How Your Home Can Become a Fun Place.
Say yes to pops of playfulness, starting where you live.
Imagine you could enter your home and have it embrace you with joy regardless of the day you’re having. Playfulness begins when you’re relaxed, secure and can just be yourself. When your home is a place of gleeful inspirations, you’ve made a good start in relearning the wonder of play. And it’s more important than you might think— it’s essential to your wellbeing. Read on to start giving yourself permission to play.
We all played as kids, so we’ve got the know-how. Even if, as adults, we’ve gotten a little rusty, the need to play is wired into our brains and we never outgrow it. It’s a built-in safeguard to ensure life never gets too deadly serious, because that’s… well—deadly. Serious. Responsibility, with it’s ever-increasing importance as we grow up, can tend to boss around our spontaneous, freely expressive, carefree selves.
Maybe that’s where your requests for this topic came from, my curious friends? Maybe it’s because you want more fun in your life? You want to reconnect with your inner child who knows just how to spin around with dizzying delight, be enthralled by new discoveries and frolic with anyone who cares to do so for no good reason. Good news! Anyone can power up their PLAY-ability again with a few simple strategies. This blog series will show you how.
So let’s begin, shall we?
The first step is easy. It starts in the comfort of your own home. Why? Here are 3 good reasons:
- Home is a sanctuary.
To play with joyful abandon, we need to feel safe. The merriment inside us will only peek out when there’s trust and acceptance in the atmosphere. Where better than our home to find this space?
- Home is where we can be our most authentic self with others.
When we’re relaxed, the setting is ready for shared bursts of playfulness with others in the house whether family or housemates. With humour in the house, deeper connections are made.
- Home is a place of expression.
You know what it’s like. That moment when you walk into someone’s house and instantly have a fuller picture of who they are. Maybe you’re amazed by what takes pride of place on their cabinet, or you can just feel the atmosphere of calm or chaos or sport or family.
Our personalities leak out in our home. When we dot the happy parts of ourselves around our homes, playfulness is not far behind.
Now, for those of you with perfectionist qualities, with a place for everything and everything in its place, a gentle word. The need for orderliness could wrestle your fun-seeking longings. If that’s you, you might need to make a few little concessions as the cogs of rediscovering playfulness are oiled, because play, by nature, is unpredictable and creativity may just get a little messy.
What are the most playful spots or things around your house?
My husband and I are not great decor or maintenance people, so things in our house can become a little tired. But there is one spot that continues to bring me joy and is often a conversation piece. It’s a wall with three paintings. We painted this wall a textured charcoal, to showcase three bold paintings in brushstrokes of red, yellow, blue and green. They pop on that wall. But more than that, they bring back memories of our adventures in Hong Kong—of perusing a market of strange delectables, of buying our very first real paintings from the artist herself, and of going for a swim in the warm South China Sea.
‘To miss out on play is to miss the harvest of a well-lived life,’ says play author, Dr Stuart Brown. Professors Sergio and Vivien Pellis take the neuroscience perspective and suggest that play ‘may be a process underlying lives worth living’.
If play gets this much credit, then surely it deserves to be given more room in our lives?
9 Easy Ways to Play at Home
Invite Fun as a VIP
- Add some bright colours where they’re not expected – scatter cushions, a brightly coloured ornament, a kaleidoscope window, a soft toy in an unusual place, an oddly upholstered chair.
- Keep sentimental pieces showcased. Collect interesting things to remember places, events and experiences, and showcase them around your home to increase the happiness quotient.
- Pepper your living space with a few happy reminders of childhood joys: a swing seat on your patio, a bubble machine, magical lighting. For the really adventurous, check out these inspiring ideas to get the fun juices bubbling: aquarium tubes over your bed, skateboard walls, and hammocks over stairwells just to name a few.
Break the Rules
- Instead of a table cloth, spread butcher paper on the dining table and draw or write away. Write questions at each person’s place setting, or make up a collaborative silly poem, or collect the best things about every day over a week, or rubber stamp it all over. Keep it as a work of art and use it for your next dinner party.
- Who said you can’t draw on walls? Doodle on the bath tiles with bath crayons during a bubble bath. Use liquid chalk to write inspirational quotes on the window above the kitchen sink or leave a joke on the mirror.
- Wall colour doesn’t have to come from expensive art pieces. Add fun wall stickers to a dull wall to liven it up. Here are a few fun ones:
– Birds on wires
– 80s party confetti
– Tall daisies
- Why sleep inside? Many of you have already done this during pandemic lockdowns – have a campout in the back yard, complete with fire pit and s’mores.
Don’t Overthink It
- Put together a dance playlist of your favourites. Whether you’re at foot-tapping level, or up to wiggling and jiggling, or right up there in full booty-shaking, hands-in-the-air dancing, just enjoy music for the sake of it. Whether on your own or with others around, have a bit of fun while washing the dishes or folding the laundry. Or just any time.
- You know how card games tend to live in cupboards, only to make an occasional entrance? How about leaving a few out around the house, for when the whim hits. You might find it connecting people at unexpected times.
The good news is that it’s not hard to make your house a PLAYhouse.
Is your home a safe place? You’re already halfway there. Can you think of 5 things in your house that spark joy? You’re already striding forward.
Can’t think of 5 things? Don’t worry. Start building a list or just be on the lookout from now for things that make you bubble.
From now on, give yourself permission to play… in your home.
Go on! Escape your functional mind for a moment and have some fun.
And please tell me about it.
- What are your favourite places or pieces in your house?
- What ideas do you want to try?
- Do you have an idea or a photo to share?
- I love this book by Meredith Sinclair: Well-Played: The Ultimate Guide to Awakening Your Family’s Playful Spirit. A number of my ideas for these blogs have come from her insights.
- Dr Stuart Brown’s quote is from his book, ‘Play: How It Shapes the Brain, Opens the Imagination, and Invigorates the Soul.’
- The Pellis & Pellis quote is from their book, ‘The Playful Brain: Venturing to the Limits of Neuroscience.’