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How to Have Fun Like Children: 15 Joyful Tips

“If it’s not fun, you’re not doing it right.” ~Bob Basso

Every morning my daughter and I go for a twenty-minute walk to my workplace. For me, in those twenty minutes, I’m in transit. For my toddler, it’s nothing less than a parade of flowers, fire trucks, pebbles, and friendly folk.

I walk alongside her, engrossed in my thoughts of concern that her bouncing body might fall down the stairs, or jump onto incoming traffic.

One morning, I noticed that a sweet old man, amused by my toddler, was watching her with a smile on his face. As we crossed his path, he chuckled to himself, “Children have all the fun!”

He’s right. They do. And clearly, I’m missing out! My age is no good reason for me to miss out on this street party! 

Now, I try to remember that fun is a perspective. It’s not a force bound within the walls of amusement parks. The days that I remember this, it makes all the difference.

Line-ups are a great way to make new friends. Dusting is a contemporary dance. My world is a playground.

We are born with a complete understanding of fun, which seems to fade over time and conditioning. I say we learn a thing, or 15, from children.

How To Put Fun Into Every Day

1. Be where you are.

Kids are really good at enjoying the moment. Adults are addicted to thinking about all the things we have to do tonight, tomorrow, next week. Where you are is where the fun is. Nowhere else.

2. Learn something new.

From new words to new facial expressions, kids are constantly mastering new skills. Make it a point to continuously be learning something, anything. Aren’t we the ones who tell our kids that “learning is fun”?

3. Get out of your comfort zone.

Toddlers take risks all day long. As we mature, we tend to stay in our safe place. Your day will be so much more exciting if you gather the guts to wear hot pink pants.

4. Find the beat.

While adults would find a car alarm loud and obnoxious, my daughter dances to the rhythm of the beat. Seek out the symphony in the background noise.

5. Smile 27 times more than you do.

I’ve heard that children smile 400 times a day and adults, only 15. Smiling is the catalyst to having fun.

6. Notice nature.

Every child is in awe of ants, birds, and dandelions. At some point, we become creatures of the concrete jungle. Allow yourself to be enamored by Mother Nature.

7. Climb things.

As soon as they discover their legs, kids start climbing everything. There is something about being above ground level that is somewhat thrilling. Climb a rock. Climb a tree. You’ll feel like the master of the universe.

8. Embrace your “flaws.”

Being self-conscious is stifling. My toddler brings more attention to her Buddha belly than I ever would. But she also has more fun.

9. Use your imagination.

A child can get lost in her make-believe world for hours. Imagine riding an elephant in Thailand. Or running a marathon on the Great Wall of China. You’ll have so much fun pretending that you might want to make it a reality—which leads to more fun than you can imagine.

10. Be unpredictable.

There is no knowing what a kid will get up to next. Step out of your ordinary routine and you’ll be surprised at how liberated you’ll feel.

11. Hand out high-fives.

For no reason at all, kids hand out high-fives like they just won gold at the Olympics. Next time you hear some good news, give somebody a high-five. It feels good to get pumped about the little things.

12. Slow down.

Children know how to take their sweet time. Allow yourself enough time to enjoy living. Rushing sucks all the fun out of the day.

13. Create.

Paint, draw, build, write. Kids clearly enjoy those activities. Fun is being in your creative element.

14. Get dirty.

Kids aren’t afraid to experience life hands on. Get right in there. Make sandcastles. Turn up a log.

15. Break the rules.

Fun doesn’t follow all the rules. Neither do kids. If it doesn’t hurt, go for it! Leave those pretty Christmas lights up year-round.

How can you add more fun to your day?

Photo by SaraiRachel

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About Nat Nanton

Nat Nanton is a mother and writer who blogs at natnanton.com, an empowering blog for inspired mothers. She provides tips, tools and resources to kick ass in motherhood and life. If you are committed to living your greatest life, you can subscribe to her blog or connect with her on Twitter or Facebook. 

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  • Liekerd

    Great, inspiring blog! Thank you for writing it!
    I’m trying to live by my motto: Work hard, play hard!
    But after reading your blog, i’m wondering: why should I combine these two?!

  • Kathy www.yinyangmother.com

    Lovely Nat – it is so ironic how we think we can teach our kids so much, yet they teach us so more. If only we adults could live on ‘kids time’ life would be so much less stressed and so much more fun!

  • Nat Nanton

    Thank you Kathy! Living on ‘kids time’ would be so great! We’re closer to it than we’ve been in ages though. Have you had a chance to check out the “adult playgrounds” that have been popping up everywhere? Can’t wait for one in my neighbourhood. I’d be climbing all day! :)

  • Nat Nanton

    O my pleasure, Liekerd! What if work and play were one and the same? Mondays would be as exciting as Fridays!

  • ashis

    That was enlighted message. Thanx.

  • Nat Nanton

    Thanks for the kind comment, Ashis. Happy to be the messenger. xo

  • Kheisty

    Skipping is also great fun!

  • Nat Nanton

    Ooo good one!! With AND without a skipping rope. Although I never quite mastered double dutch. :) Thanks for sharing. xo

  • Ashlee

    Loved this post!! An inspiration. Definitely helpful to me right now as I am marathon training and these tips can easily be used in my running and all facets of life!

  • http://twitter.com/ArtfullyAdored Stephanie

    What a beautiful list! Have been working on incorporating some of those into my daily life but you’ve inspired me with more! Surprised adults only smile 15 times a day!

  • Nat Nanton

    Ashlee, I just completed my first half-marathon. And now I have even MORE respect for marathoners! You rock! So glad you loved the post. xo

  • AT

    I work with kids all day, and this is spot on! It is the little things in life that matter. If you get excited over the most seemingly mundane things, you will laugh more and smile more and create more joy in your life. My beau and I finished cooking dinner last night and I immediately came out with a double high five. Clearly inspired by my kids, haha! I will soon be working at a school for with children with autism and for these kids, the little things are the biggest accomplishments for them so I am hoping to take that to the next level. Thanks for the reminder to us all that we’d all be better off with a high five every now and then!

  • Nat Nanton

    Music to my ears, Stephanie. :) As for the smiling, I was surprised as well. Although I think I’m surpassing the kids average with sweet comments like this one.

  • Nat Nanton

    AT, I can sense your joyful demeanor from your comment. Sounds like you guys have a ball at your house! You’re going to be so uplifting for the kids at school. I’d love to hear stories. I’m on Facebook and Twitter if you feel like sharing!

  • angie gatdula

    You got it right – Children are the greatest teachers we have on this world. We adults can learn a lot from them!!

  • Gie

    High five, nat nanton!

  • http://twitter.com/TielaTiela Tiela Garnett

    Loved this article – well-written and really inspiring! Loved the perspective, loved the suggestions. I love the walk to work being “a parade of flowers…” and the attention your little one draws to her Buddha belly! The kid sounds awesome (and so do you!)

  • Nat Nanton

    Thanks mom! Good to know you agree, me being your daughter and all. ;)

  • Nat Nanton

    Right back at ya!

  • Nat Nanton

    Wow. Tiela, so much love. Thank you! *hug

  • http://ponder-the-pre.posterous.com Kate Britt

    Yabadabadooooo! Thanks, Nat, for the ever-needed reminder to let out my inner kid more often.

    I have a quote on my fridge: “Children are happy because they don’t have a file in their minds called ‘All The Things That Could Go Wrong’.” [Marianne Williamson]
    I’m going to print your list and post it on the fridge too!

  • Nat Nanton

    I’ve never heard that quote, Kate. I love it! It’s so true. Pumped to be upon your fridge :)

  • http://ponder-the-pre.posterous.com Kate Britt

    Just for you, here’s another from my fridge. George Bernard Shaw said, “We don’t stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing.”

  • Nat Nanton

    Yes! I love that one. I plan on monkeying around till the end. That fridge of yours is mighty wise!

  • http://www.facebook.com/megin.potter Megin Potter

    I love when other parents share this message! I was so impressed by how my child enjoys himself that I write about it in my book Heart of a Toddler, The Zen in Them: 51 Lessons Learned from a One Year Old on Enjoying Life & my blog: Babysitting w/ Buddha- check it out at http://meginpotter.wordpress.com !

  • Raj @Pink Chai Style

    Thanks for sharing this Nat! Yesterday it struck me with some sadness that I hadn’t played with my kids enough this summer; there was enough getting our hands dirty and running around with no where to be. I’m definitely going to try some of the things on your list!

  • Nat Nanton

    I checked it out and I was delighted to see that we share the same philosophies. I blog about all that good stuff at http://natnanton.com. We should keep in touch! Not sure if you’re on Facebook, but you can find me there at http://facebook.com/TutuMama.
    O and Adam. Adorable.

  • Nat Nanton

    O that’s so great to hear, Raj! Way to kick the sadness out the window! :)

  • Anurag Sharma

    Really great post. These are something which every person should apply in their life. Thanks again for such a great post

  • Daveed Thompson

    Yes leave up the lites! AND turn them on once in a while for the neighbors to share!

  • Nat Nanton

    Anurag, thanks for taking the time to let me know you enjoyed it. I’m glad you did. :)

  • Nat Nanton

    Yes! Turning them on is a must! :D

  • Claire Turner

    Just read this and everyone’s comments and have got tears in my eyes. I’m only 38 and some days I feel like I have no fun at all, although I have lots to be very happy about. You have all made me realise that it’s my attitude and my response to what’s happening. Thanks so much, we need more positive people like you in this world! Xxxxx

  • Nat Nanton

    Claire, awareness is all it takes! Thanks for leaving such an honest comment. It warmed my heart. Sending the love right back. xo

  • Johanna_Galt

    Lovely post! I found myself smiling just reading it. I’m looking forward to making these tips a part of my daily life.
    Thanks to you and your daughter for the encouragement! :)

  • Nat Nanton

    Johanna, thanks for taking the minute to let me know you enjoyed the article. Make it a gorgeous day! xo

  • Cheryl

    Great tips! I think one of the great things about having kids is that we get to act like kids again ourselves and find joy through watching (& participating in) their fun.

  • Nat Nanton

    They are the fun experts for sure. Soak it in. xo

  • http://www.facebook.com/noah.christensen.7 Noah Christensen

    Not very good. I want to learn how to have fun with other people and not by myself.

  • LC

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l5P03C0ij1A

    See this wonderful song on youtube that captures the spirit of everything mentioned here!
    It’s’ called CUPCAKES IN MY HAIR.

  • Thuan Nguyen

    great article! love it :D

  • hello :)

    Im 18 years old and reading this article made me realise that I behave like I’m 70. I need to learn to act like a teenager if not younger! Thankyou so much for writing this and making me understand that life has to be joyful no matter what the circumstances are.
    Thankyou :)

  • A real kid!

    Horrible blog entry, basically a list of 15 stereotypes of children. So basically, what you are saying is that children are mindless objects with only one emotion… Happiness. Now, to all the “commenters” you should really talk to your children cause obviously you do not know anything about your kids. To anybody who actually considers doing this you will look extremely retarded and some people might even think you’re a pedophile. I don’t know if anybody else noticed it but the blog sounds very pedo-ish and sexual. I take extreme offence to this article. Consider spending time with actual kids, not robots.

  • Rishabh!! :)

    beautifully written! Ive always thought about it!! and i was even going to write something about it. but i guessw i couldnt have written it better and so now im scribbling yours on my notepad! thank you very much. this really is important! and i really wish i never forget this…even in the worst of circumstances..!! :)

  • U are a disgrace to this worl!

    Ure horrible and outrageous! I guess u never experienced childhood!! bcoz of ppl like you earth becomes a bad place to live! and bcoz of you ppl start losing their minds out of beauty! and start believing a cruel world! but let me tell u ppl like you are a disgrace and have no place on this planet!!

  • Skittles

    I’m a kid, and I just have to say that sometimes it’s really hard to stay carefree while all around you, everyone is fighting and telling you to grow up. I’m only in middle school, let me be a kid while I still can. I love this post because some people try to control everything and some aren’t who they say they are. Just let me be a kid before I can anymore. Smile, eat cookies, and get out in the sunshine.

  • Skittles

    *Can’t :)

  • Skittles

    Oh, I have another one to add to the list: SING FOR ABSOLUTELY NO REASON! :)

  • Hi!!!!

    I LOVE THAT SONG!!!

  • Nat Nanton

    I’m guilty of acting 70 ALL the time too! Thanks for the comment. It made me smile. :)

  • Nat Nanton

    Yeah, Skittles. You enjoy that sunshine. The good news is, you don’t ever have to grow up. Grown ups forget that sometimes.

  • letmepostalready

    its very hard to have fun like a child when all the other adults act boring as hell! I want to play tag, hide&seek,play fight, water fight, playground. but no, thats immature, right? and being mature means we all have to be super boring! oh how we all look up to being a boring ass! so what do adults do for fun? go to the bar and drink booze! oh wow, thats like so healthy for you! Its like the second people become adults they become frail and too weak to do any kind of physical fun. but then they go and do boring excersize! helllllooo! playing tag and running with all your might and not noticing its work would be a far superior than a brisk run! play wrestling would be far superior to any weight training. why? cause your having so much fun you dont even notice its work and you push yourself to the max! so what am I supposed to do? go play with kids and be called a pedofile? try and convince these adults to not be boring and be called “immature” and “act my age.” so this article wants me to learn to have fun like a child?? kinda hard when everyone else is being boring!

  • Clare

    Good point! Although sometimes by the time a person gets to be 70 years old, they’re entering their second childhood! Some of the most carefree people I know are senior citizens. The accumulated wisdom of their life has enabled them to reclaim their childlikeness.

  • Pearl Brett

    YOU PEOPLE ARESO RUDE BECAUSE YOU DON’T KNOW HOW TO HAVE FUN # YOU TAKE SO LONG TO LOAD!!!!!!!!!! ANGRY FACE:(