Published 04.21.2021

Written by Darcy Luoma

Darcy Luoma is one of America’s most highly credentialed coaches. She’s worked in 48 industries, with more than 500 organizations, and has impacted tens of thousands of leaders and employees.

50 Ways to Play

I recently requested your help with my annual intention of playfulness. Oh my goodness, you did not disappoint! I received well over 50 ideas which all helped me come up with my final list. 

Here are a few of my favorites (and the person who suggested it):

  • Come up with your 50th year theme song and choreograph a dance to go with it on TikTok —Kitty Campbell
  • Schedule play dates with friends, and have them decide what to do based on what they find playful —Helene 
  • Have a dinner party without any silverware —Nancy Hassenfelt
  • Speak in an accent for an entire dinner with family—but don’t tell them your plan 😂 —Shauna Baranczyk
  • Dress up and pretend to be a favorite superhero, like Wonder Woman —Linda Rice

As I was digesting all of the ideas that came pouring in, I had some fascinating new awareness.

  • I wish I would’ve asked for help sooner. I’ve been stuck since January—to the point where I was starting to feel embarrassed. I was even hesitant to talk about it with my team, much less put it out there publicly. I was afraid of being judged (because I was certainly judging myself). But as soon as I asked for help, I was overwhelmed with support, ideas, and encouragement. Not a single person judged me for failing (fabulously) at my annual intention—or for asking for help for that matter.
  • This doesn’t have to be so difficult. Hearing how different people practice playfulness was fun and ranged from subtle to outrageous. The ideas shared can be done alone or with others, indoors or outdoors, in two minutes or two months. I realized I was making it harder than it needed to be (thanks to Little Miss Perfect Pants). But taking an afternoon hula hoop break? (No problem!) Sidewalk chalk the neighbor’s driveway? (I could do that right now.) Wear funny-themed socks? (That’s so simple, does it really count?) I was getting in my own way by setting complex conditions and ridiculously high standards. 
  • Ideas spark more ideas. There were some ideas that just didn’t sound fun to me. For example, someone suggested family game night, which is fantastic. However, I don’t love board games. I’ve tried more than once, and will play if someone really wants to, but board games simply aren’t playful for me. But that sparked the idea of family dance night—now that sounds fun! I never would’ve landed on that without hearing the first idea that wasn’t quite right.

I could’ve given up and never talked about playfulness again. Nobody would know. But by facing where I was stuck and sharing it with others, I was able to get on track. You can too!

One-minute Workout

Feeling stuck? Pause. Acknowledge the stuckness instead of ignoring it.

Think. Where could I ask for help? How could this be easy? What are some wrong ideas that might spark more ideas?

From there, Act. Take a step to kick-start your momentum.

As part of my accountability, I’ll give you another playfulness update in three months. Until then, I’ll be posting more regular updates (including pictures!) at Thoughtfully Fit OnCore, our new private, online community on Facebook where you can join to get support on your Thoughtfully Fit journey.

Thank you, again, to everyone who contributed to this playfulness challenge! There were so many amazing ideas and I’m so excited to do all 50 in my 50th year.

Social

  1. Go on a date with the next guy who asks you out
  2. Have a spontaneous polka dance party in the living room
  3. Schedule play dates with friends, and have them decide what to do based on what they find playful 
  4. Throw a small goofy themed get together
  5. Allow the girls to each pick a random holiday and celebrate full-on (like “Lost Sock Memorial Day” or “National Pickle Day”)
  6. Tell a joke to a stranger waiting in line with you
  7. Visit your college town and see an old friend

Creative

  1. Go to some rummage sales and buy the most ridiculous items you can find and then try to do something with them
  2. Write a super silly rhyming poem and text it to someone you haven’t talked to in over a year
  3. Color (with real crayons!)
  4. Use sidewalk chalk on your neighbor’s driveway
  5. Paint on a Zen painting board. It comes with brushes, you get them wet, paint whatever design, which shows up on the board in shades of black/grey depending on how wet, and within minutes as the water dries, the picture disappears. All fun with no concern about the outcome! 
  6. Throw a pot (with clay!)
  7. Do the daily challenge at The Daily Create for one week
  8. Schedule a “Yes Day” for the girls and say yes to all of their fun ideas for one day.

Music 

  1. Come up with your 50th year theme song and choreograph a dance to go with it on TikTok 
  2. Lip sync to your favorite song and make a video 
  3. Enjoy an evening with all your friends at a piano bar or karaoke—sing along and dance to the live music! 
  4. Turn up the music and dance every day like no one is watching (no one is)! 

Outdoors

  1. Be a daredevil (at the park, etc)
  2. Blow bubbles 
  3. Do an outdoor scavenger hunt 
  4. Puddle stomp in the rain 
  5. Climb a tree 
  6. Go on a tour of parks for a day and go down at least ten different slides 
  7. A geburtstag hike in Durward’s Glen is in order:  https://durwardsglen.org/ 
  8. Take a spontaneous vacation (pack for three or four days and just get in the car) 
  9. Download and play Pokemon Go for two weeks

Indoors

  1. Pitch a tent in your living room and camp out 
  2. Have a dinner party without any silverware 
  3. Speak in an accent for an entire dinner with family—but don’t tell them your plan  😂 
  4. Put neon food coloring in your pancakes
  5. Dress up you and your pet and do a photoshoot
  6.  Spontaneously start a water gun fight in the house with your family

Health/Fitness

  1. Take a dance class
  2. Run without a route in mind
  3. Go geocaching
  4. While on a bike ride stop and dance every five miles 
  5. Hula hoop between meetings
  6. Go disk golfing

Fashion

  1. Post-COVID, do the “shopping rack rule.” If I pull it off the rack, you have to try it on. Rule goes for both shoppers.
  2. Dye hair an unexpected color 
  3. Wear a fantastic hat during a training/keynote
  4. Dress up and pretend to be a favorite superhero, like Wonder Woman
  5. Wear colors or prints outside your comfort zone in an outfit, nail polish, or shoes

Professional

  1. Use a fun or silly filter or background on zoom
  2. Define the anti-Little Miss Perfect Pants cheerleader
  3. Play a weird Al playlist 
  4. Do something outrageous 
  5. Make someone giggle on Slack (cliq/asana)

Recommended Reading: Thanks to Abby Titter for this week’s recommendation of Furiously Happy by Jenny Lawson. She shared that this book is the epitome of what I’m trying to achieve with playfulness (though she warned that the author may take it a bit overboard!). Abby’s son thinks she’s crazy because she’s constantly laughing out loud as she reads it. Sounds perfect, Abby. 

IS YOUR MIND FIT FOR SUCCESS?