieve was getting in the way of actually getting much done, at all! And you'll appreciate feeling more creative, social, and relaxed. (Hint: the people around you will probably like you better, too!)
Life isn’t all about work and family obligations. Unstructured play provides a wealth of benefits to improve your mood, health, creativity, and relationships.
Play a little today, won’t you? It’s good for you!