Play Games And Have Fun

10253966_10152746269520828_8744774889058175219_nThis post is part of a series that makes up my Simple Guide To Health which is part of a broader collection of posts on Living Well.

A someone who’s never really played sports or watched them for that matter, the thing I’m missing most now that my kids are ‘grown up’ is the lack of spontaneous play that filled my life for 20 years.  This loss is all too familiar to many of us, although because it doesn’t happen quickly mostly we just gradually forget the joy that it used to bring.  Lack of play in our lives is not just a problem for older people though, all too often now children are rejecting physical play for computer games, music and facebook and even reserving singing and dance for organised events.

As a beach walker and hiker though there’s no chance that I will forget it as I see dogs and children at play every day. 

Most animals play when they are young as a way of learning to fight, and learn about risk, but humans are one of the rare species that continues to play into adulthood. We rely on our wits to survive and play serves an important evolutionary purpose to allow us to practice risky situations and hone survival skills.  So it’s my belief that we should seek out opportunities to play not just because it’s great fun but also because it’s what our genes expect us to do.

I’m not going to address organised play, I’m more interested in being more spontaneously physicaly playful in our lives minute to minute, here are some ideas that I use, or have used, over the years (not in priority order):

  1. Get a trampoline, the kids and I used to love jumping away for a few minutes every few hours.  The kids were much better than me of course often jumping with 2-3 friends creating a crazy image of flailing arms and legs as they tried to keep balance without hitting each other or falling.  In their many years of use they never had a serious accident while jumping.
  2. Take every opportunity to balance on walls, kerbs, beams etc.  I still do this much to the amusement/embarrassment of the family
  3. Jump or slide down sand dunes, we have huge sand dunes here and taking flying jumps in the soft sand or sliding down them on a bag or board is so much fun.  In the winter we substitute sledging down them on large garden compost bags
  4. Throw a ball, there’s nothing simpler and easier than throwing a ball to another person, but it’s great fun and a good time to chat
  5. Throw a Frisbee, of you have more space, like a beach, throw a Frisbee or a Aerobie ring which is what we do.  Combine the throwing with some sprints chasing the ring when thrown for max distance
  6. Jump rope,  if you don’t have a trampoline (we don’t now) I’ve found the best alternative is to just jump rope.  Doing this together is even more fun
  7. If you have to stay inside I like to play on a balance board while watching TV
  8. Computer games, are of course great fun, although I don’t play them much as they are too addictive, but I still like a to play a game of Wii sports Tennis every few weeks. 
  9. It’s worth remembering that any aerobic exercise can be instantly turned into play by making it a fun race

The photo today is of a random Cleveleys beach scene of people having fun playing chase!

Steve Richards

I'm retired from work as a business and IT strategist. now I'm travelling, hiking, cycling, swimming, reading, gardening, learning, writing this blog and generally enjoying good times with friends and family

1 Response

  1. May 17, 2014

    […] Play Games And Have Fun. Sometimes we forget that it’s important to play physical games, splash around in the surf, throw a ball, especially when our children start to ‘grow up’ too […]

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