By: Terry McDougall
Live and work but do not forget to play, to have fun in life and really enjoy it. -Eileen Caddy
Remember this time of year back when you were a kid? There was a giddiness in the air as the end of school neared. After nine months of sitting in class, studying (or not), tests, papers, and projects, you’d finally come to the time when you were FREE.
No constraints…unfettered play…days of sunshine…new experiences — be they at camp, on vacation, or in the backyard…running through the sprinklers…splashing in the pool…riding bikes…barbecues and parades…
Back then, summer was a time to run barefoot, let your hair down, eat popsicles, and have FUN! The season provided the needed respite to prepare you to go back to school in September, ready to take on new challenges.
As adults, we don’t always take the time we need to refresh. We all have a wellspring of joy within us, but it’s so often mired over with the everyday worries of adult life that we don’t have access to it. My challenge to you this summer is to chip through the calcification, tap into your inner child, and have fun, darn it!
Fun is its own reward, but if you need more of a case to have some fun this summer: It’s also a smart thing to do. Fun is the antidote to stress and a catalyst to growth.
Here are 101 things you can do to get back in touch with your inner child this summer. Follow your inner kid’s desires and watch your energy tank fill back up.
- Recruit some kids (big and little) and have a water balloon fight.
- Go to a baseball game — little league, minor league, or big league. Try to catch a fly ball.
- Visit a state or national park. Revel in the wonder of nature.
- Build a sandcastle.
- Take a bike ride — to the library, to the store, or just around your ‘hood.
- Do some roller-skating.
- Eat cereal and watch cartoons on Saturday morning.
- Host a potluck party in your backyard or on your balcony.
- Learn to make balloon animals.
- Have a cartwheel contest with friends of all ages.
- Go hiking. Use all your senses to really experience the wonder of it.
- Eat some icy cold watermelon. See how far you can spit the seeds.
- Look for shooting stars. Don’t forget to make a wish.
- Buy a treat from an ice cream truck. SpongeBob happens to be delicious.
- Sing to the car radio at the top of your lungs.
- Make a daisy chain.
- Get a pick-up game of wiffle-ball going. Award the daisy chain to the home run champ.
- Take up walking for exercise and fun. Discover the details of your neighborhood on foot.
- Make s’mores over a fire. Go ahead — you can lick the foil.
- Put on your red, white, and blue gear and cheer for all the floats at a July 4th parade.
- Make some music — sing, strum, toot, drum — whatever floats your boat.
- Find a playground and see how high you can swing.
- Visit a local animal shelter and maybe go home with a new friend.
- Play bocce ball.
- Visit your county fair. Eat an elephant ear, see the prize hogs, and play some carnival games.
- Jam out at a music festival.
- Read a trashy novel — just for the heck of it.
- Dig your toes in the sand and wiggle them around. Ahh, doesn’t that feel good?
- Take up jogging for exercise and fun. Feel the joy of movement at any speed.
- Plant a garden. Watch out — it changes a little every day.
- Go to an art festival. Talk with the artists and get inspired.
- Don’t set the alarm, pull the covers up over your head, and sleep as late as you want.
- Go for a walk in the woods.
- Soak up the sun.
- Watch (or rewatch) the movie Jaws.
- Take a break from your phone for a day or more. Now that’s true freedom!
- Host an all-ages hula hoop contest.
- Share a banana split with a friend (or not). Load it up with all your favorites.
- Be completely lazy for a day or two or three. (No self-criticism allowed!)
- Join a volleyball team or just play some pick-up on the beach or at the local rec center.
- Go to a petting zoo, even if you don’t have kids. Just try not to laugh at the baby goats.
- Go canoeing or kayaking.
- Jump some waves.
- Make some art just for the fun of it. Sketch, paint, sculpt…heck, even finger paint.
- Go to a drive-in movie and stuff your face with greasy movie popcorn. Yum!
- Buy some fresh sweet corn at a roadside produce stand.
- Eat at a sidewalk café.
- Go on a road trip. Stop at some tacky roadside joints just to see what’s there.
- Blow bubbles. How big can you make one?
- Volunteer. Serving others can feel so rewarding, and it’s fun!
- Have a picnic.
- Attend an outdoor concert. Bring a blanket and just let the music wash over you.
- Try a new recipe. Invite friends over to give it a try or share with your neighbors.
- Blast away with Super Soakers.
- Visit a botanical garden or arboretum.
- Explore your town like a tourist. What are all the things you’ve been meaning to see?
- Go camping (even if it’s in your backyard). A change of scenery can change your perspective.
- Go see grandma. Who knows…she might slip you a fiver on the way out the door. :-)
- Make fresh lemonade. Somehow it just tastes better in the summertime.
- Pick your own blueberries.
- Buy a summer pool pass and use it! Go down the slide, or do a cannonball off the diving board.
- Join a bowling league.
- Make a friendship bracelet.
- Run through the sprinklers. It’s okay — you’re never too old for it.
- Take a break from the news. Ahh, see how much lighter you feel already?
- Visit your local historical society and learn about your town’s roots.
- Join a softball team.
- Pick a bouquet of wildflowers. Put them in a vase where you can enjoy them.
- Get a game of freeze tag going.
- Make some jam.
- Visit your local library. See what fun programs they have planned for the summer.
- Explore restaurants and stores in a nearby town.
- Take an adult ed class — jewelry-making, genealogy, local history, or whatever seems fun.
- Go on an architectural tour.
- Watch some fireworks. Oooh and aaah to your heart’s content.
- Play putt-putt golf.
- Get out the flags and bunting and decorate for Independence Day!
- Read the funny papers.
- Drift around the pool on a blow-up raft. The bigger and crazier, the better.
- Plant some flowers.
- Make a “sand angel.”
- Organize a corn hole tournament in your neighborhood.
- Host a happy hour. See if you can come up with a interesting new drink.
- Pay a kid to cut your grass. Tip them generously.
- Go bird watching.
- Go people watching.
- Visit a classic car show. Chat up the car owners about their cars’ stories.
- Make some chalk art on the sidewalk.
- Organize a block party.
- Light some sparklers in the dark.
- Try karaoke. You’ll feel like rockstar after a rendition of “Eye of the Tiger.”
- Watch the sunset. Again, again, and again…they’re always different.
- Catch some fireflies.
- Make a tie-dye shirt. Go ahead: Mom’s not around to tell you it’s too messy.
- Play some disc golf.
- Ride a rollercoaster. Scream your head off!
- Go on a photo safari.
- Clean up a local park. Make it a fun competition among civic-minded friends.
- Recruit neighbors for a progressive dinner.
- Go for a long drive with the windows down.
- Just do nothing and love every minute of it.
Go have fun — it’s what life is all about! Happy summer!
[Related: Looking for a Job? Try a Safari]
Terry Boyle McDougall, MBA, CPC, ACC, ELI-MP, is an executive and career coach who helps frustrated corporate leaders achieve results for their organizations while being true to themselves so that financial success doesn’t take a backseat to authenticity.
Originally published at https://www.ellevatenetwork.com.