Let’s Play!

“Play energizes us and enlivens us. It eases our burdens. It renews our natural sense of optimism and opens us up to new possibilities.” (Stuart Brown, MD) 

There are so many positive impacts for our mental health and well-being when we play. Playing can allow us to be creative and imaginative, learn and develop skills, build confidence, and experience joy. Being playful can benefit our relationships, job, and mood. When we are genuinely laughing and having fun with others, we release stress, build connections, and give our brains a break.  

We all have a natural desire to laugh, have fun, and be playful, but many of us will admit that somewhere along the way, we became more inhibited. More serious. We don’t feel that same freedom to let loose and experience pure fun.  


Thankfully, playfulness is a state of mind that can belong to everyone. And children can remind us best what it means to laugh and play. Children are quick to embrace simple delights. Most will engage in an impromptu game of peek-a-boo or opt to jump in the puddles on a rainy day.  Playing is how they learn and explore their relationships and the world around them. In one single squeal of sheer delight, children teach us so much – to slow down, be present, and enjoy the moment.  

One of the best things we can do is welcome opportunities to be playful. Let’s get back to more puddle jumping, skipping, and dancing. What a gift it is to get lost in play. To laugh with no inhibition. To feel genuine joy. The positive impacts are countless.   


In today’s Wellness Wednesday, let’s play.   


Try this: 

As a class, group, or family:  

  • Play Move and Freeze!  
  • To start, prepare a party music playlist. (NOTE: there are many free "freeze dance/musical statues" songs online such as music style mix: https://youtu.be/_NpJyAt-gto, salsa mix: https://youtu.be/jA43nqBaNiA, Kiboomers Freeze Dance: https://youtu.be/2UcZWXvgMZE, Freeze Dance POP: https://youtu.be/hL3mGA8UKyk) 
  • Invite everyone to stand up.  The goal of this activity is to be playful and silly. Try to make eye contact with everyone and smile! Let yourself be a little goofy! 
  • Start the song.  
  • As you dance, include some fun prompts to encourage giggles such as:  
  • make eye contact and smile at someone else  
  • be as silly as you can 
  • hold someone's hand when you dance 
  • put your hands up in the air 
  • freeze in a funny way. 
  • Do you want to add more fun? Consider a variation: 
  • Musical Chairs when the music stops, everyone sits on a chair. For this activity, include enough chairs so everyone has somewhere to sit. Don't have chairs? Everyone can just sit down on the floor as quickly as possible!  
  • Animal Actions invite someone to suggest an action (i.e., hop, crawl, fly, gallop, etc.) and the rest of the group joins in. A new person suggests an action after each "freeze".  
  • Dancing Chain form a line as you dance. Each person takes a turn at the head of the line, choosing the movement everyone will copy. When the music stops, the front person dances to the back and the next person leads the group.  



Ask yourself, there is no wrong answer: 

How does your body feel now? Do you notice your heart, your face, your smile, your mood? 

When was the last time you were playful or silly? 



Connecting to our faith: 

God works wonders through his children.  He wants us to enjoy his creation, to play in it, to laugh. 

“May we always care for our children, not counting the cost, so that they may never believe themselves to be mistakes, but always know their infinite worth. Let us ask the Lord for this grace: that our hearts become free and filled with light, so that we can rejoice as children of God.” (Pope Francis) 



Further Learning: 



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