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Things to do outside: rediscover the playful you

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Childs PlayCreative Commons License Childs Play

As a child you get to spend a lot of time outdoors, playing, exploring, discovering the world. As you grow up you end up inside more often than not. Most of us work from an office, travel in a car or public transport, go eat in restaurants, watch TV or surf the net as a break.

New responsibilities, lack of time and exhaustion keeps us away from the very things that would relax us and remind us we still have that child inside. Sometimes all you need is a change of perspective.

Because every activity you do outside can be the best playtime for adults. And you get your adult benefits too: natural vitamin D from the sun, a form of light sport, develop your creativity, it’s a form of meditation and keep yourself safe from depression symptoms.

So what are some of the best things to do outside? The little things you can do for five minutes or five hours? Those that don’t exhaust you like sport, but help you be more playful?


Playing gardener and ‘selling’ vegetables was my favorite game as a child, so this one is very natural for me. Taking care of plants, whether just on your balcony or in a small garden, can be the best break.

It is a perfect time to pay attention, you see the plant growing, changing every day. You notice how it searches for the sun and changes its shape every hour. A ladybug hidden in the petals of a flower can be the best new fairytale. And when you get to make a salad or use a herb from your own garden, you remember playing is the best way to do things.

High summer 2007Creative Commons License High summer 2007

 Ride a bike

Exploring the world at the speed of your two wheels with the wind blowing in your hair is like you are on a journey. Everything that comes your way is a new adventure. And you can choose to make your own adventure. You can be going extra slow, not heading anywhere in particular and that’s your personal adventure.

Or you could be racing your heart out, seeking the best performance and counting the kilometers you made, that is your personal game. Just remember that you started doing this as a game, a playful activity.

Go for a stroll

Getting your mind off things, unwinding and discovering new things to see is the perfect time for a stroll. All you need is your own two feet and a mindset for playing.

Taking a stroll in a nearby park, forest or hill is the best meditative practice for centuries. But you can also go walking in a train station, just watching the people: the ones that are late, the ones that meet after a long time. The basic idea is to observe and be present what happens to you while you go for a walk. Childhood was often about this, just taking in the now and being exhilarated about new experiences, you can trace your own steps to that state.

Plan a ‘picnic’

Planning a meal outside creates a wonderful connection with nature that our most basic instincts crave. A picnic is just a moment to enjoy something you have to do every day. It doesn’t have to be a real picnic in the park or some nearby forest, although it is the best kind. You can settle for a breakfast on the balcony amongst the plants. You get to enjoy every taste better, if in a playful state. You can make a game of packing and unpacking the picnic, or discovering the best place to sit and eat.

a little celebration a little celebration

 Play with your pet

Take your dog for a surprise walk, go in the park and play with him. Throw a stick or a Frisbee, run with him and roll around in the grass when you’re out of breath. Or take a ball of yarn and make your cat go hunting in the grass jungle. You will be one with your pet for a while, just playing and enjoying your body.


While some of these might be the worst procrastination advice there is, if done mindfully and outdoors it will do wonders for you. Playfulness is the best connection we have to innocence and positivity, we should remember it more.

So what is your favorite playtime activity?

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