Get Out and Play

by Lance Ekum on · 14 comments

Creative Commons License photo credit: cuellar

“I still get wildly enthusiastic about little things…  I play with leaves.  I skip down the street and run against the wind.”  — Leo Buscaglia

 With three kids, this one’s usually pretty easy for me.  Someone wants to “play” something.  And sometimes I resist.  Maybe I want to rest, or I have work to do, or lawn cut, or a sink to fix, or …  But, when I do play – it’s fun.  Sometimes it’s relaxing play (a board game for example), and sometimes its active play (basketball game for example).  

So, playing is fun, but what other benefits are there?

Be More Creative

Playing can make you think in new and creative ways.  These creative skills apply not only to the games you play, but they roll over into other areas of your life.  And that’s a good thing.  You begin to think differently, and look at problems with a new set of lenses.  You take risks during games, and you’ll be more willing to take risks in other areas of your life.

“Here’s to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The trouble-makers. The round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently. They’re not fond of rules, and they have no respect for the status-quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify, or vilify them. But the only thing you can’t do is ignore them. Because they change things. They push the human race forward. And while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.” ~ Apple Computers

Increase Happiness

Playing games creates laughter, and happiness (usually).  If you played a game of hide and seek, or played a game of Yahtzee, would you not finish up and be happier than when you started?  There is great joy in playing with others, and laughing together.  One thing I do with my daughter is play the basketball game of “around the world” – where you shoot baskets from different points on the court until someone has made all of them.  To mix things up, I like to name the locations (give them a country name for instance), or make up a funny name for her (a movie character for instance).  She gets into this, and remembers these for some time afterward – and it’s fun for both of us.

Reduce Stress

One more benefit of play is reduced stress.  Most games that are played for fun are games that leave us with a lower stress level than when we started.  During play, we can forget about the worries of the world that we have.  Through the pleasure we get from play, stress is removed from our bodies.  And with less stress in our lives, we’ll make better choices in other areas as well.

Increase Energy

Play a game, and you’ll feel energized.  You might feel tired after a very active game, but you’ll still feel new energy in your body.  The laughter and cameraderie will re-invigorate you.  You’ll finish the game and be better suited to do the other things you have planned because of your increased energy levels.

 Go out and play a game.  Scrabble.  Tag.  Football.  Ring around the rosie.  Apples to Apples.  Coloring book.  Hopscotch.  Monopoly.  Paint by numbers.  Ride the merry-go-round.

You’ll have fun, be more creative, and remove stress from your life!  Sounds like a recipe for success.


Lance writes stories from his heart, aiming to inspire and motivate, as you align more fully with YOUR true peak. When he's not here, you can find him hanging out with his family, riding a bike, or just generally acting goofy.   Sign up for the Thoughts from the Treehouse newsletter and get additional inspiration in your email inbox!
Lance Ekum
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{ 14 comments… read them below or add one }

Michelle July 2, 2008 at 8:05 am

Your’s is the second post this morning I have read about not taking ourselves too seriously, having fun, and laughing…I think I am going to set my intent for this long weekend to be happy, have fun, and not worry about anything, if only for four days…thanks for the reminder.


Marelisa July 2, 2008 at 10:35 am

I think the quality of our work increases if we take time off for play, so at the end of the day we actually get more done by taking play breaks than if we had just sat at a desk “being serious” without getting up and doing something different. Laughter breaks should be added to our schedule just as we add “serious” tasks. And I love the quote from Apple.


Lanceman July 2, 2008 at 12:24 pm

@Michelle – It’s a sign! Enjoy the long weekend.

@Marelisa – Right, it’s good to separate from work every once in a while. Laughter breaks would be great – if we could figure out a way to do that everyone would be happier and more productive!


chris July 2, 2008 at 5:12 pm

I’m fortunate that I have 5 children and that I work in a school. I’m sorrounded by PLAY. And you are dead on on every single benefit of PLAY. If we do all work and no PLAY then pretty soon we will all snap.


MizFit July 2, 2008 at 5:28 pm


if you can dodge a wrench you can dodge a ball.



Dr.Cason July 2, 2008 at 6:22 pm

Duck Duck Goose. That’s the favorite with my three recently. All five of us sit down and take turns being the goose and it’s a riot. You what the best part is? When my husband picks me and I tear off in pursuit. The kids love seeing us playing and giggling! And when we sit down again, I look over at him and smirk and he smirks back. 😉


Lanceman July 2, 2008 at 8:41 pm

@Chris – 5 kids, that’s got to keep you busy!! And, lots of play time I’m sure. Enjoy it!

@MizFit – If you can dodge a car, you can dodge a ball!! That’s play at it’s finest!

@Dr. Cason – Sounds like you’re having a lot of family fun — it sounds like a blast! That’s great family memories you’re making.


Linda Abbit July 3, 2008 at 12:50 am

Hi Lance,

I’ve always loved that Apple quote!

I heartily agree with your post. My husband and I plan on never becoming too old to laugh and “play.” Our teenager hates it when we act silly around him now, but –well, too bad!


Barbara Swafford July 3, 2008 at 3:18 am

Hi Lance,

Every time our kids come home (they’re all grown), we like to engage in a mean game of “spoons” (it’s played with cards). It gets pretty dangerous as everyone is grabbing for a spoon, but the memories and laughter that are created are priceless.

We’ve also played the basketball game you play. That’s a lot of fun too.

Great post and a great reminder to not take life too seriously.


Lanceman July 3, 2008 at 5:54 am

@Linda – Hey, that sounds just like our two oldest kids (13 and 11). Someday they’ll appreciate it!

@Barbara – Fun games – we’ve played spoons before as well (I’m not quick enough!).


Rachel July 3, 2008 at 10:17 am

I love that kids are so carefree. Playing with them really does help me relax. Right now our favorite thing to do is play in my daughters ball pit. Lots of fun!


Mark Salinas July 3, 2008 at 12:14 pm

Wow! I like it….very good advice!


Davina July 3, 2008 at 1:37 pm

My favourite thing to do lately for peace of mind, is to take a really long walk with my MP3 player. The destination? A kiddies park. There I take my 44-year-old behind swinging for sometimes a half hour (my behind complains, but it’s well worth it). It is fun to watch the families with their kids and their dogs, just hanging out.


Amanda Linehan July 4, 2008 at 9:09 am

I love that when you are playing, you are not afraid or even thinking of failure. That’s why you can be so creative!!


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